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A Report on the Sexual abuse of Children in Puerto Galera

September 7, 2003 · 

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Oriental Mindoro, Philippines

On January 13, Mrs. Florentina Garcia a grade school teacher noticed irregular behaviour from one of her students and requested that the child be interviewed by the school principal, Emelie de los Reyes. During the interview, the girl disclosed that she and a friend had been sleeping with Paul Jeffrey Anderson who is known to them as “PJ” and described their experiences in detail, the sexual acts of oral sex, penetration and fingering.

The following day, January 14, the principal reported to the Municipal Social Welfare Office what she discovered. Suspects Rainer Fahrenhorst, 61, German, with address at Marenbadard, Berlin, Germany and Paul Jeffery Anderson, 55, American with address at Enola, Pennsylvania, USA, both of whom are temporarily residing at Barangay San Isidro, Puerto Galera, were arrested the following day by local police accompanied by social workers. During the arrest, police rescued three children and recovered video camera and personal computer containing pornographic files, videos with the accused and the children in it, and different kinds of vibrators. The victims were aged 8 to eleven years old.

Due to inaction of the local police in filing the case in court, the municipal social welfare office referred the case to the National Bureau of Investigation- Calapan District Office. One of the children submitted her affidavit on January 16, and the other on January 19. Mrs. Emelie de los Reyes also submitted an affidavit on January 22.

Parents of the children are accomplices to their abuse in her affidavit, the 11-year old girl revealed that she was adopted by Paul “PJ” Anderson in exchange for the renovation of her parent’s house, money and a pig for her brother Jayson. She also disclosed that it was Monica the daughter of Anderson who invited her to sleep in their house. She was abused almost daily by Anderson for more than a year. She had told her mother that she does not want to sleep in Anderson’s house but her mother threatened to beat her if she does not sleep with Anderson who gives her money after every incident of abuse.

The eight-year old said she was abused three times each by Paul Jeffery Anderson, Rainer Farenhorst, and one who is known to her only by the name of John. The acts of abuse were recorded on video. She received P150 from Farenhorst for every incident of abuse, and another P100 each from Anderson and John.

A separate incident of abuse was discovered January 27 when a Grade 2 pupil revealed to social workers that Reinhard Havecost had been sexually abusing her and other scholars who he was supporting in school. Havecost fled after learning that a complaint has been levelled against him. A hold departure order has been issued against him.

On February 4, Mario Minor chief of the regional NBI submitted to the provincial prosecutor the results of their investigation of Paul Jeffery anderson, Ranier Farenhorst and John. Joanne Laarni Maniebo, municipal social worker was the official complainant on behalf of the eight year old.

Non-cooperation by the police

On February 5, NBI Regional Chief Mario Minor wrote to PNP Provincial Dirrector Voltaire Calzado and requested the turn over of vital evidences from the PNP to the NBI. The chief of police refused to turn over the evidence to the NBI and said that he is willing to submit it to the prosecutor (reported by Judge Lilia Lopez during a meeting with local officials in Puerto Galera, February 12).

From February 12 to 13, a team composed of PREDA social worker Mary David and representatives from Council for the Welfare of Children, Ecpat, Center for Prevention and Treatment of Sexually Abused Children (CPTSC) and Judge Lilia Lopez went to Puerto Galera and met with the mayor and local officials to give assistance and to offer their services. In this meeting, the mayor pledged to rescue the rest of the victims. Each sector’s representatives also expressed dismay and concern on how the case was mishandled and why local officials seem to be more concerned in protecting the island’s tourism industry. The DSWD also revealed that there are more children victimized by the foreign abusers but they refuse to be interviewed because of the connivance of their parents with the abusers.

On February 24, PREDA wrote to DSWD Director Thelsa Biolena and requested to visit the three children rescued that are now housed at the Bahay Tuluyan Center in Cavite to confirm the details of the crime against them by Paul Jeffery Anderson that will meet the rule of evidence in a US court of law. The request was granted on March 3. PREDA Social Worker Mary David went to Cavite on March 10 with three children from PREDA and interviewed the three children rescued in the presence of a female NBI officer and an investigator from the US Embassy. During the interview, the children described their experiences in detail. It was also learned that many other children, at least 25, are victims of the foreign sex tourist.

