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11 April 2005 – LAWFUEL – The Law News Network – Marcos Daniel Jimén…

11 April 2005 – LAWFUEL – The Law News Network – Marcos Daniel Jiménez, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida; and Michael S. Clemens, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), announced today that defendant, George Clarke, was sentenced by United States District Court Judge Cecilia M. Altonaga, in Miami, Florida, to a term of imprisonment of sixty (60) months, following Clarke’s conviction at trial. During January, 2005, Clarke was found guilty by a federal jury in Miami of attempting to travel in foreign commerce to engage in sexual relations with minors.

The prosecution of Clarke stemmed from Operation Turn Around, an undercover operation led by the FBI, with the assistance of the Fort Lauderdale Police Department and cooperation of the United States Embassy in Costa Rica and Costa Rican law enforcement authorities, in order to address the problem of United States citizens traveling to Central American countries to engage in sex with minor children. The operation involved the FBI’s creation of an undercover travel agency that offered travel packages to Costa Rica that purportedly included the sexual services of minors. Ten (10) prosecutions charging a total of eleven (11) defendants resulted from the operation. The eleven (11) defendants attempted to travel to Costa Rica to engage in commercial sex acts with children. All eleven (11) defendants were convicted, four (4) at trial and seven (7) by plea. The eleven (11) defendants included a police officer, a middle school teacher, a carnival worker, and a real estate agent. Below is a summary of the ten (10) prosecutions.

United States v. John Bollea

John Bollea, a 70 year old male from Lighthouse Point, Florida, was arrested in Miami on December 20, 2003, after he boarded a flight en route to Costa Rica. Prior to his arrest, Bollea communicated with the undercover travel agency, making arrangements to engage in sexual activity with a minor child upon his arrival in Costa Rica. Prior to his departure, Bollea paid for the sexual services of the minor child. On April 2, 2004, Bollea pleaded guilty to one (1) count of attempting to travel in foreign commerce to engage in sexual relations with a minor, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 2423(e). The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Melanie Allen.

United States v. Mark Dudley

Mark Dudley, a 49 year old male, worked as a food vendor at local carnivals prior to his arrest on January 19, 2004. Dudley, a native of Daytona Beach, Florida, engaged in several conversations with the undercover travel agency before paying for the sexual services of a minor. The minor female was to be delivered to Dudley upon his arrival in Costa Rica on January 19th. Dudley was arrested in Miami, when he attempted to board a flight en route to San Jose, Costa Rica. Dudley entered a guilty plea on April 26, 2004, to one (1) count of attempting to travel in foreign commerce to engage in sexual relations with a minor, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 2423(e). The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Kurt Erskine.

United States v. Thomas and Christine Taylor

Thomas Taylor, a 52 year old male, was employed as a realtor in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, at the time of his arrest. Thomas’ wife, Christine Taylor, a 42 year old female, was a housewife in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, at the time of her arrest. The Taylors were arrested on January 16, 2004, when they boarded a Carnival Cruise ship en route to San Jose, Costa Rica. In the weeks prior to their arrest, Tom Taylor had numerous conversations with an undercover officer in which he made arrangements and paid to have two (2) sixteen (16) year old girls delivered to a hotel room in Costa Rica to engage in sexual relations with his wife, Christine. On April 22, 2004, Tom and Christine Taylor pleaded guilty to conspiracy to travel in foreign commerce with the intent to engage in sexual acts with minors, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 2423(e). The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Kurt Erskine.

United States v. Glenn Koenemann

Glenn Koenemann, a 56 year old male, was arrested on January 20, 2004. At the time of his arrest, Koenemann was working as an arborist in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Koenemann sent a letter to the undercover travel agency requesting information about young sexual companions in Costa Rica. In subsequent conversations, Koenemann requested the sexual services of a fourteen (14) year old female and agreed to pay $425 for the same. He also requested the sexual services of a sixteen (16) year old female for a portion of his trip to Costa Rica, stating that he needed an older girl to accompany him to the beach area without drawing unwanted attention. Koenemann was arrested when he boarded a flight en route to San Jose, Costa Rica. On April 23, 2004, the defendant entered a guilty plea to one (1) count of attempting to travel in foreign commerce to engage in sexual relations with a minor, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 2423(e), and one (1) count of attempting to engage in a commercial sex act with a minor, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1594(a). The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Kurt Erskine.

United States v. Gerald Alter

Gerald Alter, a 68 year old male from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, was employed as a furniture salesperson in Sunrise, Florida, at the time of his arrest. Alter was arrested after communicating with the undercover travel agency via telephone and email in order to arrange for the sexual services of a fourteen (14) year old female. Prior to his arrest on April 19, 2004, Alter paid an undercover agent to have a fourteen (14) year old child delivered to his hotel room in San Jose, Costa Rica to engage in prostitution. Alter later pleaded guilty to one (1) count of knowingly receiving child pornography, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 2252(a). The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Kurt Erskine.

