Kerala priest held after 7 children flee orphanage, accuse him of sexual abuse
A Christian priest has been arrested in Kochi on Sunday after residents of an orphanage run by him filed a complaint of sexual assault, the police said.
The issue came to light after seven children fled from the orphanage on Saturday night and alerted their relatives about their ordeal. Police said they arrested T J George alias Jerry (46) under Sections of the Juvenile Justice Act and Protection of Children from the Sexual Offences Act.
According to the police, he was director of the orphanage which was running without a proper licence. The orphanage provided shelter and education for children from poor families. It was running for the last two years and the police expect more complaints against him. He enrolled children after giving wide publicity through churches, the police said.
The children later told the police they were forced to flee the orphanage to resist his advances and when they resisted he threatened to implicate them in theft cases. The police later found that 15 children were staying at the orphanage and he elicited aid from some foreign countries by sending photos and other details of his orphanage.
“Many of these children hail from financially unstable and broken families. With no means to look after their children, parents entrust them to such homes and rapacious employees exploit them,” said an official of Childline. An official of the Catholic church said strict action will be taken against such people who bring disrepute to the community.