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A 54-year-old British national was arrested Monday for allegedly sexually assaulting three visually impaired minor boys at a school for the blind in South Delhi. Police said they are probing if any other children were sexually assaulted. Police said the accused, Murray Denis Ward, has been in India since October 2016. DCP (South) Ishwar Singh said Ward started going to the school about 10 months ago, and used to “donate things like books, etc” to children there.
“We received a call from the school on Sunday afternoon, following which we arrested Ward. In their complaint, it came to light that the children are 14-15 years old. A case has been registered under POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) Act. Ward was produced before a city court Monday, which sent him to police custody for two days,” he said. Police said the British High Commission has been informed about his arrest.
According to the complaint filed by the school, on Saturday, Ward “came to the school and stayed there for two-three hours”. The school alleged that he “took the boys to the hostel and sexually assaulted them”. In a statement, the school said: “On Saturday, September 2, evening, our staff spotted a regular volunteer sitting in an objectionable position with a few children. Our staff asked the person to leave immediately and informed the management on phone, since the office had closed. The senior management… met on Sunday morning and, after verifying all facts, immediately informed the police. The police have since arrested the accused for child sexual abuse.”
Singh said the children had complained to a staffer about the alleged sexual assault, and a medical examination was conducted. He said Ward’s cellphone and laptop have been seized and “objectionable videos” have been found on them.
He said experts would be brought in to counsel the children, following which their statements would be recorded. The school said that the “safety and dignity” of students is its “top priority”.
“Being a charitable organisation, we depend on donors and volunteers for sustaining our activities… We trusted this volunteer, Mr Murray Dennis Ward, to do constructive work with our children. This person had offered to help our children with their studies and in improving their English communication,” said the school, adding that Ward used to visit “few times a month and had been doing good work with the children”.
According to Singh, Ward hails from Gloucestershire in the UK, and was working with a Gurgaon-based firm till April this year. “In February 2017, he suffered a paralytic attack. Since then, he has been under treatment,” he said. Police said the accused used to live in a rented accommodation in South Delhi’s Vasant Kunj area.