September 2, 2003

Helsingin Sanomat

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has launched an investigation into allegations of extensive sexual abuse of children at a school run by the Seventh Day Adventist Church.

    According to preliminary reports, at least ten children – mainly boys under the age of 16 – may have been molested over a period of two decades at Toivonlinna, an Adventist boarding school in Piikkiö in the Southwest of Finland. There are also suspicions of abuse during school camps.

The main suspect resigned last year, but police say that a number of other people have also been implicated.
    Many of the alleged victims are already adults. NBI investigator Harri Rahikka has appealed to other possible victims to come forward.
    Reports of child abuse within the Seventh Day Adventist Church were the topic of the investigative news programme MOT on YLE TV-1 on Monday evening. According to the programme “a pastor who was part of the top leadership of the church suddenly resigned last autumn. No specific reason was given for the resignation, but there are suspicions among the members of the church that sexual abuse of children was the reason for the move”.

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