U.S. teen allegedly raped in La Fortuna declines to press charges; suspects released

July 16th, 2014 (InsideCostaRica.com) A 19-year-old U.S. woman who was allegedly raped by multiple attackers in La Fortuna de San Carlos over the weekend has refused to cooperate in prosecuting four Nicaraguan suspects who were arrested yesterday.

 

According to sources at the Judicial Investigation Organization (OIJ), the young woman refused to view the men in a lineup and has decline to press charges against the men.

 

As a result, authorities were forced to release the four suspects, all Nicaraguan nationals who were working at a nearby construction site.  The suspects were arrested while at work, after several witnesses placed the men at the time and location of the rape.

 

According to the woman’s statements to police, she was attacked after leaving a bar-restaurant called ‘El Establo.’

 

The girl told police that the men took her to an empty house on the edge of the main road and raped her on the patio.

 

The young woman, a native of the U.S. state of Wisconsin, was in Costa Rica with other students as part of a study tour.

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: A report by Spanish-language news website, CRHoy.com, quotes an OIJ agent who wished to not have his name revealed, who says the suspects admitted to their involvement in the incident.  The official said that the suspects had confessed to their involvement in the incident. “She had apparently gone out with one of them and willingly had sex with him and the other three took advantage. She had been drinking and the [other three] took advantage of the situation,” the official said according to the report by CRHoy.com.  While the report does not make perfectly clear the agent’s source, due to context, we believe the agent is likely quoting the suspects, not a statement from the alleged victim.  Inside Costa Rica has been unable to independently confirm the statement or identity of the OIJ agent quoted in the report.  

 

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    • http://alligatorsnroadkill.blogspot.com/ John Dungan

      Undoubtedly someone explained the so-called justice system in Costa Rica to her, and she realized she could not afford to seek “justice.” Meanwhile, one has to wonder how/why she could have been alone in or near any bar in a foreign country, especially if she is a student.

      • Allan Rojas

        why wouldn’t she be able to afford the process? it is free to press charges against someone in Costa Rica, even if you fail to prove the crime… which in this case, I’m sure she would have been successful.

        • http://alligatorsnroadkill.blogspot.com/ John Dungan

          I am guessing that you have not been in CR very long, if you are there at all. She is reportedly a student, only visiting. Do you have any idea how long it takes for the so-called legal system in Costa Rica to even bring the accused to trial? How many students do you know who can afford to either stay in a foreign country for months and years? Or, to return when needed? As for proving any crime, I cannot tell you how many times we have all encountered situations where a thief was caught red handed, and still got off!

          • Allan Rojas

            I’ve only been in CR for… ermm… 32 years ;-) believe me, in this particular case, she had the best possible chance to get those fu**ers in jail ASAP…

            • SDPUS

              Allan, what parent in their right minds would leave their child in this country to do that. John Dungan is absolutely correct. So you expect her to get a place and hang out for a year by herself while OIJ “collects” evidence and they are in preventive detention? Most likely at the end of the process, the foreigner would be very disappointed and now out a ton of money. Not to mention she would be by herself here…which would mean that the chances of her disapearing forever would be greatly heightened. If you remember the Natalee Holloway case in Aruba, her Mom was in Aruba the next day…and the Arubian authorities played games with her for well over a year trying to get justice for her daughter! As someone else has mentioned, maybe Costa Rica should let victims fight this from their home countries, and appear in court via skype. Every criminal in this country knows the foreign victims will go home, and that is why they are so consistently targeted. If CR wants to clean up their Judicial System, then they need to implement ways to protect the tourists who visit. Otherwise tourism and foreign investment will plunder. Your President is a former educator, he knows this quite well! Let’s hope he iniates changes to protect this vital industry of visitors, especially the ones associated with universities from abroad.

    • http://insidecostarica.com/ Timothy Williams

      This is common for many foreign tourists who are the victims of crime in Costa Rica. After being victimized, they just want to get back home to their country as quickly as possible, rather than stick around weeks or months longer, away from their family and loved ones, to participate in the judicial process.

      • SDPUS

        Tim, you are very right. Ticos know this as well, and it is one reason why crime is so rampant here. The victims will leave and the criminals will stay free. An honest government would do something about that trend, instead this government is an enabler of that policy.

        • http://insidecostarica.com/ Timothy Williams

          Perhaps they could allow victims to testify in court via Skype video conference from back in the US? (seriously). As you rightfully point out, criminals know they cannot be prosecuted if the victim is no longer in the country, which makes tourists an attractive target.

          • SDPUS

            I think that may be a very viable option (skype), and it would definitely help the image of this country. Because right now, these events are really doing a tremendous amount of damage to CR’s reputation.

