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Last Updated: Saturday, 18 September, 2004, 01:47 GMT 02:47 UK
Top British child advocate sacked
Bruce Harris shows poster of child which reads
Harris was known across Latin America a children's champion
Central America's main children rights group has sacked its UK-born director, saying he had "acted incorrectly" with a boy the organisation had once helped.

The group, Casa Alianza, said Bruce Harris had admitted paying for sex with a 19-year-old Honduran who had been a resident in one of its shelters.

Mr Harris has not commented directly, since he announced on Thursday he was resigning "for personal reasons".

But he has said he would co-operate with prosecutors in Honduras.

"Sheltering behind a lie has never been my way, so I assume, as I always have done, responsibility for my acts, correct or incorrect," he said.

He had earlier issued a statement saying he was resigning to spend more time with his family.

Covenant House has dismissed Mr Harris because he recently paid a 19-year-old Honduran boy for sexual favours in a Tegucigalpa motel
Casa Alianza statement
But Casa Alianza says he had an recent encounter with the teenager in a hotel room in the Honduran capital, Tegucigalpa.

"The young man had been a Casa Alianza resident until the end of 2002," said the statement.

"We're a child care agency, our primary concern has to be the good of the children," said a spokesman for Casa Alianza's parent-organisation in the US, Covenant House.

While we all try to do our best, we are also human
Bruce Harris
In 15 years working for the group, Mr Harris became well-known in Latin America as a vocal campaigner for the rights of street children.

He was awarded the Order of the British Empire medal in 2000 for his work.

A recent UK documentary showed him combating child prostitution in Costa Rica - where he is based - including working undercover in a child brothel to gather evidence.

"Some will be happy to see my departure," said Mr Harris.

"I am very sorry if I have disappointed anyone for this or other decisions I have taken," he said. "While we all try to do our best, we are also human."




SEE ALSO:
UK activist wins Guatemala trial
31 Jan 04  |  Americas
Guatemala army 'seized children'
08 Aug 00  |  Americas
Country profile: Guatemala
15 Jan 04  |  Country profiles


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