02 September, 2011 - Published 14:16 GMT

Child abuse suspect priest remanded

A court in Sri Lanka has ordered the police to further remand in custody a Christian priest accused of sexually abusing four underage girls.

Colombo magistrate rejected an appeal by the lawyers representing Rev Rodney Oliver Pereira, a Paster and the caretaker of the Harvest Children’s Home in Ja-Ela, near Colombo.

The National Child Protection Authority (NCPA) in a report to the court said the investigation began after a tip-off that the suspect has sexually abused girls in the children’s home.

Police also informed the court that the girls will be produced to the forensic medical officer and seek a report.

The lawyers representing the suspect said the complaint is a result of a conspiracy by another Christian sect.

Arguing that the suspect is innocent, they requested the court to release him op bail but the police objected saying it will hamper investigations.

It was also revealed that Rev Pereira is facing another child abuse lawsuit in a court in Kandy.

Prison authorities were ordered to produce him before the court in Kandy on 05 September.

The official website of the children’s home says it is linked with International Aid Trust (IAT). But a spokesman for the IAT told BBC Sandeshaya that it has no information about the children’s home.