    • JPG

      I work for a study abroad program and the process is def not like the states. They put these guys in exact same office where they can see you. Not to mention when you are walking out of oij you have all the family of the accused walking directly beside you.

    • roberto

      Reported on another English news site; ““She apparently had been going out with one of them and willingly had
      sex with one while the other three took advantage of her, she had been
      drinking…” said the OIJ official.

      • SDPUS

        What news reported this? The OIJ public relations person?

        • roberto

          El oficial, aseguró que los sujetos habían confesado sobre su
          participación en los hechos. “Ella al parecer salió con uno de ellos y
          por voluntad propia tuvo relaciones con él y los otros tres se
          aprovecharon. Ella había ingerido algo de alcohol y los otros
          aprovecharon”, dijo.

          http://www.crhoy.com/extranjera-supuesta-victima-de-violacion-desiste-de-acusar-a-sospechosos/

          • SDPUS

            What was the source of this info?

            • http://insidecostarica.com/ Timothy Williams

              A La Fortuna OIJ agent who did not want his name revealed, according to the CRHoy story quoted above.

            • SDPUS

              Thanks Tim, apparently I am too blind to see the link to CRHoy that Roberto kindly pasted.

            • SDPUS

              Tim I really did not see his link till you reposted. I really appreciate what you are doing with “Inside Costa Rica”. Your input is always appreciated!!!

            • http://insidecostarica.com/ Timothy Williams

              My pleasure, we appreciate having you as a reader.

            • http://insidecostarica.com/ Timothy Williams

              BTW, if you read the OIJ official’s statement in context the context it was written by CRHoy, it sounds as though he based this version on an “admission” by the suspects involved, not the alleged victim (the first sentence below is crucial).

              “El oficial, aseguró que los sujetos habían confesado sobre su participación en los hechos. “Ella al parecer salió con uno de ellos y por voluntad propia tuvo relaciones con él y los otros tres se aprovecharon. Ella había ingerido algo de alcohol y los otros aprovecharon”, dijo.”

            • http://insidecostarica.com/ Timothy Williams

              Translation if you need it:

              The official said that the suspects had confessed to their involvement in the incident. “She was apparently going out with one of them and willingly had sex with him and the other three took advantage. She had been drinking and the [other three] took advantage of the situation,” the official said.

      • duke ster

        Well the OIJ is a very good investigative unit and they got right to the truth of this situation just like they did when investigating the guards at the presidential home-the one who shot his partner. They investigated and found that the shot was fired from within the vehicle. I have reported on OIJ before because I found them to be a very serious and competent organization. I don’t know for sure but I would like to believe they get rid of dishonest agents and really try to police Costa Rica. One time I was downtown San Jose waiting in line at theMcDonalds near the post office when I noticed a young guy who had bills hanging out of his read pocket and I alerted him to this so he wouldn’t get pick pocketed. Then-too late -I realized he must have been undercover OIJ or police because I noted that he had dyed blonde hair ( to make himself resemble an American on vacation) and was acting as
        “bait” to catch dishonest Tico thieves. If I had noticed this before I alerted him I would have kept quiet so they could do their job. But I was impressed that the police were trying to do something good. I realize I “Tico bash” a lot but I also am really happy when I discover the good Ticos who try to live a good life here and who want to live clean and nice just like a good American does. They are here –and there are a lot of good Ticos, the problem is that they don’t get the chance to shine that often because of the corruption which seems to seep into everyday life no matter what. They really don’t stand a fighting chance to live a nice life here. They are trapped in this tooclose mess.But again- I am sooo happy whenever I see a good Tico because I feel sorry for the good ones who are trapped here.They hate the thieves and lying schemes as much or more than we do and they have to bring their children up while living on top of each other in this clusterf-ck mess.

        • roberto

          Do you have any information or have you heard any reports from the OIJ about the murder of Kurt Heigis near San Carlos?

          • http://insidecostarica.com/ Timothy Williams

            While it seems your comment was directed to ‘duke ster’ – As the editor here, I’ll tell you this: we have been in ongoing contact with Kurt’s daughter, almost weekly, since his murder. The investigation has reached a stand-still, but we expect to have an update with a statement from Kurt’s daughter later this week. Stay tuned.

            • Joanna

              Thank you Tim for all your support. You have/are very appreciated. Blessings.. That is a real shame about this young girl.. She seems very frightened to come forward.

