This children’s rights activist has been accused of raping a 17-year-old girl who had escaped from an orphanage.
Social activist Luchezar Panfilov, who volunteers helping look for children who have run away from orphanages, has been accused of raping a minor in the city of Odessa in eastern Ukraine.
Local media report Panfilov himself grew up in an orphanage and he and his fellow volunteers received a message from the Svitanok social-psychological rehab centre and orphanage saying three girls had run away.
He reportedly decided not to tell the police about the runaways as he described the orphanage as “an awful place, reigned by darkness and terror, children get beaten up, get humiliated”.
He added to local media: “This is why we decided they should stay the night at my place and in the morning we would send them to the juvenile department of the local police.”
He told reporters that he had his brother and his wife visiting at the same time and said that he was not alone with the three female teens, and gave them their own room.
He added: “I understand that the situation is very sensitive. This is why I spent the night on a chair in the yard, right beneath a camera that is located by a nearby pawnshop.”
However, the next day after he left the girls with the police, one of them, 17 years old, reported him for raping her.
The police went to his home to question him. Local media report that the cops allegedly found blood stains on the wallpaper, but Panfilov stresses that it was simply an old juice stain.
The officers reportedly seized the bedsheets from the house. Panfilov’s lawyer, Yuriy Kanikaev, claims that the flat search was not legitimate.
A criminal investigation has been launched but it is unclear if Panfilov has been arrested. His lawyer claims the investigation has been launched as revenge for his client speaking ill of the rehab centre the girls escaped from.
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Story By: Anastasia Smirnova, Sub-Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Central European News
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