Jharsuguda: A 68-year-old British citizen by the name of John Patrick Bridge was arrested in Jharsuguda on charges of sexually abusing a minor boy in an orphanage run by him.
Police officials said Bridge was arrested following a complaint by a minor tribal boy.
Bridge provided education to tribal students at the child shelter home called ‘Faith Outreach’, in the Cox Colony area of Jharsuguda town.
The victim alleged that when he had gone to his native place in Rayagada district for Christmas last year with Bridge, the latter had fondled his thigh and private parts while returning in an SUV.
“After a complaint was filed at Jharsuguda police station under section 341 of the IPC (Punishment for wrongful restraint), 10 POCSO Act (aggravated sexual assault ) and section 3(i) (r), 2 (va) of SC/ST (POA) Act, the accused was arrested. Further investigations are on,” said Jharsuguda SP Rahul PR.
According to sources, an inquiry was conducted by the Indian Embassy in New Zealand about misuse of funds given to ‘Faith Outreach’ by a New Zealand-based funding agency. Issues of sexual abuse cropped up during the funds misuse investigation. Police officials then asked the victim to lodge a complaint.
Bridge had started Faith Outreach 25 years ago in Jharsuguda with wife Delphine. They run a baby care centre, which adopts abandoned babies, and a children’s home that provides clothing, education, medical care and daily food to over 400 poor children.
The organization also has a training centre to prepare volunteers to work as social workers.
In December 2018, there was another incident of child abuse in Odisha when Faiz Rehman — a pastor who ran a child shelter home in Dhenkanal — was arrested after allegations of physical and sexual torture by inmates, including minor girls.