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(506) 2223-1327          Published Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2011, in Vol. 11, No. 182          Email us
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Trio held in Jacó murder of Canadian and employee
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Investigators detained three men Tuesday in the double murder of businessman Jacques Cloutier and his long-time ranch hand.

Two of the suspects were detained in their homes in Quebrada Amarilla near the murder scene. A third was detained in Guadalupe in the Central Valley, said the Judicial Investigating Organization.

The dead men are Jacques Cloutier, 59, identified as a Canadian and a cattleman, and Luis Antonio Angulo Díaz, 70, a long-time employee from La Cruz in Guanacaste. Cloutier was a major home builder in Florida who defaulted on $100 million in loans when the economy there went sour. Cloutier had spent many years in Costa Rica and had a cattle operation in Osa. He and Angulo were reported to be in Jacó to purchase land and brand cattle. Angulo had come from La Cruz to help.

The bodies were discovered about 5 a.m. May 14,
 a Saturday. Both men were in the front seats of a Toyota vehicle. Cloutier was shot in the neck and Angulo in the left ear, agents determined.

The Judicial Investigating Organization said that agents in its Garabito regional office made the arrest. The murder scene, Quebrada Amarilla, is near Jacó. Agents said they confiscated important evidence when they made the arrests. At the time of his death, Cloutier was being sued in Costa Rican court to execute a Florida court judgment.

The Judicial Investigating Organization and the Poder Judicial have not yet identified the suspects. But informal sources said that the killings stemmed from the abortive sale of some cattle to Cloutier.

It was known at the time of the murders that he asked Angulo to accompany him to brand some cattle he was purchasing. One of the suspects is believed to have accepted payment but defaults on delivery of cattle.

Country gets once over by international fraud expert
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

An international expert on fraud is visiting Costa Rica as part of research on the safety of foreign investments.

She is Leslie Kim, executive editor of The John Cooke Fraud Reports and director of the Web site Fight Fraud She is comparing Costa
Leslie Kim
Leslie Kim
Rica and Central America to China and Russia because she believes these three areas maintain different cultural beliefs that affect business and investing.

Ms. Kim also said she is interested in learning more about the Villalobos Brothers investment scam and the case of Luis Milanes, the country's casino king, who is trying
to buy his way out of a fraud trial.

Ms. Kim founded the Fraud Report in 1994, in part because her own family had been savaged by fraudsters, she said. She has a strong background in insurance fraud, but she said her Web site tries to help everyone who has been a victim even if the case is an unsophisticated street scam.

The Web site is basically Fraud 101 with a lot of case studies, descriptions of crimes and even a section to do basic Internet checks on banks, lawyer licenses and disciplinary actions.

Ms. Kim also expressed some fascination with the variety of frauds that take place in Costa Rica. In addition to investment ponzi schemes there are land
frauds, insurance scams, informational technology crimes, credit card theft and pension fraud. She  said she expects such crimes to increase.  “As people
get hungry and your family needs food, you do what you have to,” she said.

Her interest in the three geographical areas stems from her belief that each has a unique national culture. For example, Costa Rica is family-centered and Russia has what she calls a tribal mentality. 

Consequently, the way citizens approach crime is different, she said. Costa Ricans work to protect the family, but Russians protect those who are part of their daily social group, such as residents of the same apartment building, she explained.

But the basic question for Costa Rica and the other countries remains: Is it safe to invest here, said Ms. Kim. She said she seeks to determine the degree of accountability by government officials and others to potential frauds.

Ms. Kim confronts fraud by reporting on cases for the Fraud Reports and now the Web site, as well as the regional overviews. She does a lot of in-person interviews, as she is doing now in Costa Rica. She has been all over the world and even has participated in fraud discussions with government officials in Nigeria, the seat of much Internet crime.

She is not kind to employees of institutions. She said that banks are lethargic in fighting fraud and that even some of the law enforcement agencies have to be spurred to act. That partly is because the prisons are full and white collar crime is beyond the scope of some investigators, she said.

