Former high profile UN aid official Peter John Dalglish jailed for child abuse in Nepal

The home of Peter Dalglish, a former high-profile humanitarian worker, in Kartike, Nepal, on May 4, 2018. PHOTO: NYTIMES

KATHMANDU (AFP) - A former UN official has been jailed for sexually abusing children in Nepal, officials said on Tuesday (July 9), following a trial underscoring the country's growing appeal for foreign paedophiles.

Peter John Dalglish, 62, from Canada, a former high-profile humanitarian worker, was sentenced on Monday to terms of nine and seven years in two cases after being convicted last month.

Thakur Trital, a district court official, told AFP that Dalglish had been sentenced for nine years for abusing a 12-year-old boy, and seven years' jail for molesting another 14-year-old.

"The judge is yet to decide whether he should serve a total of 16 years in jail or be released after nine years. In most cases of a similar nature, sentences get overlapped, but it is upon the judge to decide," Trital said.

Dalglish has also been told to pay compensation of 500,000 Nepali rupees (S$6,170) to each of the victims.

Dalglish was arrested in April last year in Kavrepalanchowk district, near Kathmandu, by Nepal's Central Bureau of Investigation.

The two boys were at the house where police nabbed Dalglish, investigators said.

Dalglish has denied the charges.

The aid worker, who in 2016 was awarded the Order of Canada - the country's second-highest civilian honour - made his name as a humanitarian worker advocating for street children, child labourers and those affected by war.

He co-founded Street Kids International in the 1980s which merged with Save the Children.

In the last decade, Dalglish held key positions in UN agencies, including as chief for UN Habitat in Afghanistan in 2015.

In Nepal, Dalglish was an adviser in a child programme for the International Labour Organisation in the early 2000s.

Weak law enforcement has made Nepal notorious for sexual predators, with several arrests and convictions in recent years.

In 2015, a Canadian orphanage volunteer, Ernest MacIntosh, 71, was sentenced to seven years in prison for sexually abusing a disabled 15-year-old boy, while in 2010, French charity worker Jean-Jacques Haye was convicted of raping 10 children at a Kathmandu orphanage.

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