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Child rights lawyers target Waters

They are demanding an inquiry by the British Sea Cadets after the conviction of Lt Cdr Allan Waters in Mumbai child sex abuse case.

india Updated: Mar 20, 2006 18:20 IST
Nabanita Sircar
Nabanita Sircar

Child rights lawyers are demanding an immediate inquiry by the British Sea Cadets after the conviction of Lt Cdr Allan Waters, a senior officer with Sea Cadet Corps, where he worked for more than 30 years.

This follows the sentencing of Duncan Grant and Waters in Mumbai. Grant, 61 was also a fellow former naval officer.

Grant, a Royal Naval Reserve officer and grandson of Maj-Gen Sir Philip Grant, had set up the Anchorage shelters in Mumbai, where the abuse took place.

Waters, an old friend of Grant from the Royal Naval Reserve, was a regular visitor to the shelter, bringing presents for the children before sexually abusing them, the court heard.

According to The Daily Telegraph, Waters was formerly accused by a fellow officer of sexually abusing a sea cadet.

Yug Chaudhry, a lawyer who represented the Indian Childline charity in the case, said the Sea Cadets had a "fundamental duty of care to their young members" to investigate whether Waters had abused cadets in Britain.

Citing information received the Telegraph said that Waters was caught in a compromising act with a young cadet while he was commanding the Clapton unit of the Sea Cadets in London in the early 1980s.

Waters, according to the paper's sources, dismissed the allegations as "an initiation ceremony" and after a brief suspension was reassigned to another unit.

Waters, who also worked as an education social worker with the Inner London Education Authority in the 1980s, was appointed superintendent of the Sea Cadet training centre in Portsmouth in 1996.

He was a member of the Sea Cadet Council until he was arrested at JFK international airport, in New York, in July 2003.

On Sunday the Sea Cadets confirmed that it was aware "that a report was made by a Sea Cadet officer who had concerns about Waters" in the early 1980s but said that allegations had "not been substantiated".

Colin Bonner, the Sea Cadets' director of administration, said the organisation remained "unconvinced" that Waters was capable of sexual abuse.

He said, "Since The Daily Telegraph reported to us certain allegations about alleged misconduct by Waters many years ago, when he was working for us at Clapton, we have made a great many inquiries into his past. We did find that a report was made by a Sea Cadet officer who had concerns about Waters. But he has been dead for many years and there was nothing to substantiate those allegations at the time and nothing since.

"I am not going to say that it is impossible that Alan could have done the things he has been accused off. Anything is possible. But, from the man I know, I do not think it is likely. I do not believe he would abuse children and we have no evidence that he did."

Chaudhry, who studied law at Cambridge, said it was "inconceivable and inexplicable" that the Sea Cadets would not investigate Waters further. He said, "They have a duty to vulnerable members to make an immediate and thorough investigation of Waters."

First Published: Mar 20, 2006 18:20 IST