Local, International Law Enforcement Cooperation Builds Perpetrator Accountability in Southeast Asia

An IJM investigation in conjunction with local police has prompted the arrest of an American for his abuse of a minor in the Philippines. The 43-year-old man, a convicted sex offender in the U.S., is accused of sexually abusing a Filipina adolescent over a three-year period, beginning when the victim was 14.

IJM investigative staff in the Philippines received a tip that an American expatriate had habitually sexually abused a young teen for over three years and had gone so far as to illegally “marry” the victim when she was 15 in an attempt to legitimate his abuse. After preparing an initial investigation report, IJM worked closely with Philippine and U.S. authorities to locate the perpetrator under the auspices of the PROTECT Act, the U.S. law that makes sexual offenses committed against minors abroad by American citizens punishable in U.S. courts. Presented with documentation of the suspect’s sexual abuse of a minor, the Philippines Bureau of Immigration issued an order for his arrest in June.

However, the suspect was tipped off that police were looking for him and subsequently fled to an island several hours away. Despite his attempts at evasion, IJM investigators were able to track him down and resume surveillance. With confirmation that he was still at large, the Bureau of Immigration worked in collaboration with local police to arrest him.

After his arrest, the suspect and investigators traveled nearly five hours to return to the immigration office police station, where he was booked into immigration custody pending deportation.

In September, the suspect was deported to the U.S., where he was arrested upon arrival and charged under the PROTECT Act.

“These cases are critically important to demonstrate to pedophiles that there are no ‘safe harbors’ left in the world for the sexual exploitation of children,” explains IJM Southeast Asia Director Kaign Christy.

The victim has been placed in a safe aftercare home, where she is doing well. She is taking tutorial classes to prepare for her upcoming educational exams and will enroll in computer training courses.