Thursday, February 25, 2010

Looking For "Survivor Friendly Shuls" for Purim for Adult Survivors of Sexual Violence

The Awareness Center is looking for shuls in Brooklyn, NY; Baltimore, MD; Chicago, IL; Lakewood, NJ; and Monsey, NY that are "survivor friendly". 

A few survivors contacted us looking for safe places to go for a megillah reading motzi shabbos. 

The survivors have been disconnected after sharing their stories with family members or other community members. If you know of any please let us know ASAP.



You may also be interested in reading:  
      Purim and Survivors Childhood Abuse (emotional, physical and sexual abuse)

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Disclaimer: Inclusion on  this list does not constitute a recommendation or endorsement. Individuals must decide for themselves if the resources meet their own personal needs. The names listed were suggested to us by those who are either survivors, family members of survivors or those who have a special interest in helping survivors heal. 


Baltimore, MD

Netivot Shalom
7602 Labyrinth Rd., Pikesville, MD
Megillah reading Feb. 27 at Weinberg Park (7:30 pm)
Megillah reading Feb. 28 the shul (8:15 AM)
443-630-9520


Ohel Yakov
Rabbi Peretz Dinovitzgo
3200 Glen Ave., Baltimore, MD
410-358-5517
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Teaneck, NY
600 Roemer Ave., Teaneck, NJ 07666
201-907-0180

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Brooklyn, NY
117 Remsen Street, Brooklyn Heights, NY
Megillah Readings on Saturday, Feb. 27
7:30 pm & 10:30 pm

IYYUN Center
450 Union St. (Between Bond & Nevins), Brooklyn, NY
8:30 megillah reading At the IYYUN Center
The Awareness Center has been told IYYUN is known for having the best purim party in town following megillah reading so its worth sticking around.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Purim and the Impossible Dream

Purim and the Impossible Dream

This film is dedicated to all of the "Queen Esther's" living in the world today who are struggling to accomplish goals in their lives that many believed were impossible, especially to the women who are risking their lives to make the world a better place for us all. I especially dedicate this film to the women who are fighting to survive after being sexually victimized and are being shunned, shamed and blamed for the actions committed against them by their perpetrator.

I too have been facing a great number of challenges over the last 18 months. I know that soon the dream that at times felt was impossible will soon become reality.

They say Purim is one of the most joyous and fun holidays on the Jewish calendar since it commemorates a time in which the Jewish people were saved from extermination while living in Persia. What always concerned me in this story is that all of the Jewish people were freed, except for Queen Esther. After risking her life, she was left behind, cut off from her people.

© (2010) Photographs by Vicki Polin 
 Music: The Impossible Dream sung by Sarah Connor

