Ottawa man faces child porn charges after returning from Nepalese orphanage

Police arrested 62-year-old Paul McCarthy of Ottawa on child pornography charges Friday, weeks after he was stopped by border officers as he returned to Canada following a volunteer mission to an orphanage in Nepal.

Paul McCarthy, 62, arrested weeks after being stopped by border officers, police say

Paul McCarthy posted several photos on Facebook taken during his visits to Nepal. (Facebook)

Police arrested a 62-year-old man on child pornography charges Friday, weeks after he was stopped by border officers as he returned to Canada following a volunteer mission to an orphanage in Nepal. 

Paul McCarthy of Ottawa has been charged with two counts of possessing child pornography, one count of luring a child under 18 and one count of importing child pornography. 

Police said the investigation is ongoing and additional charges are expected to be laid.

Officers with the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) first began investigating when the man was returning to Canada from Nepal in mid-December, Ottawa police said in a news release.

Child exploitation unit investigates

Ottawa police said its child exploitation unit identified five Nepalese male victims under the age of 16 in what it described as child pornography.  

Police said McCarthy was arrested at the Toronto Pearson International Airport on Friday and escorted off a plane destined for Panama City. 

Lawyer Robert Carew speaks to reporters outside the Ottawa courthouse on Jan. 5. He is defending McCarthy on child pornography and child luring charges. (Radio-Canada)

During a search of the man's home, police seized additional electronic devices.

McCarthy appeared in court in Ottawa Saturday morning. Outside the courthouse, his lawyer, Robert Carew, said he was confident his client was innocent.

McCarthy is expected to appear in court Tuesday for a bail hearing. 

Donor to Child Haven

CBC News has confirmed McCarthy worked with at least one non-profit organization, while also donating to another.

In a statement, Care Canada, which describes itself as an "international humanitarian organization" confirmed McCarthy had worked with them from 1992 until 1999.

Bonnie Cappuccino, international director for Child Haven, a not-for-profit organization that runs a children's home in Kathmandu, Nepal's capital, said McCarthy has been a longtime donor to the organization.

"We certainly never saw any signs or indication that he was that type of person and I hope he isn't. I hope it's a false allegation," she said.

She said he asked to visit the home a few years ago while he was in the country on business and has been there a few times since then, most recently in November.

It is not yet clear if the charges are connected to his visits to the homes run by Child Haven.

She described McCarthy as a kind, friendly person, who was well liked by the home's staff and children and would often be seen playing games with the children, including ping pong.

Bonnie Cappuccino says she last saw McCarthy in Nepal in November. (Facebook)

The home has around 80 children and youth between the ages of five and 25, with those over the age of 18 moving out to attend college.

Cappuccino said staff in the orphanage have been instructed to talk to any children who spent time with McCarthy to see if anything inappropriate happened. She said counselling and other supports would be offered.

"At this point, we're just doing things very carefully and very confidentially to protect the privacy of our children and young people," she said.

She said she felt "sick to her stomach" at the allegations and staff in Nepal were shocked to hear of them.

with files from Kimberley Molina and Yasmine Mehdi