41 children were rescued from ‘Church of Christ – Home for the Orphans & Widows’, in a late night rescue operation in the city of Bangalore. The operation revealed a Child racket run by William and Charles Jones for more than 25 years. Children spoke of physical and sexual torture indulged in rampantly by the father and son. Police have arrested the duo under Juvenile Justice Act and Indian Penal Code. The premises at Chalghatta, which was used for the nefarious activities, have been sealed.
Following the rescue operations, children revealed horrifying tales of extreme trauma. The children were violated in various ways by William and Charles John, who ran the orphanage as a pretext to receive sizable funds from the United States. The racket had a total of 8 members who operated from Andhra Pradesh and United States.
The rescue mission consisting of members from Bangalore City Police, Child Rights Commission, Child Welfare Committee, Child Helpline swung into action following desperate cries from a child. A total of 41 children- 22 girls and 19 boys, who were rescued, have been rehabilitated at Apsa, an NGO for girls, and Child Helpline – Bosco for the time being.
Williams is a member of the ‘Church of Christ Society’, that is registered under Societies Act. However, they run orphanages in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu without procuring government licence. “We did not know that we need to register with the Department of Women and Child Development,” said Charles, following his arrest. On further investigation, there were no documents that could lead the children to their parents. Children mostly came from single unwed mothers, who left them at the orphanage.
Chairperson of CRC Nina Nayak stated that the children were detained illegally. “There are no records of admission or parental details of the children. The children have been violated physically and sexually,” she said. Many of them displayed marks of physical torture on their bodies. Most girls had gruesome tales of sexual violation, which happened on a regular basis. They also revealed that a 3 ½ year old girl died, following high bouts of fever, with her death hushed up.
The father-son duo of ‘Church of Christ Society’ said that they were granted clearance under Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act – FCRA. Howver, they never maintained any record of donations. “They have Rs 32 lakh in the FCRA account in the SBI Vimanapura branch. But there are no receipts and no records of the children, who told us that though a lot of donation was received in kind from corporate houses and individuals, nothing was ever given to the children,” said Nina Nayak.
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