Four Moroccan university lecturers appeared in court on Tuesday accused of trading good grades for sexual favours, a source close to the case said.
A fifth faces the more serious charge of indecent assault and battery, and will appear before a Settat judge on Wednesday, the source said.
The scandal erupted in September, when Moroccan media picked up social media leaks of messages purportedly exchanged between the lecturers and students.
Four of the accused, all of whom teach at Hassan I University in Settat near Casablanca, face charges of “incitement to debauchery”, gender discrimination and violence against women, the source told AFP.
Moroccan media reported that their trial was adjourned until December 14.
Three of the defendants are in detention.
In recent years a string of high-profile sexual harassment scandals have shaken Moroccan universities, but most have not resulted in trials, let alone convictions.
Rights groups say sexual violence is widespread in Morocco but that pressures from a conservative society mean women are reluctant to report sexual violence for fear of reprisals or damage to their family reputation.
In 2018, after years of heated debates, the law was changed to allow perpetrators of “harassment, aggression, sexual exploitation or ill-treatment” to be punished with prison terms.
But some argue that the law still fails to protect women from widespread sexual violence.