British charity workers abused orphanage boys

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The Independent Online

Two British men posing as charity workers subjected impoverished Indian street children to repeated acts of sexual abuse after establishing an orphanage in Bombay.

A court in the city yesterday sentenced Duncan Grant and Allan Waters to six years in prison after finding them guilty of abusing boys at the shelter set up by Grant. They were also fined £20,000 each.

The court also found an Indian, William D'souza, who managed the home, guilty of aiding and abetting the crime. He was sentenced to three years in prison.

"The judgment should go some way to ensure that India is wiped out from the map of people who indulge in sexual abuse of children," said the judge, P S Paranjape, who also announced the formation of a committee to decide how the fines could be used to rehabilitate the victims.

Grant, 61, from Hampstead, has been in police custody since last June when he arrived from London and formally surrendered before a Bombay court.

Indian police had issued an international warrant in April 2002, seeking his arrest, after a police report charged him and Waters with sodomy and sexually abusing boys at Anchorage, the home Grant set up for street children aged eight to 18, in Bombay in 1995. Police say Waters was a regular visitor. Grant, who also ran children's charities in Tanzania, was arrested two years ago in Dar es Salaam. He returned to London after being released on bail.

Waters, 58, was arrested at JFK airport in New York three years ago and extradited from the United States to face charges in India.

Police launched an investigation after receiving a complaint from a 15-year-old boy about repeated sexual and physical abuse. Four other boys also made similar complaints. Grant and Waters had fled Bombay after the alleged offences were reported, police said.

The prosecutor, Vijay Nahar, said that D'souza had beaten the boys after they were abused in order to prevent them from complaining to social workers or the police.

The verdict comes just weeks after the jailing of 1970s rock star Gary Glitter highlighted the problem of sexual abuse of children by Westerners in Third World countries.

Sex tourists from the UK are among the most prevalent predators, according to a report by international aid agency World Vision. Hundreds of thousands of vulnerable and impoverished children work as prostitutes in south Asia, the United Nations children's organisation, Unicef, has claimed.