And she said she believes that a common denominator in every fraud case is some aspect of illegal drugs. She has been involved in medical fraud cases where the small-time players are paid off in prescription medication.

She said one of her goals is education of employees in fraud-prone agencies, of those in law enforcement and of private citizens.

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Barbour letter gets praise

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

Hoorah for Dean Barbour for having the guts to tell it like it is.  Good, thought provoking stuff.  I'd love to hear more.   On the flip side some brilliant New York City real estate developer decided to put his footprint on La Fortuna because "looking at the volcanic mountain" was just not enough.  Is he kidding, a natural wonder of that magnitude is "just not enough," but miniature golf is?   WOW!!!!!
Daniel Forster
Pilas de San Isidro, Alajuela

Religious fanaticism exists
in every corner of planet

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

Dean Barbour's provocative views on the causes of 9/11 and the War on Terror are the ultimate in political incorrectness according to current mainstream American media standards. That reason alone would explain why "there is still no meaningful national conversation" on the subject.

I don't disagree with Mr. Barbour's fundamental contention that there are many flaws in America's foreign policy and that these flaws create the anti-American sentiment which is widespread in Middle East countries. However, any meaningful conversation would have to include the giant skeleton in the closet: the role of religion, which fans hatred and suspicion against non-believers in the name of "God/Allah,Jehova etc."

Unfortunately, religious fanaticism exists in every corner of the planet, including the U.S.A., and unfortunately this subject is even more taboo than that of foreign policy. Until we come face to face with the historic fact that religion is the root of much of the evil and social unrest that pollutes this planet, there will be Americans at war even with other Americans. I'm not going to hold my breath waiting for a meaningful national conversation on this subject.

All of that having being said, NOBODY deserves the type of "payback" perpetrated on 9/11
Ivor Sargent
Montreal, Canada

Correlation does not prove
that there is causation

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:
Let's put on long pants so we can grow our legs (or so Mr. Barbour would have us believe).
There are several common errors in the commentary by Dean Barbour of Manuel Antonio, but this one paragraph of his sums up common pitfalls and misunderstandings about cause and effect and connecting the “dots” and events of history.

“Ten years on from 9/11, there is still no meaningful national conversation, let alone a debate, about why 3,000 people died that terrible day, although the reason couldn't be more obvious if it were carved into the marble alongside the names of the fallen at the Ground Zero Memorial: The United States finally got paid back for half a century of clandestine meddling and overt mayhem in the Middle East.”

That is the equivalent of saying “People who wear long pants have long legs; therefore, wearing long pants has caused people’s legs to grow.” Just because there is a correlation between two events doesn’t mean there is necessarily a cause and effect relating two events.

He says there has been no conversation or debate about the why. Just because he chooses to disagree or close his ears to the cacophony of opinions, doesn’t mean it isn’t taking place. “Islamic extremism” or just “extremists” often bubbles to the surface as one plausible explanation as to the why. Not to say that explains it all, but extremists of whatever flavor use terrorism as a tactic to kill for their own selfish gains and don’t need a legitimate reason to commit violence. And, is there ever a legitimate reason to murder innocents? Islamic extremism is just the current fad of our times but there have been and will be others.

His error on the why is that he throws out some incomplete facts such as the United States was involved in bad wars and general meddling in the Middle East.  That is the equivalent of the long pants. Then he jumps to the conclusion and would like us to believe that otherwise peaceful people were provoked into the attack on 9/11 by our own actions. That is the equivalent of the legs grew because of the long pants. In fact, the legs grew regardless of the length of the pants, and the U.S. was attacked regardless of former wars and meddling. Two correlated events in history, but not cause and effect.

