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Swiss Group Admits Abuse of Orphans


The Associated Press

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) - A Swiss charity that campaigns against the sexual exploitation of children said Thursday it had unwittingly employed two pedophiles at an orphanage in Ethiopia.

In 1995 a Canadian teacher was caught sexually abusing children at the Terre des Hommes orphanage in the northern town of Jari, said Helene Sulzer, the group's spokeswoman, confirming a report in the London daily The Guardian.

He was fired on the spot. But two years later, a Terre des Hommes worker from Britain, who had caught the first offender, was himself caught abusing orphans.

The group brought him back to Switzerland, where he admitted the offense and was fired, Sulzer said.

Terre des Hommes did not try to prosecute the British worker, who wasn't identified, because the situation was ``extremely delicate'' and the first priority was to remove him from the children in his care, Sulzer said.

She said the case had been passed on to British investigators.

The Jari orphanage was founded 25 years ago on property donated by the late Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie.

Terre des Hommes, a respected organization in Switzerland, works on behalf of vulnerable children in developing countries and has mounted campaigns against pedophilia and child pornography.

1999 Jul 22