Australian pleads not guilty to child rape in Philippines

2015-06-16 13:59
Gerard Peter Scully arrives at a court for his arraignment in Cagayan de Oro City. (AFP)

Gerard Peter Scully arrives at a court for his arraignment in Cagayan de Oro City. (AFP)

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Cagayan de Oro - An Australian man accused of raping and trafficking two girls in the Philippines pleaded not guilty on Tuesday, court officials said.

Wearing a yellow prison shirt and handcuffs, Gerard Peter Scully, 51, puffed on a cigarette before calmly saying "not guilty" as the charges - five counts of rape and one of human trafficking - were read to him at an improvised courtroom in the port of Cagayan de Oro.

Philippine police accuse Scully of repeatedly raping the two teenage girls, who were found naked and chained in his apartment bedroom in the southern port last year.

Scully is also under investigation, but not been charged, over the rape of an 18-month-old baby girl and the rape and murder of a 12-year-old girl.

Police said they found the 12-year-old's remains in February, buried beneath the kitchen of a separate apartment also rented by Scully in the southern city of Surigao.

Scully was arrested in the same month in Malaybalay, another southern Philippine city.

Scully, reported in Australian media as a native of Melbourne, fled to the Philippines from Australia in 2011 after he was charged with fraud, according to Philippine investigators.

Cybersex business

He then set up a cybersex business, filming girls aged 12 to 18 from impoverished families as he had sex with them or they played with sex toys, the investigators added.

The videos were allegedly sold to customers in Germany, the US and Brazil.

Philippine police also said he is under a separate criminal investigation in the Netherlands over fraud.

Scully was among a busload of detainees charged with various offences who were roped into a makeshift courthouse on the foundations of a government building under construction with no walls, an AFP photographer saw, since no other court was available.

He and his local lawyer, whom he was meeting for the first time, smoked just before the judge made the Australian stand to hear the charges against him. Scully will remain in custody.

The Philippines has become a key hub of a billion-dollar, global child cybersex industry, police warned last year, with operators helped by widespread poverty.

Most people who pay to view the sex videos are from the United States and Europe, with potentially thousands of children being abused, often with their parents' consent, authorities said.

Read more on:    phillipines  |  sexual abuse  |  child abuse

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