Star Helps To Expose Child Refuge Sex Abuse
BOMBAY and TANZANIA-
A CHARITY backed by British fundraisers that provides shelters for
street children in Tanzania is being
run by a man wanted in India on
charges of sexual abuse against boys,
an investigation has revealed.
The actress Felicity Kendal, who
starred in television's The Good Life,
was a patron. She travelled to India
and helped exposed the abuse.
Duncan Grant, 61, a former Royal
Navy reservist from a distinguished
British military family is the subject
of an international arrest warrant
issued by Indian authorities two
They want to put him on trial over
allegations that he beat and sexually
abused street children at similar
shelters he ran in Bombay.
As the Indian authorities searched
unsuccessfully for him, he was living
in the Tanzanian capital, Dar es
Salaam, and had set up three shelters
identical to his operation in India.
The shelters have attracted gap year
students from some of Britain's leading schools.
British newspaper The Daily Telegraph traced Grant to Tanzania this
week, as it emerged that the British
Jesuits, who had sent volunteers from
some of their schools, had suspended
dealings with him.
That followed concern from pupils
about the way some street children
were being treated - concerns which
they passed to the British police and
the Charity Commission.
Kendal described the allegations
as "appalling and horrifying". She
said she had no choice but to withdraw her patronage when Grant
failed to return to India to answer
"When it comes to children, there
is no leeway" she said. "It is either
black or while, not grey."
Denying the allegations, Grant
said they had been invented by the
Bombay police, a lawyer and a rival
volunteer."They cooked up some
story that we were part of a pedophile ring and using the shelter for all
sorts of child abuse," he said. "It was
At first he wanted to go back and
clear his name, he said, "but my solicitor advised me not to because she
thought I would be arrested and locked away for years without a proper
trial". The boys had since wirhdrawn
the allegations, he said.
The Bombay shelters received money through
British schools and
churches and from the British charity Rescue-a-Child.
They were never formally registered with the state authorities but by
1999 they had a full complement of
some 50 to 60 boys aged from eight
to 18. An official Indian report found
the homes to be "ramshackle and
filthy and the children were being
In 2001 Bombay police began an
investigation after some of the children alleged that Grant and another
Briton, his friend Allan Waters, had
beaten and sexually abused them. By
then both men had left India and an
international arrest warrant was
issued in April 2002.
Waters, who is said to know Grant
through the Royal Naval Reserve and
was a regular visitor to the Bombay
shelters, was arrested in New York
last year when he triggered an
Interpol alert at JFK airport on his
way to Bermuda. Indian police are
expected to travel to the United
States next week to take custody of
him after a New York judge confirmed his extradition this week.
The British Jesuits said they
immediately withdrew their gap year
students when they learned of allegations about mistreatment of children.
They said they had later been told
that an Indian high court judge had
When Grant established Anchorage Shelters in Tanzania, they
allowed gap year volunteers to go
only after carrying out an inspection.
One gap year student, who is not
part of the Jesuit program, defended
Grant, Tom Baker, from Shropshire,
who returned home on Thursday
after six months as a volunteer in
Tanzania, said: "He is doing an
amazing job, Without the shelters a
lot of those boys would be dead.
"If anything like that had been
going on, I would certainly have
drawn attention to it. All I can say is
I can vouch for his good character."
Vicky Robertson, the chairman of
Safe Havens-Tanzania, was convinced that the allegations were
false. She said she had not been
involved with Grant in Bombay but
started raising money when he
opened the Dar es Salaam shelters.
"I have ewery confidence that there
are absolutely no grounds for these
abuse allegations," she said.
On Friday Robert Manumba,
Tanzania's deputy police commissioner, said officers had been sent
to question Grant.
The Sun Herald (22-8-2004)
Caroline Davies/ Peter Foster/ Jane Flanagan