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Children's Right Group Fires Central American Director in Sex Scandal - 2004-09-17

A renowned champion of children's rights in Latin America has been fired after allegedly paying for sex with a 19-year-old former Honduran street boy.

Bruce Harris was until recently one of the most high-profile crusaders for children's rights in Latin America. As the executive director of the Latin American office of New York-based Covenant house, known here as Casa Alianza, he was known around the region for his tireless activism on many issues including, child trafficking, illegal adoptions, child pornography and prostitution. In addition to activism on child welfare issues, Casa Alianza gives shelter and rehabilitation to street children through out Central America.

But Friday, the British-born Harris was fired for allegedly paying a 19-year-old man for sexual favors in hotel in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

According to a brief statement from Covenant House in New York, the young man was a former resident of a Casa Alianza home in Honduras. In the statement the organization said that Harris had admitted acting in an incorrect manner.

A Covenant House spokesperson said the agency thinks the matter is of significant concern, so much so that he was fired. The spokesperson refused to make addition comments because he said they are cooperating with the Honduran district attorney's office which is investigating the incident.

In a separate statement that Harris released he said he was stepping down from his post after 15 years with Casa Alianza because he was exhausted and wanted to spend more time with his family.