ASIA AND THE PACIFIC

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Jacquie Burgess (jacquie.cafra@wow.net)
Fri, 25 Sep 1998 18:35:14 -0400


Dear All

The following was taken from Voices Rising, Vol.1 No.11 1998. This is the newsletter of a Women's Network in Lating America and the Caribbean

PAEDOPHILE SUPPORT RING DEFEATED LEADERS TO STAND TRIAL ASIAN REPORT
Correspondint
Olongapo City, Philippines

A Paedophile support group headed by a German national Hartmut "Harry" E. Joost, the official 'liaison officer' of the foreign community of Barrio Barretto, Olongapo City, is to be charged with the Obstruction of Justice. This comes after the ring composed of suspected paedophiles failed in its attempt to frame a catholic priest and a highly awarded government prosecutor Dorintino Floresta by filing multiple false charges against them which have since been dismissed.

The former Sin City that once serviced the sexual needs of thousands of US naval servicemen at a time, before its close down in 1992, now caters to a smaller number of overseas sextourists some of whom jet into the Subic Bay Free Port where they can enter without visas. The foreign community here consists of retired US servicemen and a mixed bunch of nationalities, operating bars and clubs and massage parlors, considered fronts for prostitution. Most are Europeans and Australians.

The sex-for-sale industry suffered a series of humilitating defeats when a string of criminal charges they leveled against a Children's Home that cares for sexually exploited children were dismissed by government prosecutors for being unsubstantiated and constituting harassment.

The home, run by the Preda Foundation, Inc. a charitable agency, set up by an Irish Columban Missionary, Father Shay Cullen in 1974 and run by a staff of professional Filipinos has worked with the special prosecutor for child abuse cases pursuing paedophiles and winning several landmark cases against foreigners who were once considered untouchable and immune from prosecution.

Father Cullen, a consultant to the Presidential Committee for the Special Protection of Children has an international reputation for managing a Comprehensive child care center for abused children that gives therapy, counselling, legal and private prosecution services, advocacy, public education and sets up village-based poverty alleviation projects throughout the Philippines. He was also active in helping to establish extra-territorial laws against paedophiles in several countries.

Charged for the Obstruction of Justice is the ring leader, Harry Joost, who has tried to damage the Preda center through a smear campaign and black propaganda. Joost, operator of a sleazy bar with small rooms for overnight trysts settled on Baloy beach six years ago. The beach, lined with bungalows and grass roofed cottages has a dubious reputation as being a haven for sextourists and paedophiles.

Michael Clarke, a British sextour operator who offered sex with children and advertised his erotic fantasy tours as an adult Disneyland was arrested next to the establishment of Harry Joost who was suspected of hosting Clarke's tours. Preda investigators provided compelling evidence that convicted Clarke. He is serving a 17-year sentence inthe Philippine National Prison.

The other members of the conspiracy are Mrs Celesta Rising, the Filipina wife of a US Federal Express official, who is assigned in Indonesia. Attorney Edmundo S. Carian and the mother of the child Corazon Dionido. According to the office of the prosecutor, the charges are being elevated to the Olongapo Regional Trial Court and if convicted, the accused could get a maximum of six years in prison.

Court documents contain evidence that Joost and the others conspired to prevent a child from testifying against convicted Paedophile Victor Keith Fitzgerald, from Darwin, Australia. He was found guilty in 1996 of sexually abusing a 14-year old after he was arrested on board his yacht alone with three small children, a crime in itself under Philippine law.

Prosecutor Dorintino Floresta who filed the complaint, together with Fr. Shay Cullen, against Joost and the other members of the ring, told the Asian Report correspondent: "They plotted to thwart the course of justice, their act of taking the child and keeping her prevented her testimony and caused the case to be provisionally dismissed against Fitzgerald", he said.

The only response of Joost and rest of the accused to the charges was to file a motion with the prosecutor to dismiss the complaint, claiming that they only took the child, with the mother's consent, to have her legally placed under their guardianship. The prosecution aims to prove that that was precisely the ploy they used to prevent the child from testifying against Fitzgerald.

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