His reasoning as he recounts the wars in Afghanistan against the Russians conveniently overlooks the fact that we were directly assisting Osama Bin Laden in his struggle. Osama should have been forever grateful. And, in fact, he was to his dying day; grateful for the “Great Satan” that is; He used “evil” superpowers as his stepping stone to greatness and world recognition. Perhaps as some argue he just despised our culture and believed he was doing his religious duty by trying to wipe us from the face of the earth. Maybe that’s why he viewed pornography; research I guess to gather more evidence against us.

So using Mr. Barbour’s twisted logic that we’ve meddled in the Middle East because we are against Muslims then, I guess we must be schizophrenic which explains why we went to war on the side of Bosnian Muslims.
Pat McCormick
Costa Rica

We must humble ourselves
and stop wars and greed

Dear A.M. Costa Rica:

Finally someone responded like I have always felt about concerning the role of the U.S.A. in the world.  Thank you, Mr. Dean Barbour, for speaking up.  There are many like us out here. I, too, have my doubts on the real causes of the Twin Towers tragedy.  Besides the Twin Towers incident was the corporations cost of doing bad business around the world.

I will believe in a God when he sends the U.S. to hell.  God would NOT be blessing the U.S.A.  If he does, then he is no God of mine.  The U.S.A. started out on the wrong track and has always been on the wrong track.  Creating havoc wherever  and whatever they got their hands into. Remember the Pilgrims and the consortium of European followers that came here? They are guilty of one of the largest genocides in human history.  The massacre of the natives in North, Central and South America. 

No one wants to talk about that.  Especially in the history books.  The loss of life was uncountable.  The pillaging, unmentionable.  The thieving, without guilt.  Whether it was the gold, or more modern, the oil.

Let's face our truths, as it really is, the history of the U.S.A.  The U.S.A. was founded on murder, raping, and down right stolen it from the natives and México. For example,  We talk about having title when we transfer lots here in Costa Rica.  Did Napoleon have the title to the Louisiana purchase.  Does sticking a stick in the ground with some cloth with colors on it deemed rightful position?  NO. It wasn't his to sell.  It was  illegally acquired.  It should be NULL and Void, as well all of the land from the majestic purple mountains, to the fruited plains, and from the sea to the shining seas we stole, murdered, and pillaged for.

We must stop the wars and the corporate greed behind the wars.  We must stop the assignations of other rulers who don't see eye to eye with our corruption.  And we need to humble ourselves.  Ask for forgiveness for our past. 

Now my big question, If and when we stand up against the wrong direction our country has taken. OR  If we try to take back our country.  Will we  be labeled as Freedom Fighters or Terrorist.
Steve Meno
Coronado de Osa.

Find out what the papers
said today in Spanish

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Here is the section where you can scan short summaries from the Spanish-language press. If you want to know more, just click on a link and you will see and longer summary and have the opportunity to read the entire news story on the page of the Spanish-language newspaper but translated into English.

Translations may be a bit rough, but software is improving every day.

When you see the Summary in English of news stories not covered today by A.M. Costa Rica, you will have a chance to comment.

This is a new service of A.M. Costa Rica called Costa Rica Report. Editor is Daniel Woodall, and you can contact him HERE!
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San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2011, Vol. 11, No. 182

Prisma dental

Milanes seeking to modify his promise to pay investors
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Former fugitive Luis Milanes is seeking to modify the conciliation deal that his lawyers negotiated with former investors who lost money with his Savings Unlimited high interest scheme.

A lawyer representing some of the former investors confirmed Tuesday that a hearing has been scheduled for Sept. 21 with the judge overseeing the case. Milanes wants to pay much less than the $100,000 a month he originally promised.

The lawyer is Gregory Kearney Lawson, who said that he still is accepting clients in the case. Many lawyers have been refusing to represent victims who came forth after they became aware that Milanes might go to trial for fraud. Kearney said he had just been retained by a client who had been represented by another lawyer in the case.

