Briton, 74, nabbed in Nepal on suspicion of child abuse

By Sudeshna Sarkar, IANS
Wednesday, February 2, 2011

KATHMANDU - A 74-year-old British tourist, identified as Peter James Sexton, has been arrested in Kathmandu on the suspicion of sexually abusing two street children after befriending them.

Preliminary reports said the Briton had been living in Nepal for about two months.

He was found to have befriended two underage street boys and taken them to live with him in a guesthouse in the capital, police said.

On Monday, the owner of the guesthouse complained to police that the two children had smashed the hotel’s window panes while apparently under the influence of drugs.

On questioning the two boys, they reportedly told police Sexton had abused them sexually and paid them money.

He was also said to have had taken them on a trip to Pokhara city, a popular tourist destination.

Sexton, however, has denied the allegations, saying he had befriended the children on humanitarian grounds.

While Nepal is celebrating Tourism Year 2011 with the aim of attracting 1 million international visitors, child rights activists say Nepal’s lax laws have contributed to the shooting up of child molestation cases.

After governments in Thailand and Cambodia began cracking down on paedophiles, the crowds are now descending on Nepal, finding it easier to get preys in the turbulent republic with a deteriorating law and order situation.

It was a major victory for child rights activists in December when a French court slapped a 10-year prison sentence on French national Jean Jacques Haye.

The 61-year-old had visited Nepal almost 20 years ago and ran a children’s home and systematically abused at least six children.

Though arrested in 1999 and deported in 2002, he sneaked back to Nepal in 2004 and lived there for five years till child rights activists found him out again.

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