Three autistic girls were repeatedly raped by two workers at a prominent orphanage in Kathmandu, an official said on Tuesday. The two men have been ordered to be put in prison by a Nepal court.
In a fast-track case, the two men were found guilty of rape by a judge at the district court in Kathmandu on Monday evening, Agence France-Presse reported.
"Justice Pashupati Acharya has sentenced Rabin Shrestha and Rabin Chalise to 16 and a half years of imprisonment each," said court spokesman Shree Prasad Sanjel.
"He also ordered both of them to give 100, 000 rupees as compensation to each of the victims," Sanjel told AFP.
The case, which has attracted media attention and cast a spotlight on Nepal's massive orphanage industry, was brought forward by Action for Child Rights International after the victims, aged 13, 14 and 15, made complaints to the rights group in June.
The police was then immediately alerted about the attacks which had occurred under the care of 43-year-old Shrestha, who worked as head of adoptions at Bal Mandir orphanage, and Chalise, who volunteered as a fund-raiser for the institution.
Applauding Monday's verdict, activist Salina Tamang said it sent a clear warning to other orphanage employees against wrongdoing.
"We are happy with the court's decision... I believe this verdict can be a lesson for those working at other orphanages in Nepal," the 29-year-old said.
However, the defendants' lawyer, Ganesh Adhikari, told AFP that he planned to file an appeal at a higher court within a month.
The case highlights the problems facing Nepal's 797 orphanages, some of which have been hit by allegations of sexual abuse, corruption and fraud in recent years.
"Many orphanages here are unregulated and unregistered... the government should draw up a serious action plan to monitor these institutions so such incidents are not repeated in the future," Tamang told AFP.
In another gruesome incident, the owner and manager of a children's boarding school in western India was arrested in May after five minors said they were raped, forced to watch pornographic films and act them out with one another, police and charity workers said.
If the children refused to comply, they were made to eat feces as a punishment, Reuters reported.
In February, police also arrested the owner of Kathmandu's Happy Home orphanage on charges of fraud, kidnapping and torture.
Three Autistic Girls Repeatedly Raped By Orphanage Workers In Nepal By Rida Ahmed firstname.lastname@example.org | Dec 03, 2014Tweet