231210 A baby’s doll lies on the badly damaged wooden floor in the dilapidated Clarendon Home building. PICTURES: BONGANI MBATHA PICTURE BONGANI MBATHA

Beirut -

Lebanese authorities are investigating a teacher who allegedly sexually abused schoolgirls, officials said on Monday, amid reports the victims were aged between six and eight.

“The case of sexual abuse is now in the hands of the judiciary,” Social Affairs Minister Wael Abou Faour told a news conference, adding that any offence “will not go unpunished.”

The head of the school told a separate news conference that the unnamed teacher had been sacked last week when allegations that he had sexually abused schoolgirls first surfaced in the media.

Parents have told AFP the children allegedly abused were aged between six and eight

The mother of an eight-year-old told AFP that her daughter “would always say she didn't like that teacher. But I didn't pay too much attention to her.

“A few days ago, she told me that he was touching her private parts and would get very close to her when he wanted to explain something in class.”

Abou Faour told the news conference: “This is not the first case of its kind in Lebanon,” adding that a joint committee had been set up by the ministries of social affairs, education and justice to draft a work plan to raise awareness. - Sapa-AFP