A Moroccan court has sentenced a university professor accused of exchanging grades for sexual favors to two years in prison.
Wednesday's verdict in Settat, a city about an hour's drive from Casablanca, marks the first in a string of judgments expected to be handed down this month as a movement against sexual harassment sweeps Moroccan universities.
The economics professor at Hassan I University in Settat, who has not been named by local media, was found guilty of indecent assault, sexual harassment and violence, local media reported.
Four other professors charged in the "sex-for-grades" scandal roiling the North African country will be sentenced on Jan. 24, Moroccan TV channel 2M reported Thursday. The prosecutions came after leaked conversations between the accused professors and students went viral on social media in September, according to Morocco World News. The professors allegedly demanded sexual favors in return for "good grades."
The scandal led the dean of the faculty of law and economics at the university in Settat to resign in November.
Since then, students across the country have come forward accusing professors of making similar propositions. In the northeastern city of Oujda, a former student said a professor at the National School of Business and Management had threatened to ruin her academic career if she did not give him an "oral-sex session," Morocco World News reported. Amid a public outcry, the government launched an investigation last month.
Wednesday's guilty verdict was rare for the conservative country. The slew of criminal investigations and prosecutions of professors for harassment appears to signal that the country is taking sexual harassment more seriously.
In a statement to Moroccan media outlet Yabiladi last week, the country's National Human Rights Council praised the swift action of authorities and commended victims for coming forward "despite the possible consequences of criminalization, defamation and attacks against them."