A veteran social worker has been allowed to go on leave immediately and is being investigated by police after a mainland press report accused him of molesting six girls in a Yunnan orphanage. But the man, who works as a government social worker, insisted last night that his 'conscience is clear'. He said the accusations might have been made in revenge for his telling some badly behaved girls to leave the institution. The Social Welfare Department said yesterday it was concerned by the mainland report and agreed the man should go on leave from today. Police confirmed they had been notified about the case in July by a Hong Kong citizen and had classified it as a request for an investigation. The allegations about the man's conduct at the orphanage in Menghai county were reported in a Yunnan newspaper. Chun Cheng Wan Bao said at least six girls had been sexually harassed and molested since 2004 at the orphanage, which is operated by a Hong Kong registered charity. The orphanage was closed in the middle of this year after it was found to be operating without a permit from the provincial government. More than 20 children who had been living there are being cared for by a women's federation in the province. A Hong Kong volunteer who donated HK$100,000 to the charity discovered the child abuse after a visit to the orphanage, the newspaper said. She received letters from six female orphans when she returned to Hong Kong, accusing the man of bathing with the girls, sleeping with them at night and molesting and having sex with them. The man said last night he had not had sex with the girls, but might have gone to their bedroom at night to put blankets over them. 'Some of the girls hate me because I asked some of the badly behaved girls to leave the orphanage,' he said, adding that this could be why he was being accused. There were 27 children in the orphanage, aged from six to 16. The man said he was on leave from today. He said he did not want to cause any inconvenience to staff and clients in the office where he worked.