For decades, Peter Dalglish, 62, held a distinguished reputation as one of Canada’s most esteemed and accomplished humanitarians devoted to the wellbeing of poor children. But on Monday, he was sentenced by a Nepali court to at least nine years behind bars for raping two young boys in a small village where he has lived back and forth for the past 17 years.
Dalglish has staunchly denied the charges and intends to appeal the sentence, which also orders him to pay $4,500 to each victim, according to the New York Times.
Dalglish, an attorney from Ontario, founded Street Kids International in the 1980s in a quest to assist homeless youth find work and the organization later merged with the ever-prominent Save the Children. He went on to hold an array of high-profile position in United Nations agencies, including the head of UN-Habitat in Afghanistan in 2015. In 2016, he was awarded the Order of Canada – one of the highest and most distinguished civilian honors for his advocacy work on behalf of war victims and homeless children.
However, last April he was arrested after more than a dozen police officers entered his home in Kavrepalanchowk district near Kathmandu, under suspicion that he had raped two minors – aged 12 and 14 – in the village. Investigators claim that Dalglish cajoled the destitute boys with pledges of jobs, education, and trips before sexually abusing them.
As it stands, Nepal is one of the most impoverished nations in the world with almost one-fourth of its population existing below the poverty line and non-governmental organizations have long been able to function with little official administration.
According to U.S.-based anti-child trafficking organization ECPAT, street children – both boys and girls – are especially vulnerable to exploitation, with the notion of boys as victims a “phenomenon that is often overlooked by the public.”
In recent years, Nepal has also become a disturbing destination for child sex tourism.
“Beyond traditional forms of child sex tourism, foreigners in Nepal also sexually exploit children by setting up a shelter or running a so-called ‘orphanage’ which serve as a venue for easily sexually exploiting children under their care,” ECPAT surmised in a 2016 report.
In Nepal alone, a string of male aid workers have been apprehended and convicted in recent years. French aid worker, Jean Jacques Haye, was found guilty of raping ten children at an orphanage in Kathmandu in 2010. Five years later, Ernest MacIntosh, 71, was sentenced to seven years imprisonment for sexually abusing a disabled teen boy.
The Associated Press contributed to this report