Friday, February 19, 2010

Ultra Orthodox Jews - The high price of religious defection

TEL AVIV -- When she left, she left everything behind -- even her name. She no longer wanted to be known as Sarah, the name her parents had given her. She'd felt imprisoned by that name for too long; it made her feel different and subject to laws that others imposed upon her. So, she started her new life with a new name, Mayan, the Hebrew word for "source."
It's been seven years since Mayan "landed on planet Earth," as she puts it. But the 27-year-old doesn't feel completely at home here yet. She's a young, modern Israeli woman. Still, despite the dragon tattoo on her shoulder and the loose top offering occasional glimpses of her bra, there are always some moments that betray her past. For example, when her friends talk about old TV series, classic pop music or their first schoolyard crushes, Mayan can't join in. Until she was 17 years old, Mayan lived in another world, a world where those things simply didn't exist.
A life completely focused on religion
The "parallel universe" Mayan used to live in has around 550,000 inhabitants. It is the world of the Orthodox Jews in Israel, whose adherents live in tight-knit communities where everything revolves around religion. They radically shield themselves from modern life. Television is frowned upon, as is non-religious music, telephones and the Internet. News that is important to the community is disseminated via notices posted on walls. Boys and girls go to school, but their education is primarily focused on religion.
"Everyone can read and write, but math was over after simple multiplication," Mayan says. "When I left school, I didn't even know what New York was, and I had never even seen a dog because nobody kept any pets."
According to Irit Paneth, it is this lack of education, in particular, that makes it almost impossible for doubters in these communities to break out of the inflexible corset of their belief. Paneth is a member of Hillel - The Right To Choose, an organization that helps those leaving the Orthodox faith start a normal life. "We are not against the religion," Paneth explains. "But Ultra-Orthodoxy is more like a cult that intellectually cripples children in the name of religion." For most young people who break away from the Orthodox life, she explains, it's like leaping off a cliff into the unknown. "They come without money, without education in the classical sense, without any chance of employment," Paneth says.
One of the fastest growing groups in Israel
According to government estimates, ultra-Orthodox Jews make up one of the fastest-growing groups in Israeli society. By 2025, the government forecasts that roughly 22 percent of school-age Israeli children will come from one of the groups with strong religious beliefs.
Over the 19 years it has been operating, only around 2,000 defectors have turned to Hillel. "There are tens of thousands who have doubts and want out," Paneth says. But only a small number are ready and willing to make the sacrifices that defection demands. For example, most families completely break off contact with defectors. "Some even hold wakes," Paneth says, "as if the daughter or son has actually died."
Mayan grew up in Beitar Illit, an Orthodox settlement just south of Jerusalem in the Judean Mountains of the West Bank. There, men wear black suits and wide-brimmed hats. The women -- whose style of clothing is intended solely to denote chastity -- wear high-necked blouses, long skirts and often a head scarf. Likewise, the men don't hold jobs but, instead, devote their lives to studying the Bible. The women feed their families and often raise up to 12 children.
Mayan's childhood finished when she was seven, when her widowed mother remarried. From then on, she had to wear socks and long pants to bed under her nightgown -- even in the summer -- lest the bed cover slip off and expose here bare skin to her stepfather. And since her stepfather was not a blood relation, he was not allowed to touch her. In fact, he barely spoke with her, either.
No preparation for puberty
Puberty was a time of great anxiety for Mayan. As her breasts began to grow, Mayan thought she had cancer. The taboo about anything physical was so great that she snuck off to the doctor rather than having to ask her mother what was happening. Her first period brought renewed panic and shame. Mayan hid her dirty undergarments. And when her mother found them, she was scolded rather than given an explanation. What if her stepfather had found her dirty panties?
Mayan first began to doubt her lifestyle when she switched to a school in central Jerusalem. She saw fashionably dressed young people and noticed that the boys "from the other world" looked at her with interest. At 14, she hatched a plan together with some other curious school friends. They told their mothers that there was a study-group meeting. But then the girls used money they had earned babysitting to take the bus to Luna Park, an amusement park in Tel Aviv. Even today, Mayan beams when she talks about the lights and the music. "I felt like Cinderella," she says, "like I was in a dream."
No more contact with family or friends
Still, the second expedition Mayan organized with her girlfriends ended in disaster. They took a trip to the beach, but their fresh tans gave them away once they arrived home. The result -- for Mayan, at least -- was a three-year odyssey through various ultra-Orthodox reformatories and foster families. Her insubordination had to be driven out of her -- if need be, by lies. "We were contantly told that the secular world was only waiting to turn us into prostitutes or slaves," Mayan explains, "that there was nothing but drug addiction waiting for us out in the modern world."
With help from Hillel, Mayan eventually managed to make the leap out of her religious life. The organization helped her financially so she could go to a boarding school and get her high school diploma. Mayan then completed the obligatory military service that all Israeli women must perform and, today, she is studying special education in college. She no longer has any contact with her family, and she suspects that her sisters have paid a high price for her defection. "When my sisters' marriages are arranged," Mayan says, "they won't get the men they deserve."
"Staying would have meant death"
Every week, 25-year-old Shimy Levy gets to re-pay the price for abandoning his religion. The rabbies in the ultra-Orthodox divorce court granted him two hours a week with his two children. And whenever they are up, Levy realizes once more the price of his freedom. "But leaving was still the right thing to do," Levy says. "Staying would have meant death -- and I couldn't kill myself for the sake of my children."
Levy grew up in the Orthodox faith, and -- like Mayan -- he began to have doubts when he reached puberty. The rules of the religious school he was supposed to spend the rest of his life in were increasingly getting on his nerves. "With the help of the Bible," he says, "they manage to control every small detail of everyday life." Then he begins to count the ways: In the morning, you have to put the right shoe on before the left shoe. Then the shoes had to be laced up the opposite way -- left shoe first, then right. On the Sabbath, you could only eat fish if you managed not to touch any bones. At most, a young man was only allowed to meet his potential bride in an arranged marriage twice -- and then only for an hour during a chaperoned conversation. After that he had to decide whether he would marry her.
Eventually, Levy bought a small radio with earphones. At night, under the covers in the communal sleeping hall of the yeshiva -- the male-only religious institution where he studied -- he would eavesdrop on the outside world. But, like Mayan, he was caught and spent time in reformatories. At 20, he was married -- in another attempt to tame his desire for freedom. For four years, he played the role of the strictly religious husband and father before coming to the decision that he couldn't live like that any longer. He confessed to his wife that he had lost his faith, and he asked for a divorce.
"If God exists, he wouldn't want this"
Then, without any particular regrets, he cut off the long, traditional sidelocks he had worn his whole life. "It was already clear to me that all of these rituals were just empty gestures," he says.
For Levy, the last year has been one long attempt to catch up on what he's missed. At breakneck speed, he has developed his taste in music -- everything from Abba to techno -- and he's gone from a being a television novice to owning an iPhone. His first sneakers, his first movie, his first pork chop. "Every day I tick off another thing that was previously withheld from me," Levy says. He is already concerned about the indoctrination that his children will be exposed to. "Every time I see them," he says, "they tell me that the whole family is praying for my return to the faith."
Irit Paneth of Hillel hears stories like those told by Mayan and Levy with mixed emotions. Of course, she says, she is as proud "as any mother" when her charges find their way in the modern world. "But what about the many others," she asks, "the ones not strong enough to tear themselves away?" They have to adapt to a life of pretending to be pious, she explains, and of following the rules of a religion they don't believe in. "If God exists," Paneth says, "he wouldn't want this."

