2 May 2007

French Polynesian police appeal for information about alleged rape of children

1:30 pm on 2 May 2007

Police in French Polynesia have appealed to the public for information as the probe continues into the alleged sex crimes of a 49-year-old man committed on Hao atoll in the 1990's.

The man, Philippe Challand, was arrested last year after his son-in-law found a video cassette showing Mr Challand abusing boys and girls appearing to be asleep.

Mr Challand worked as an anesthetic nurse and reports say he had access to medication to subdue the children.

He is accused of raping 41 children and sexually abusing nine others between 1993 and 1998 when Hao was a key military base for the French nuclear weapons testing programme.

Mr Challand is in a Tahiti jail as investigations continue.