Pastor suspected of abusing other girls in the past

March 20, 2013 11:24 am | Updated 11:29 am IST - NEW DELHI:

The pastor arrested on Monday for allegedly raping a minor inmate of his care home at Samaipur Badli in Outer Delhi is suspected to have sexually abused more girls in the past. The accused had been sexually abusing the minor for the past seven years.

The police on Tuesday produced the accused, Abraham Sahoo, before a court that sent him to one-day police custody. “He is being interrogated to ascertain his other suspected involvement,” said a police officer. Abraham, who heads the institution, had been living separately from his wife.

The Child Welfare Committee has directed the police to produce before it all the children staying at the institution. The Committee has also issued a directive to the area Deputy Commissioner of Police to ascertain whether other girls were also sexually assaulted by the accused. The matter regarding child labour and physical abuse was reported to the police last Thursday through Prayas Helpline.

The victim told the Committee that the accused had kept her in his house as a domestic help for the past seven years. The girl was found missing by the representatives of Karuna Bal Vikas, a funding agency, while they were conducting an audit of the institution. Further enquiries revealed that she had been kept at the house of Abraham, following which she was rescued and sent to another shelter home and a complaint lodged with the local police.

It is learnt that the victim alleged before the CWC on Monday that she was sexually assaulted by Abraham on several occasions. She has alleged that the institution head had also abused several minor girls. Sources said her counsellors detected that prolonged sexual abuse by the accused had also affected her mental health.

Taking up the matter, non-government organisation Pratidhi wrote to the CWC Chairman alleging that the institution in question was not even registered. “It is highly disturbing to know that such unregistered institutions are still operating in the Capital where helpless children are being abused as a routine…as you will recall, the Delhi Police had vide their letter dated March 26, 2012, submitted a report before the Juvenile Justice Committee of the Delhi High court stating that there is no such unregistered organisation in Rohini as per their knowledge. I request you to kindly ensure that all the children are produced before the CWC and needful action is taken,” said the letter.

The CWC subsequently took cognisance of the questions raised by Pratidhi and issued directions to the police for investigations. “This appears to be a case of sexual abuse of children inside an institution, which is a serious matter,” said Raaj Mangal Prasad of Pratidhi.

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