According to reports, Odisha Police have arrested a 68-year-old missionary John Patrick Bridge, founder of Faith Outreach Odisha, who hails from the UK, for sexually assaulting a minor boy at a shelter home. He runs free shelter homes, daycare centres and boarding schools in Jharsuguda, Odisha.
Bridge filed a bail plea in a local court that was rejected. Police have booked him under SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) and POCSO Act. According to a report in local daily Pragativadi, Police arrested him after a former inmate filed a complaint against him. The complainant stayed in the shelter in 2015 and was a minor when he was assaulted at the shelter. The district administrator gave the investigation to a senior police official.
Similar cases filed before against Bridge
There are similar charges against Bridge filed previously as well. New Zealand embassy had filed the complaint on behalf of a New Zealand citizen against Bridge.
According to the website of Faith Outreach Odisha, Bridge was born in 1952, and he came to India in 1977. In 1983, he married Delphine Titra Gerson, a Tamil South Indian and established the organization with her. They started as an orphanage that slowly grew into several children’s homes, daycare centres and training centre for volunteer. The couple is using these centres to convert the kids to Christianity. Majority of the kids living in these homes or shelters belong to poor tribal families. He was granted Indian citizenship in 1992.