A Chinese court says it has executed Li Jishun, a teacher convicted of raping or sexually abusing 26 girls between the ages of 4 and 11
According to the BBC, Li Jishun had committed the heinous crimes between the year 2011 and 2012 while teaching at a village school in Gansu Province.
The students he preyed on were “young and timid,” according to local media reports of the Supreme People’s Court statement.
Li was put to death on Thursday, 28 May. He was handed the heaviest punishment possible because of the harm caused to the children and the "extremely negative social impact" of the case.
He was found to have raped 21 of his victims and sexually abused the other five in classrooms, dormitories, and the forest surrounding the village near Wushan town. The court called him a “grave threat to society” and “thus believes that it was appropriate for Li Jishun to be executed.”independent.co.uk
The statement said that some of his victims had been raped or abused more than once. It made no mention of how he was caught.
In its ruling, the Supreme Court said all of Li's victims were girls younger than 12 who attended his village boarding school and "were his responsibility to educate and protect."
"However, he took advantage of his status as teacher to repeated rape and molest the young girls, concealing his crimes and making it more difficult for his victims to resist and expose him," the ruling said.
Local media ran the story with caricatures of the man depicting him as a wolf gobbling up children.
His sentencing was met with widespread approval on China's microblogging platform Weibo, with many expressing shock at the youth of his victims. "Four years old? I can't believe it," said one.
"A death sentence is too good for this man," wrote another commenter.
In a rare disclosure of abuse statistics, the Supreme People's Court told local media that the courts heard 7,145 cases of child sexual abuse between 2012 and 2014 and that the trend is on the rise.