CEBU - Philippine police said Thursday they had arrested a 78-year-old Australian man and would charge him with sexually abusing local girls who lived at his house.
Police raided the man's home late Wednesday after an investigation prompted by suspicions he was abusing as many as seven girls staying with him, said Timmar Alam, a police official on the central island of Cebu.
"When we arrived at the house, we saw the four girls in the living room but another girl was in the kitchen and she ran off and escaped," said Alam, who oversees the isolated area.
The man, who was detained at the local police station, was a longtime resident of Cebu island, the police chief said.
Police said they would file criminal charges against him on Friday, including trafficking and child sex offenses.
If convicted he faces at least 25 years in jail.
An Australian embassy spokesman could not be reached for comment.
The four Filipina girls who were with the man, aged between 14 and 15, were turned over to state social workers, Alam said.