United States v. James Marquez

James Marquez, a 47 year old male, was employed at the International Game Fishing Hall of Fame in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, at the time of his arrest. Marquez was arrested on June 17, 2004, after he paid an undercover agent to have a fourteen (14) year old girl delivered to a hotel room. Marquez made arrangements to have the girl engage in sexual acts upon delivery to the hotel. Marquez paid $1,080 for the trip to Costa Rica, including the sexual services of the child. At the time of his arrest, Marquez was carrying costume jewelry for the girl, condoms, and disposable cameras. On October 6, 2004, Marquez entered a guilty plea to one (1) count of attempting to induce a minor child to engage in prostitution, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 2422(b). The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Matthew Axelrod.

United States v. Derek Roberts

Derek Roberts, a 30 year old male, was employed as a police officer at the Hollywood Police Department at the time of his arrest on June 10, 2004. Roberts was arrested in a hotel room in Miami, Florida, after he made final payment to an undercover agent for the sexual services of two (2) sixteen (16) year old girls. Roberts initially made plans to travel to Costa Rica and have the girls delivered to a hotel room in San Jose; however, he later changed his mind about traveling to a foreign country and requested that the undercover agent transport the girls from Costa Rica to Miami. At the time of his arrest, Roberts was carrying condoms, sexual stimulants, sexual lubricant, and jewelry for the two (2) minor girls. After a jury trial, Roberts was found guilty of attempting to engage in a commercial sex act with a minor child, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1594(a). The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Edward Stamm and Stefanie Moon.

United States v. Wallace David Strevell

Wallace David Strevell, a 33 year old male from Exton, Pennsylvania, was employed as a bartender at the time of his arrest on July 11, 2004. Strevell was arrested after he made arrangements with the undercover travel agent to have two (2) fourteen (14) year old girls delivered to his hotel room in Costa Rica. Strevell paid the undercover agent $955 for a trip to Costa Rica that included the sexual services of two (2) fourteen (14) year old females. At the time of his arrest, Strevell was carrying condoms and a battery-operated sexual stimulator in his carry-on bag. After a jury trial, Strevell was convicted of violations of attempting to travel in foreign commerce to engage in sexual relations with a minor, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 2423(e), attempting to engage in a commercial sex act with a minor, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1594(a), and attempting to induce a minor child to engage in prostitution, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 2422(b). The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Matthew Axelrod and Matthew Menchel.

United States v. Vincent Springer

Vincent Springer, a 42 year old male from Vero Beach, Florida, was employed as a mechanic at the time of his arrest on July 16, 2004. In the weeks leading to his arrest, Springer paid $931 to the undercover travel agency for a trip to Costa Rica that included sexual activity with two (2) girls, ages fourteen (14) and fifteen (15). When interviewed by agents at the time of his arrest, Springer admitted that he intended to try to negotiate for additional girls after his arrival in San Jose, Costa Rica. A search of Springer’s carry-on luggage revealed the following items: condoms, sexual lubricants, gifts for the girls (lip gloss, jewelry, lotion, etc.) and bubble bath. After a jury trial, Springer was found guilty of attempting to travel in foreign commerce to engage in sexual relations with a minor, in violation of Title18, United States Code, Section 2423(e), attempting to engage in a commercial sex act with a minor, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1594(a), and attempting to induce a minor child to engage in prostitution, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 2422(b). The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Marc Osborne and Matthew Menchel.

United States v. George C. Clarke

George C. Clarke, a 43 year old male from Westfield, N.J., was employed as a middle school math and science teacher at the time of his arrest. Clarke was arrested at Miami International Airport in August, 2004, when he attempted to board a plane bound for Costa Rica. Clarke’s arrest was the result of his ongoing conversations with the undercover travel agency that culminated in his payment of $1,610 for a trip to Costa Rica that would include the sexual services of two (2) twelve (12) year old girls. Clarke repeatedly requested the sexual services of the young girls, and at times specified the sexual acts he would be asking them to perform. At the time of his arrest, Clarke was carrying condoms in his luggage. In January, 2005, Clarke was found guilty by a federal jury in Miami of attempting to travel in foreign commerce to engage in sexual relations with a minor, in violation of Title18, United States Code, Section 2423(e), attempting to engage in a commercial sex act with a minor, in violation of Title18, United States Code, Section 1594(a), and attempting to induce a minor child to engage in prostitution, in violation of Title18, United States Code, Section 2422(b). The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Matthew Axelrod and Trial Attorney Dana Gershengorn, who is with the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section the Department of Justice.

Mr. Jiménez commended the investigative efforts of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls . Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on .

British MP George Galloway and his opponent the Daily Telegraph will leave no stone unturned to sort out what could be a spectacular libel case.