          • duke ster

            The editor just answered and he knows a lot more than I do. So please fill us in Timothy. I have been out of touch for almost 1 year and don’t even know anything about Kurt Heigis or what has happened. Believe me, I will stay tuned and also I will get in touch with a contact who might be able to fill me in with at least what has originally happened unless you want to take the time to fill me in. As I left CR the last time- it was when we were almost at war with Syria ( Russia) and I have a contact who has connections “very inside”. He told me that there was a General who was in charge of the NUKES who refused to go along with Barry ( Obama) and that is what happened to stop the world from going to war at that last ,very critical second. After he told me that, in fact just days after, The Syria ( and thereby the war with Russia) conflict cooled off and war was averted. It unfolded within a few more months that there were supposedly 4 top Generals who were THE Nuclear generals- all refused to go along with Barry. Soon after all the Generals were fired ( or falsely accused=set up with phony scenarios) and replaced with compliant puppet Generals who most probably will do what is required of them since Barry himself appointed them. Remember the General who supposedly was caught with doctored casino chips and the other who was set up as being unfaithful with his wife or something similar-this is how “they ” get rid of those who don’t go along with their program.. Believe me, we werethatclose to Armageddon. So we got a reprieve for the time being. But I would like to know about this murder if anyone has the time to tell me. Thanks

    • Michael Clarkson

      Tourists should be aware that when they come here basically they are targets for crime and almost none legal rights, the criminals have more rights then the victims in this country, if you get raped or kill the CR government or the US embassy will do little to help you any help you will get is from family and friends. My guess is this girl was too embarrassed to go thru the hoops and justice here is messy.

    • duke ster

      She was dating one of them and the situation got out of hand. Hmmmm–maybe it went like this…” Juan I asked you to wait until Pedro and Pepe had their 2nd go around before you had your chance to get up to bat, but you just couldn’t wait, and that goes for you too Jorge.” Sounds like she liked it.

    • duke ster

      Or maybe she initially wanted to press charges on # 3, or was it #4, whoever got anxious and out of line, yeah that’s it–she was angry because one of them jumped the line. But today, after sobering up, she is a little sore but no longer angry. In an update, she has decided to date all 4 of them.

    • NorthendFool

      In CR with a school group? Where was the chaperons? What is a 17 year old doing at a bar at 12 midnight? Doesnt mean she deserves to be raped but she broke all the rules. She should have been in bed with the other student. Why was she all alone without student friends in the bar? Inquiring minds want to know.

    • Ken Morris

      It doesn’t look like we’ll ever know what happened. She could have been raped, but prefers to put the incident behind her rather than deal with the protracted legal process in a foreign country. Or, she might not have been raped, but rather just got drunk and stupid, and upon sobering up admits that. Or, it might have been something in between. Without a trial, we won’t know. However, I wonder if we need to know. It’s not really our business, after all.

      • roberto

        It it is not our business, then don’t report it as news.

        • http://insidecostarica.com/ Timothy Williams

          I’m a bit confused. The commenter above has nothing to do with reporting this story, anymore than yourself. –Tim Williams, Editor, Inside Costa Rica.

          • roberto

            Exactly. If he doesn’t want to know, then don’t read the news. If her criminal complaint was determined to be erroneous and fabricated, could she be prosecuted for filing a ‘false police report’?

            • http://insidecostarica.com/ Timothy Williams

              Absolutely she could face charges if that were to be found the case, There are actually three “degrees” in this country of false reporting of crime.

            • roberto

              The businesses in and around La Fortuna are very, very concerned and nervous about the repercussions from this reported crime. They want to know the truth. Do they need to know? Is it their business to know the truth? IMO, hell yes!

      • expatin paradise

        Ken – do you really think that a trial would have brought out the truth? How often does that happen? A trial would have probably been a waste of time and a frustrating ordeal for the alleged victim. She’s probably wise to walk away from it.

        • SDPUS

          I agree with you here expatin. Not to mention it would be very costly for her to stay here and potentially even more dangerous.

        • Ken Morris

          You must have been in a cynical mood yesterday.

          For sure, I have my doubts about a trial bringing out the truth, but it’s the best shot we have. Right now it’s “trial by tabloid journalism.” I’d prefer a courtroom trial before I make up my mind.

          Right now, while you equivocate by using the word “alleged,” you seem to believe that the woman really was raped and is best off to walk away rather than deal with a kangaroo court. Maybe you are right, but it’s also possible that she fabricated the charge. Stranger things have happened.

          I will insist that at this point (and probably forever) we simply don’t know. Maybe a trial wouldn’t tell us anything either, but there’s a better chance of it getting to the truth than a dropped allegation and a lot of online speculation with zero facts.

          • expatin paradise

            I agree that we don’t know what happened and that there is no point in speculating. A trial would have brought out more information and possibly more confusion.

            If the article in AM Costa Rica yesterday was about your book, congratulations on the good review.

            • Ken Morris

              Thanks, pal. Yeah, the AM Costa Rica article was about my book, and while a couple of points were misleading, this goes with the territory (roughly the results I expect from trials). On the balance though the blurb was fair. My publisher is opening with a sticker price of $100, so I’m urging people not to hoard copies lest there not be enough for everyone . . .