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American ship captain in sex trysts with Filipino children arrested

October 16, 2009 · 

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News Release, October 16, 2009
First District Cotabato Rep. Emmylou “Lala” Taliño-Mendoza

DUBLIN - Irish bishops and politicians called Wednesday for the release of an elderly priest abducted in the Philippines, saying he needed immediate medical attention.

DUBLIN - Irish bishops and politicians called Wednesday for the release of an elderly priest abducted in the Philippines, saying he needed immediate medical attention.

Cotabato Rep. Emmylou Taliño-Mendoza has lauded the arrest of an American ship captain who allegedly prostituted Filipino children on several occasions during visits to Manila.

Taliño-Mendoza, a crusader against the sexual abuse and exploitation of children and women, credited the close cooperation of U.S. and Philippine authorities for the apprehension of Donald Mathias, 64, the skipper of a passenger cruise liner.

Mathias was arrested Oct. 14 at the Port of Miami by agents of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

Philippine prosecutors earlier sought the help of U.S. authorities in bringing Mathias to justice.

“The initial reports we obtained indicated that the suspect is also an alleged child pornographer. He is also suspected of having produced (pornographic) materials of his victims,” Taliño-Mendoza said.

This could explain why the U.S. Postal Inspection Service was involved in his arrest, according to Taliño-Mendoza. “It is possible that he had used the postal service to traffic in pornographic materials of children,” she pointed out.

She said Mathias may be prosecuted here, or in the U.S.

“There are universal laws penalizing the prostitution of children. We have nothing against the suspect being prosecuted in the U.S., as long as he is put on trial for his awful offenses against our children,” Taliño-Mendoza.

“Since he has already been charged in the U.S., then his victims will likely have to travel to the U.S. to testify against him. In previous cases, victims had gone abroad to testify against foreign pedophiles. In some jurisdictions, they also allow the videotaped testimony of abused children,” she said.

Mathias had been traveling to Manila for more than 10 years. However, Philippine authorities were alerted about his illicit activities only last year, when two of his victims were accosted, along with their mother.

Mathias and the mother, who is now in the custody of Philippine authorities, allegedly exchanged electronic mail wherein the suspect specified the sexual acts he wanted the children to perform once they met up again.

Taliño-Mendoza said Mathias previously made two trips to Philippines in 2007 alone, and made arrangements to have sex with the children by having them brought to a motel here in Manila.

Mathias has been charged before the U.S. District Court in Miami with engaging in illicit sexual conduct in a foreign place and traveling in foreign commerce for the purpose of engaging in unlawful sexual conduct. He is being held without bail pending a detention hearing on Oct. 19.

Once found guilty of the charges, Mathias faces up to 30 years in prison. He also faces a fine of as much as $250,000.

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