Child Molestation, abuse
(Representational image)Getty Images

A journalist, working for a major news publication, has been arrested for sexually abusing 21 minor boys in the Udupi district of Karnataka. He has now been booked under the Protection of Children Against Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.

Following the accusations, Chandra K Hemmadi, who works as a freelancer, was removed from the media organisation. 16 cases have been filed against him at the Byndoor police station in Udupi, three cases in Gangolli, one in Kolluru and one in Kundapura.

Hemmadi began visiting schools in the district in 2012. He went there under the pretext of writing about the issues in the locality. He built a rapport with the children and their parents to earn their trust, reports News18.

He would later pretend to seek directions or want to click photos, take the boys to a secluded area and molest them. He even threatened them into submission and made sure that they remained quiet.

According to the police, some of the cases dated back to 2013. "All these cases have been registered within four to five days. He admitted to abusing the 21 boys. We got in touch with many of the boys' families and registered cases. The boys have been given counselling. There could be more cases which have not come to light fearing shame," Byndoor police told News18.

Hemmadi is currently in police custody. He was produced before a magistrate court in Udupi on Monday after which his custody was extended to December 17.