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Dubai: A 63-year-old Moroccan pedophile has been arrested for allegedly raping nine underage girls in the Sidi Kacem province in the Rabat-Sale-Kenitra region, local media reported.

According to police statement, the accused was working as a security guard in a health centre located near a school, where he used to groom and assault his victims. The shocking crime came to light after the local newspaper, Le12, published a story about his attempt to rape two schoolgirls.

As the underage girls lived a little far from their school, they frequently spent the classes-free noon period in the health centre where the man worked as security guard.

The old man is said to have attempted to force his way with one girl, but she managed to escape. He then tried with another girl, causing her to faint. The girl was taken to a nearby hospital, where doctors discovered signs of sexual assault . The victim also suffered from bleeding, according to the newspaper.

The doctor issued a report and asked the girl to go with her family to the royal gendarmerie police station to report the incident.

According to media reports, the man had been sexually assaulting his victims for more than six months. He preyed on girls from very poor rural areas with gifts. One of the girls admitted that she received around MAD 30 ($3) from the security guard.

Reports said the accused raped 9 underage girls between 13 and 16 years.

According to article 485 of Morocco’s Criminal Code, sexual abuse of children and minors is punishable with a prison sentence ranging from 12 to 20 years. But with cases of child abuse seeming to be on the rise, many have called on the government to consider the application of the death penalty in all cases of pedophilia.