Judge orders police to speed up Dehiwala orphanage abuse case | Daily News

Judge orders police to speed up Dehiwala orphanage abuse case

The Gangodawila Magistrate ordered the Boralesgamuwa Police to expedite the investigation into the alleged sexual harassment and abuse of 18 young women at an orphanage in Dehiwala.

The order comes as lawyers representing the women and victims’ advocates accuse the police of dragging their feet on the case.

Officers initially arrested Mohamed Sarippuge Mohar, 62, who they say was a driver for the orphanage, on charges of sexual harassment in July. According to the victims’ statements, he touched them inappropriately in the vehicle he drove them in, as well as in the orphanage, where he also lived.

Police filed separate charges after one of the girls’ testimony revealed that she potentially suffered grave sexual abuse from Mohar.

National Child Protection Authority Chairperson Marini de Livera said that her officers, as well as local police, have met resistance from the organisation in their investigation.

Activists gathered outside the Gangodawila Magistrate’s Court yesterday, holding signs in Sinhala, English, and Tamil urging authorities to increase their oversight of the case.

“It’s been a long time this case has been going on, but still, the affected victims haven’t received any justice,” said Maureen Ernest, an anti-domestic abuse activist. “So the court should be able to proceed the case more quickly than they have.”

The activists presented a written statement signed by over 40 civil society organizations, which said they were concerned that “despite the occurrence of the alleged incident, the children have been returned to the orphanage which is still under the old management.”

“We request the National Child Protection Authority to take official control of the management of the Darun Nusra Orphanage until suitable alternative arrangements can be made in terms of appointing a new management,” they wrote.

Dr. Mareena Reffai, the founder of the Almuslimaath foundation which runs the orphanage, denied that any harassment occurred, saying there’s “no medical evidence” of sexual abuse.



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