Canadian Children's Rights Advocate arrested in child sex investigation in Nepal
At a court hearing on May 7th he was officially charged with child sexual abuse, "unnatural sex" and pedophilia. Having initially admitted to his crimes, Peter D. now pleads innocent. Two victims and their parents submitted statements to the police, who also claim to have discovered additional evidence as well as child pornography relating to the charges. A thorough joint investigation was carried out by the Nepalese police assisted by certain NGO workers, trained under the umbrella of the “WATCH” project which is supported by Dutch children's rights organization Terre des Hommes. WATCH (Working Actively Together for Children) seeks to identify and intercept traveling child sex offenders in several Asian countries.
The investigation identified 6 boys as victims of Peter D. and two more boys were actually present at the crime scene at the time of the arrest. The 12 and 14-year-olds are now in the care of specialised NGOs for counseling.
A former UN-Habitat Country Representative in Afghanistan, Peter D had been visiting Nepal for 20 years. He has worked for the ILO in Nepal, the World Health Organization and launched Street Kids International in 1988, a charity that focuses on helping street youth to improve their lives.
Given the high profile of the suspect, the Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) of the Nepalese police force has taken special measures from the start to ensure careful and accurate procedures and has allocated senior officers to the investigation. Peter D's house had been under intense surveillance for weeks; prior to his arrest, several under-age boys were spotted on the premises who were then identified and agreed to testify.
"Initial investigations revealed that he had been targeting children from poor financial backgrounds and sexually abusing them", said Pushkar Karki, CIB director. According to director Karki, D. believed his status would make him invulnerable, making it easy for him to prey on young boys who would be silenced "because he has so much influence".