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Indian layman arrested for child abuse

Mini Francis, Kochi

June 16 2010

Police in Kerala have arrested a Catholic layman and charged him with sexually abusing boys in the orphanage that he runs.

Antony Thareparambil was arrested on June 15 after seven residents of Kriaplayam (house of grace) Orphanage complained about him, said B. Sandya, a police official.

The orphanage is located at Kumbalangi, near Kochi, the state's commercial capital.

Thareparambil, 38, tried to commit suicide by cutting his veins when police surrounded his home, said Sandhya, adding that the orphanage director has no official connections with the Catholic Church.

Thareparambil has managed an English-medium school and the orphanage for boys for the past seven years. The orphanage presently serves about 40 children, said Sandhya.

It receives funds from overseas and is recognized by the state government and, she added.

Brother Saji Xavier, co-director of the institution, said he helped the children to register their complaints after several told him about the sexual abuse.

One boy alleged that Thareparambil had been sexually abusing him for the past four years.

The government would order an inquiry into the matter, said Kerala's Social Welfare and Health Minister P. K. Sreemathy.

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