Some clients are complaining that they have not been given any information by the lawyers they hired. The conciliation deal is in the hands of a committee of five, which includes three lawyers and two investors. This group is charged with disposing of property Milanes surrendered to avoid a criminal trial. Milanes agreed to pay $100,000 a month to support the work of the committee. Any excess would be returned to the investors who accepted the conciliation deal. This is the aspect that is up for renegotiation.

Kearney said that he represents some former investors who have accepted the conciliation deal but he also represents former investors who are prepared to go to trial against Milanes. A hearing in the Milanes criminal case was supposed to be this week but was postponed.

Milanes handed over property said to be worth $10 million but might be worth much less in today's market. Trouble arose right away when the committee found out that liens had been filed against the properties by unhappy former Milanes employees. Milanes had been given a deadline to clear the titles, but it is not certain that he was able to do so. That aspect probably will come up at the Sept. 21 hearing.

None of the lucrative casinos owned by Milanes is included in the conciliation deal. In fact, some investors have
complained that the judiciary has not really determined exactly what Milanes owns and how much he is worth. A number of corporations are involved.

Other investors question the value of the cornerstone of the conciliation deal, the Hotel Europa and an adjacent office building in downtown San José. By now the conciliation committee might have an idea of the monthly cash flow from the property but that information has not been made public. An appraisal ordered by the courts did not address the cash flow of the property but based the evaluation on the estimated replacement cost less depreciation. Businesses usually are valued based on how much money they bring in. The Milanes casino in the hotel is just a tenant, as is he.

Casinos appear to be good business. In July the publicly traded Thunderbird Resorts Inc. said in a financial report that its Fiesta Casino in Costa Rica made $1.5 million in June.

The conciliation is based on an aspect of Costa Rican law that lets the accused buy their way out of a criminal case by compensating the victims. Savings Unlimited had about $200 million in its investor accounts when Milanes closed it down in November 2002.

About 450 investors signed on to the conciliation deal because they were promised 20 cents on every dollar they had given the Savings Unlimited high interest operation. Milanes fled and left investors in the lurch in November 2002.

He returned to Costa Rica in June 2009 and spent just a night in jail.

There are an estimated 500 investors into the Milanes operation that paid up to 3 percent interest a month. It was one of several high-interest schemes operating at the time. There is no clear understanding how any of the businesses made enough money to pay that kind of interest, although Milanes was widely believed to be putting the money into his casinos.

The negotiations over the conciliation have been going on for most of the year.

Earlier stories are HERE and HERE.

Fuerza Pública officers got a head start on Independence Day celebrations Tuesday when they hosted bands from schools all over the central canton of San José. The event was in Hatillo and also featured traditional dancers.

Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía y Seguridad Pública/Ingrid Luna

Celebration of Día de Independencia really starts today
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

The torch of liberty is on its way from Peñas Blancas, and it is expected to reach San José in time for a 6 p.m. ceremony at Parque Central. The president and her cabinet will await the flame at 8 p.m. in Cartago, the former capital.

The legal holiday is Thursday with parades and demonstrations of patriotism, but the holiday really starts tonight.

Firemen will be carrying their own torch starting at 4 p.m. when a team of runners leaves the central offices at Avenida 3 at Calle 18 at 4 p.m. The firemen will pass through stations in Barrio México, Tibás and Guadalupe. At each stop a community program is planned with marimba, mascaradas and cimarronas, the street brass band. The runners will end up in Barrio Lujan in time for the 6 p.m. singing of the national anthem and a parade of children with their faroles.

The Tribunal Supremo de Elecciones is starting its celebration even earlier. The agency announced that the central offices and the 32 regional ones would be closed both today and Thursday. Staffers are celebrating the Día del Personal Electoral as well as the Día de la Independencia.

Most government offices will be closed just Thursday, but many workers are planning a four-day weekend. Tourism
operators are promoting various packages to attract vacationers. The U.S. Embassy as well as most other foreign embassies will be closed Thursday.

