US man befriends 14-yr-old on Facebook, ‘molests’ him in Kolkata

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Kolkata
  • Updated: Nov 28, 2015 11:14 IST
On reaching inside the room, he asked the boy to perform a sexual act and used force when the victim resisted, said the police. (Representational Photo)

A US citizen was arrested for allegedly molesting a 14-year-old boy in a Kolkata hotel after the two became Facebook friends and the accused bought gifts for the minor, Bidhannagar police said on Friday.

“We have initiated a case against the accused and have also informed the US embassy in Kolkata. He was arrested on Friday and will be produced before court on Saturday,” a senior police officer said.

According to a complaint lodged by the hotel management, the accused, Leslie Allen Powel, 50, checked in on Thursday afternoon and stepped out soon. A couple of hours later he returned with the boy and was asked by security officials to explain their relationship.

“Hotel officials said Powel claimed he was suffering from a dental problem and the boy and his family were helping him to find a doctor. He also showed a few documents. The hotel security officials were convinced and allowed the two to enter,” an investigating official said.

When the two came out later in the evening, security officials suspected something was wrong as the victim appeared tense and nervous. They detained the two and took the boy to a separate room to interrogate him.

“The boy told them he met Powel on Facebook. Once the American reached Kolkata he called the boy, took him to a shopping mall and gifted him shoes and a bag,” a police officer said.

“On reaching inside the room, he asked the boy to perform a sexual act and used force when the victim resisted. He then paid the boy Rs 100 and asked him not to disclose the matter.”

Officials said they suspected the accused took the boy to another hotel too, and were investigating further.

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