An Australian man who posed as a doctor and priest to rape children at the Indian orphanages where he volunteered has been released immediately after being convicted.
Paul Henry Dean, 75, was found guilty last month of “unnatural sex” with young boys and men at an orphanage for children with visual, speech and hearing impairments.
The charges were first laid in Andhra Pradesh state in 2001, after which Dean moved to another state, Odisha, where he was accused of sexually abusing more boys. Those charges are understood to still be pending.
Dean, who has lived in India for more than four decades after fleeing Australia on a fake passport in 1976, was sentenced on 21 February to three years’ prison and a 12,000-rupee (£132) fine.
But he was released the same day by the same court after filing an appeal, according to S Naidu, the inspector of police in Visakhapatnam, the Andhra Pradesh city where Dean committed the offences.
Proceedings in the Andhra Pradesh high court could take years to be heard in India’s overburdened legal system.
Naidu said police were concerned the convicted paedophile was free in the community. “It is not at all safe for the general public, especially children, if he is out,” he said. “[Dean] is good at fooling people.”
Dean vanished from Australia using a fake passport after allegedly stealing AU$100,000 from a travel company, according to a 2009 investigation by ABC’s Four Corners.
Unbeknown to authorities, the man from Bunbury in Western Australia was reportedly living in India and posing as a Catholic missionary, claiming to have been a professor of agriculture in Australia.
He feigned being a priest and learned surgery from local doctors, eventually performing amputations and cataract surgeries in leper colonies across south India.
But police allege that from at least the early 1980s he was regularly abusing some of the young boys and men in the communities in which he worked.
“Tata [grandfather] tells me to put oil on his penis and hand-pump him,” one alleged teenage victim told Indian police in 2008, according to a statement obtained by Four Corners.
“He also undresses me and masturbates me. This has been going on since 2005. He threatened to beat me up if I told.”
One alleged victim, a 15-year-old with hearing and speech impairments, committed suicide in 1985 after accusing Dean of sexual abuse.
Some of the charities Dean worked with were funded by Australian and other international donors.