The Fuerza Pública held an early event in Hatillo Tuesday where school bands were invited and competed. There was a parade and a patriotic ceremony as well as dancers.

President Laura Chinchilla will be on the road today. She will be inaugurating the Colegio Técnico de Dulce Nombre de Cartago in the afternoon followed by a similar ceremony at the Casa del Agricultor en Tierra Blanca on the road to Volcán Irazú.

She will be cutting a ribbon at the Escuela León Cortéz C. in Cot at 3:45 p.m. That will give her time to join in singing the national anthem at the Museo Municipal in  Cartago and observe and perhaps participate in a parade of children with their faroles, the homemade representations of 19th century street lamps by which Costa Ricans are said to have read the message that liberty from Spain has been proclaimed in Guatemala City, the regional seat of government.

The Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía y Seguridad Pública will celebrate the 190th anniversary of independence in Dulce Nombre, Coronado, where some 400 confiscated weapons will be destroyed under the supervision of the Dirección General de Armamento. That is at 7:30 a.m. today.

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San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2011, Vol. 11, No. 182

La Niña returning to bring more rain in valley and north Pacific
Special to A.M. Costa Rica
with A.M. Costa Rica staff reports

La Niña, which contributed to extreme weather around the globe during the first half of 2011, has re-emerged in the tropical Pacific Ocean and is forecast to gradually strengthen and continue into winter. Forecasters with the U.S. Climate Prediction Center Tuesday upgraded last month’s La Niña watch to a La Niña advisory.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said it will issue its official winter outlook in mid-October, but La Niña winters often see drier than normal conditions across the southern tier of the United States and wetter than normal conditions in the Pacific Northwest and Ohio Valley.

La Niña is a naturally occurring climate phenomenon located over the tropical Pacific Ocean and results from interactions between the ocean surface and the atmosphere. During La Niña, cooler-than-average Pacific Ocean temperatures influence global weather patterns. La Niña typically occurs every three to five years, and back-to-back episodes occur about 50 percent of the time. Current conditions reflect a redevelopment of the June 2010 to May 2011 La Niña episode.

Only a week ago weather officials were talking about a neutral situation in the Pacific, although they said there was a probability that la Niña would return.

In Costa Rica the Instituto Meteorológico Nacional said that a growing La Niña means more rain on the Pacific coast and in the Central Valley, which would be similar to last year which
in places set records for rainfall. The weather institute said that the maximum intensity of La Niña would likely be between December and February and would extend to March 2012.

The country is likely to feel the effects during the second half of September.

On the Caribbean coast the drought there is likely to continue through October with a chance of improvement in November.

The weather institute expects normal rainfall from November until February.

The Caribbean has been struggling under below average rain from March to August with the exception of May where rainfall was a bit above average. That is the same pattern as in 2010 when the dry spell ran from April through November.

The weather institute estimated the Caribbean rainfall under the coming La Niña conditions from 15 to 20 percent less than normal.

The north Pacific was expected to be 35 percent above normal with both the Central Valley and the central Pacific getting about 15 percent more rain. The northern zone and the southern Pacific were expected to be close to normal.

The strong 2010-11 La Niña contributed to record winter snowfall, spring flooding and drought across the United States, as well as other extreme weather events throughout the world, such as heavy rain in Australia and an extremely dry equatorial eastern Africa.

With U.S. air help, Guardacostas intercepts suspected drug boat
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Costa Rican coast guard crewmen intercepted an apparent drug boat off Punta Guiones, near Flamingo, Guanacaste, Tuesday afternoon and captured three suspects after a firefight.

The security ministry said that one of the crewmen on the boat suffered a bullet wound. The U.S. Embassy identified the boat as the “Don Carlos.” A statement said that the vessel had been spotted by a U.S. aircraft when the boat was some 30 miles offshore.
The Servicio Nacional de Guardacostas, the Policia de Control de Drogas and the Servicio de Vigilancia Aérea responded. Officials said that the occupants of the boat began dumping packages into the sea. Some were retrieved. Others are expected to wash ashore on the northern Pacific coast. Local fishermen and others will be hunting for them today, as will the coast guard.
The coast guard boat was expected to arrive at the  Guardacostas station near Flamingo about 11 p.m. So some of the information is tentative, said the ministry. It appears that there were 17 packages, each with 20 to 30 kilos of cocaine.

