KATHMANDU, Jan 17, 2015:

Nepalese police have charged a Canadian orphanage volunteer with rape for allegedly abusing a nine-year-old boy in a suburb of Kathmandu, an official said on Saturday.

Ernest Fenwick MacIntosh, 71, arrived in the Himalayan nation on a tourist visa last August and approached the Jesuit-run St Xavier’s Social Service Centre for homeless children with an offer of donations.

“The victim was one of the children living at St Xavier’s. On Dec 13, MacIntosh invited him to his room, threatened him and molested him,” police spokesman Pawan Giri told AFP.

After the boy filed a complaint on Dec 19, police arrested MacIntosh, who has denied any wrongdoing.

“We are now investigating further to see if he abused other children in the home as well,” Giri said.

If convicted, MacIntosh faces a maximum prison sentence of 11 years. No date has been set for him to appear in court.

The case underscores the problems facing Nepal’s orphanages, some of which have been hit by allegations of sexual abuse, corruption and fraud in recent years.

Although it is illegal to volunteer in Nepal on a tourist visa, orphanage officials often allow foreigners to spend time with children in exchange for donations. Background checks are rarely conducted on those offering to help.

In August 2012 Briton Simon Jasper McCarty pleaded guilty to sexually abusing three boys whom he met in Nepal.

In December 2010, French charity worker Jean-Jacques Haye was convicted of raping 10 children in a Kathmandu orphanage.

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