OKC Lawyer Accused of Sex Tourism Denies Allegations

Last fall, we brought you the story of an Oklahoma City criminal defense lawyer and an Ada bail bondsman who were accused of taking international trips for sex with minors. The FBI began investigating the men after an informant told the agency that the two had traveled to Peru on multiple occasions--as frequently as four to six times per year--for sex tourism, or travelling for the purpose of engaging in illegal sex acts. Reports say the attorney traveled to Iquitos, Peru, a poverty-stricken area with a reputation for sex tourism, 37 times between February 2003 and September 2013. Both the lawyer and the bail bondsman were in Peru at the same time on 25 of those occasions. Both the attorney and the bail bondsman were detained by Peruvian officials last fall, when the bail bondsman brought two girls, aged 13 and 17, to his hotel room. Investigators found 22 condoms, extra small lingerie, candy, cash, and Viagra in the room. The men say law enforcement agents in Peru cleared them of any wrongdoing. The lawyer denies the allegations of sex tourism and sex with minors. He said that the 13 year old girl in his companion's room was the daughter of the bondsman's ex-fiance, and that he was simply going to take her and a friend to dinner. He says the investigation began after the informant, a "former friend" tried to set him up in order to divert FBI attention from his or her own criminal acts to someone else. Since our earlier blog post describing the initial investigation, the FBI has begun investigating the possibility that the two men have been tampering with witnesses in Peru, paying fishing guides and girls to say that the men have not been involved in child prostitution. The attorney says that money paid to the fishing guide was not a bribe to get him to perjure testimony, but rather payment for securing a copy of the Peruvian police report. The lawyer and another man working on behalf of the lawyer say that they have been completely transparent and cooperative with law enforcement agents in the United States and Peru. Sex tourism is defined by federal law as "travel with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct." According to 18 USC 2423 (c), engaging in illicit sexual conduct in foreign places carries significant penalties in the United States: "Any United States citizen or alien admitted for permanent residence who travels in foreign commerce or resides, either temporarily or permanently, in a foreign country, and engages in any illicit sexual conduct with another person shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 30 years, or both." It is important to note that a person can be charged with a federal crime for traveling to another country for sex with minors even if child prostitution is legal in the country to which he or she travels.    

Comments