PREDA offers to take protective custody of the victims On March 5, PREDA wrote to DSWD Asst. Regional Director Wilma Naviamos and offered to take the children into protective custody for treatment and protection. In the letter, Fr. Shay said that “the objection or non-cooperation of the parents is reason all the more to take custody of the children as the parents are sometimes receiving money for allowing their children to go with foreign pedophiles.” The best interest of the child must prevail lest the abuse continue.

On March 15, PREDA informed DSWD Director Thelsa Biolena of the result of the interview conducted last March 10, including the names of children allegedly abused by the sex tourist. It also appealed to the DSWD to send more experienced social workers to Puerto Galera to contact the other victims and take them into care and custody of the DSWD. PREDA also offered its services, including therapy, protective custody and legal assistance with the permission and endorsement of the DSWD and said that it is willing to go back to Cavite to conduct further interview with the children.

Sloppy prosecution

On the same day, PREDA also wrote to DOJ Undersecretary Gutierrez and requested explanation why bail was not opposed by Prosecutor Dorina Joya and why evidence of the two minors under 12 was not used by the prosecutor.

From March 16 to 23, PREDA social worker Mary David made daily phone calls to the office of Director Biolena but was told repeatedly that the director is out of the office.

On March 18, a news article in the Philippine Daily Inquirer said that Rainier Fahrenhorst has committed suicide in the evening of March 15 in his rented house in Barangay San Isidro, Puerto Galera by taking an overdose of his medicine Rophynol 1. He told his caretaker that he was ending his life and that his body be burned. He had previously paid bail amounting to P200,000. According to RTC Branch 40 Judge Tomas Leynes, bail was granted despite of the charge being rape since there was no sexual intercourse. The prosecutor also recommended bail after Fahrenhorst’s lawyer filed a motion to fix bail.

Last March 27, the Philippine Daily Inquirer reported that at least ten girls have filed charges against Reinhard Havikost before the Office of the City Prosecutor in Calapan. He remains at large.

Offer to help refused

It was only in the afternoon of March 23 after it has been reported to Undersecretary Lourdes Balanon that PREDA has yet to receive a response from the DSWD Field Office that PREDA received a letter from the DSWD Regional Office signed by Arnel B. Garcia, OIC and Director III.

In said letter, Mr. Garcia said that Mrs. Annie Mendoza, Social Welfare Officer IV went to Puerto Galera March 22 and will stay until March 24 “to provide technical assistance to the local social welfare office, to personally investigate the cases of the suspected paedophile victims, follow up the status of the cases filed in court and to help rescue the other identified victims.” She will also participate in the advocacy campaign in Puerto Galera in celebration of the Protection and Gender-Fair Treatment of the Girl Child Week initiated by the Sub-Task Force on the Girl Child.

As regards the minors in Bahay Tuluyan in Cavite, Mr. Garcia said that they “strongly refused being interviewed telling that they do not want anymore to recall their sad experience in the hands of the perpetrators.” This contradicts the report of the social worker in charge of the children, mentioned by Mr. Garcia in his letter, who said that “they are showing positive progress.”

As for PREDA’s offer to take the children into protective custody, it merely said, “We appreciate your offer for assistance.”

On April 5, PREDA reiterated its offer to extend its services to the children by writing to Undersecretary Balanon. It also informed the undersecretary that PREDA and the NGO community are closely monitoring the cases of the suspected paedophiles in Puerto Galera.

As of April 14 three months after the abuse was discovered, only three children have been rescued. Only two were helped to give a statement that would be used in court.

PREDA demands fearless, decisive action to rescue the children

PREDA calls for a deeper investigation of the paedophile syndicate in Puerto Galera, 05 April 2004

PREDA’s offer to extend services to the children refused

Bail granted to suspect Rainer Fahrenhorst

PREDA reports to DSWD that more children were abused in Puerto Galera and requested immediate action to rescue them

PREDA’s letter to DSWD Asst. Regional Dir. Wilma D. Naviamos offering to take protective custody of the rest of the abused children still in Puerto Galera

PREDA requests to interview the three children in Bahay Tuluyan, Cavite

PREDA Letter to Undersecretary Lourdes Balanon – 19 February 2004

PREDA offers assistance to Puerto Galera’s Municipal Social Welfare Office

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