The crew members of the intercepted boat are believed to be Costa Rican.

The “Don Carlos” is believed to have rendezvoused with a fastboat off the Galapagos Islands. Security officials said they think that the capture suggests a new route for moving cocaine north. In the past, drug boats from Colombia and Ecuador would land in southern Costa Rica and the cargo would be shipped by land north. The boat captured Tuesday may have been trying to avoid Costa Rica altogether and land its shipment to Nicaragua or further north.

Costa Rican patrol boats are not heavily armed, and the exchange of fire probably was from rifles and pistols.

Survey says cell tower radiation is well below established limits
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Those who oppose the construction of new cell telephone towers probably will not be able to claim harmful effects from the radiation.

The Superintendencia de Telecomunicaciones and the Ministerio de Salud just conducted measurements of the 3G and GSM emissions from cell towers in Trejos Montealegre and San Rafael in Escazú, Anselmo Llorente in Tibás, San Luis de Santo Domingo de Heredia, San José Centro, Pozos de Santa Ana and Rohrmoser.

Technicians found cell tower radiation to be from 300 to 1,800 times lower than permissible levels, the Superintendencia
 reported. The health ministry has established those levels.

The Superintendencia quoted the World Health Organization in saying that a television or radio set emits five times the radiation as a cell tower and there have not been ill effects linked to television or radio during the last 50 years.

Many of those who are protesting the cell towers are mainly concerned with the effect their proximity will have of real estate value because the scientific literature says exactly what the most recent measurements found.

Cell towers are in the news because the new, private entries to the telecom market are putting up these structures all over the country.

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San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2011, Vol. 11, No. 182

Medical vacations in Costa Rica

Bus-train crash kills
11 Argentine commuters

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Authorities in Argentina say a train slammed into a bus and was then struck by another train during the morning rush hour, leaving at least 11 people dead and 200 others injured.

Officials say the deadly accident occurred in Buenos Aires Tuesday as thousands of commuters were pouring into the capital's Flores station to head to work. Firefighters and other emergency personnel rescued survivors, some of whom were trapped under the wreckage. The injured were rushed to area hospitals for treatment. 

Investigators are looking into reports the bus driver failed to heed a train crossing signal and breached barriers meant to signal that it is dangerous to cross the tracks. Transportation Secretary Juan Pablo Schiavi says the bus driver was among those killed.

A similar accident happened more than three years ago.

In March 2008, at least 18 people were killed and about 45 others injured when a bus was hit by a train in the eastern town of Dolores.

Ex-New Mexico governor
fails to influence Cubans

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

Former New Mexico governor Bill Richardson says he will leave Cuba Wednesday after failing to secure the release of an American contractor currently serving a 15-year prison sentence on the island for crimes against the Communist state.

Richardson made the comment in Havana Tuesday, after initially saying he would stay in Cuba until he at least had the opportunity to see 62-year-old Alan Gross.  Richardson told reporters his conclusion is that perhaps the island's government has decided it does not want to improve ties with the United States.  Richardson said he was disappointed at how he was treated on a private visit he said was made at Cuba's invitation.

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland says U.S. officials have been in touch with Richardson and very much regret that he has not been allowed to see Gross.  Ms. Nuland also said Richardson's trip was not a wasted effort.  Last week, the State Department said it was aware of the trip and that it supports the former governor's efforts to obtain Gross's release.  Ms. Nuland did note that Richardson was traveling to Cuba as a private citizen.

