A guilty verdict has been handed down in a high-profile sex assault case involving former Nova Scotia businessman Ernest Fenwick MacIntosh in Nepal.
MacIntosh will spend the next seven years in a Nepalese prison. The 71-year-old was found guilty on a charge of molesting a teenage boy.
Bob Martin, once a victim of MacIntosh’s and now an advocate against sexual abuse, said the conviction wasn’t something to celebrate.
“I always felt like I was detective on the beat keeping my eye on this bad boy that caused me and so many others pain,” Martin said. “So, not a reason to celebrate but a reason to at least feel, finally, finally some justice being served here.”
Martin was one of a number of young Nova Scotia men who accused MacIntosh of molesting them in the 1970s. Charges were finally laid in 1995, but by that time, MacIntosh had moved to India.
It wouldn’t be until 2007 that he was arrested on 43 sex-related charges and brought back to Canada.
He went through two trials beginning in 2010 and was eventually convicted on 17 counts of indecent assault and gross indecency against young males.
Those convictions were thrown out after the courts decided it took too long to bring MacIntosh to trial. He went free, no strings attached.
Nepalese police say the latest chapter involving MacIntosh started Dec. 13 when he lured a 15-year-old teen to the Café Brazil Guest House and Coffee Shop in Kathmandu.
Lalitpur Metropolitan Police Deputy Superintendent Pawan Kumar Giri told CTV News in an email that MacIntosh assured the teen he would give him food, clothing and cash.
Giri says the teen had lost a hand in an accident and that MacIntosh promised to help.
It was when the boy entered his hotel room that Giri says MacIntosh “compelled the child to engage in unnatural masturbation.”
In the days following, a child advocacy group reported the case to police.
On Dec. 19, investigators arrived at the hotel.
In an email, the hotel's manager told CTV News he was shocked when police showed up.
"Police came (into the) Guest House, search his room, and then took him for enquiry . . . he didn't come back.,” says hotel manager Sushil Tamang.
Local media reports say MacIntosh arrived in Nepal mid-August. He promoted himself as a director of the Spice Journal, an online publication dedicated to enhancing the world's knowledge of spices.
While in Katmandu, MacIntosh met the head of a Jesuit-run centre for homeless and impoverished kids.
The St. Xavier's Social Service Centre has been around since 1970. This Christian-run facility is a standout in the predominantly Hindu country.
Fr. Bill Robins was the Canadian priest who ran St. Xavier's from 1998 to 2004. He says he didn't know who MacIntosh was until he read about him after he was charged.
He says on MacIntosh’s first trip to the Centre, he was escorted by the Jesuit priest in charge of St. Xavier's College, an independent and private educational institution next door. Apparently MacIntosh was looking for an educated former student who could help him with his work at the Spice Journal. The priest was said to have helped make that connection.
On subsequent trips to the Centre, MacIntosh showed up and signed the guestbook. That's how, Fr. Robins says, he knows how many times MacIntosh visited the Centre. A media report say he visited more than 15 times, which, if true meant he wasn't signing in.
After all this came to light, and the connection to the Centre brought to the attention of one of St. Xavier's main benefactors — Toronto-based Canadian Jesuits International, Fr. Robins, who lives in Nepal, was asked to carry out an investigation.
"I sat down with the appropriate people, did my homework quickly and I was much relieved to know that our Social Service Centre staff and administration did the right thing all the way along,” says Fr. Robins.
Fr. Robins admitted to CTV News that he has no training in investigating these sorts of things, but he says he's sure the staff was not being sloppy.
"The boys were never alone with this man, except maybe that one boy, without permission, saw the man during games time,” he added. “They go out to play games and he could've snuck off."
This case has put sex tourism in Nepal under the microscope. It is a very poor country, rife with legal loopholes that have made it an attractive country for foreigners.
“They can give what is a small amount of money to them, which is a very huge amount of money for someone who is very impoverished,” Jonathan Rosenthal said.
The Toronto-based lawyer and professor at Osgoode Hall Law School, represented MacIntosh's victims in Nova Scotia.
“When he was a fugitive from justice, in India, he was thrown out of a number of schools and a number of orphanages for again,” Rosenthal said.
The case has challenged Nepalese authorities to come up with new ways to deal with alleged foreign child predators.
Local media reports say MacIntosh’s victim was allowed to testify in another room so he wouldn't be intimidated by the accused — a first for the country.
Another report says MacIntosh took and failed a polygraph test, something again that is relatively new in Nepal.
The conviction in Nepal was no surprise to Bob Martin.
“Even though he’s almost 72 years of age, it’s what he always did,” Martin said in an earlier interview. “He would go after the young boys in the afternoon in our community, and he would get us, the young teenagers, at night. He was serial and it’s pathetic.”
Back in Canada, CTV News has learned that another individual has come forward with allegations similar to those laid in 1995.
The RCMP will not confirm or deny the existence of these new allegations.
It’s unlikely though that MacIntosh will be back to face a complaint in a Nova Scotia court anytime soon.
A reporter with the Republica newspaper told CTV News in an email that MacIntosh has 70 days to appeal his sentence in Nepal.
Kamal Pariyar says it takes a few days to get the full text of the court's verdict, but once his lawyers get the full text of the verdict, the appealing process can begin.
MacIntosh has always maintained his innocence.
In the meantime, he has been sent to Nakkhu Jail, located about five kilometers southeast of Kathmandu. It’s one of the biggest jails in Nepal.
Amnesty International described it as being overcrowded and understaffed.
Last year, prisoners at the jail protested conditions. Local media reports say inmates were upset with corruption inside the jail, the poor quality of food and overall treatment by staff.
In addition to his seven-year sentence, MacIntosh has been ordered to pay $1 million Nepalese Rupees or almost $12,650 Canadian in reparations. Media reports from Nepal say this is the highest amount ever in that country.
The court also appears to have tied his ability to leave the country after his sentence is up, with paying that amount.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Bill Dicks