Richardson arrived on the Caribbean island last Wednesday.  The former governor, who has often served as a diplomatic troubleshooter in Cuba and North Korea, says freeing Gross is the key to improving frosty relations between Washington and Havana.

Richardson visited Cuba a year ago on a similar trip, meeting with the foreign minister, Bruno Rodríguez, to discuss Gross's imprisonment.  At that time, Richardson said he was told the case against Gross was at a very sensitive investigatory and legal point.

Gross's family has sought his release on humanitarian grounds, saying his health has suffered and that his mother and daughter both have cancer.  Last month, Cuba's supreme court rejected an appeal from Gross, who was arrested in December 2009 for bringing communications equipment into the country.

At the time of his arrest, Gross was working for a private firm that contracted with the U.S. Agency for International Development.  He was accused of distributing Internet equipment and satellite phones to Cuban dissident groups.  Gross said he was trying to improve Internet access for the island's small Jewish community and that his actions were not meant to be a threat against Cuba's government.

The United States and Cuba do not have formal diplomatic relations, only interests sections that are technically part of the Swiss embassies in each other's capitals.

Catholic sex abuse victims
seek to hale Vatican to court

By the A.M. Costa Rica wire services

A group representing church sex abuse victims is asking the International Criminal Court to investigate Roman Catholic leaders, including Pope Benedict, for alleged crimes against humanity.

Officials with the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests submitted more than 20,000 pages of material to the Hague court Tuesday. They charge the pope and other top church officials helped cover up incidents of sex abuse and violence against children and protected guilty priests.

The attorneys say the treaty setting up the International Criminal Court lists rape, sexual violence, and torture as crimes against humanity.

The Vatican's U.S. lawyer said that the lawsuit is a ludicrous publicity stunt and the chances of the court prosecuting church leaders are small.

Vatican officials have repeatedly apologized for sex abuse by priests and reaffirmed church policy forbidding such behavior. Some local churches have paid victims millions of dollars in settlements.

A group representing victims of sexual abuse by priests says it is suing Pope Benedict and other top Vatican officials through the International Criminal Court [ICC] in The Hague for crimes against humanity.

Victims from countries around the world, including the United States, Germany, Belgium, Ireland and the Netherlands, have come forward with reports of abuse by priests. Many victims accompanied the human rights lawyers to The Hague to urge prosecutors to investigate.

Reports of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy began surfacing about nine years ago in the United States and later in Europe. Victims say the church paid little attention to decades of priests' sexual and physical abuse of children, and tried to protect the guilty.

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San José, Costa Rica, Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2011, Vol. 11, No. 182

Costa Rica Reprot promo

Latin America news
mug shots
And this is just the first batch, A to G.

Finally, Fuerza Pública puts
wanted mug shots on Internet

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Is your neighbor an armed robber? How about your brother-in-law?

Now you can find out. Maybe.

The Fuerza Pública has put up the photos of the top 50 wanted individuals in Costa Rica. The mug shots are displayed on a series of Web pages of the police agency. The names and photos come from the Judicial Investigating Organization, said the Fuerza Pública.

Of those who made the top 50, some 23 are sought for robbery, six for drug crimes and four for murder.

The police agency also has an emergency number for citizens to report the whereabouts of those on the list:  800 SE BUSCA or 800 732-8722. The police agency said its officers would like to know where the fugitive can be found and if he or she is alone or with others.

Costa Rican police and the Poder Judicial are very sensitive about releasing photos of suspects. Frequently a judge will prohibit news photographers from taking photos of suspects until a verdict has been rendered.  When the Poder Judicial releases a photo of a wanted suspect, it quickly prohibits the use when the individual is captured.

In contrast, some Florida counties routinely post the photos and information about those who have been jailed so the public knows who is a suspect.

The system the Fuerza Pública is using is designed to provide additional information about the individuals when a visitor clicks on a photo. However, that system is not being used, and Internet visitors know no more than the name of the suspect instead of age, last address, criminal allegation and other information.

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