Seder for Adult Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse

As we all know when you come from an abusive family holidays can become difficult, especially for incest survivors who either can't be with relatives for safety reasons or find it difficult to be around family members.


Several adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse are looking for a place to go this year for Pesach. I wish The Awareness Center had the funds and staff to organize a seder in every community.  We would love to find people who would be interested in doing this.  Anyone up to organizing a seder for survivors on the east coast or anywhere else?  


Back in 1986 my friend Evy Gershon wrote the Survivors Haggadah for Adult Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse.  I thought it might be inspirational to anyone who might want to volunteer and organize something for survivors.  


Thursday, February 18, 2010

Oprah's Conversation with Child Molesters

Part 1 of Oprah's frank, graphic conversation with admitted child molesters. Learn how to identify sex offenders and prevent more children from becoming vitcims of abuse. This video is for adults only.


Oprah's Conversation with Child Molesters, Part 1



Monday, February 15, 2010

Case of Goel Ratzon

Case of Goel Ratzon
(Hatikvah) Tel Aviv, Israel


Arrested and charged with incest, sexual assault, slavery  and domestic violenceRatzon is also accused of cult like practices and mind control.
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Table of Contents:

2010
  1. 'Israel's Fritzl' Arrested on Charges of Incest, Sex Abuse  (01/15/2010)
  2. 'Israeli Fritzl' with harem of up to 30 wives and 60 children arrested on suspicion of incest and sexual abuse (01/15/2010)
  3. In Israel, the Messiah with more than 30 Wives' (01/30/2010)
  4. Goel Ratzon accused of raping minors (02/14/2010)
  5. Israeli ‘harem’ leader Goel Ratzon charged with rape and incest (02/15/2010)
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'Israel's Fritzl' Arrested on Charges of Incest, Sex Abuse
London Times -  January 15, 2010

Residents of Tel Aviv’s quiet Hatikva neighborhood were shocked yesterday to discover a self-styled Jewish sage living in their midst with a harem of 30 women kept as "slaves" in squalid apartments.

Goel Ratzon, 60, is accused of fathering 37 children since 1993 with his "wives" and daughters. Ratzon, who was dubbed by the local media as "Israel’s Josef Fritzl," is under arrest on suspicion of incest and sexual abuse.

"The evidence shows the suspect controlled his women with a firm hand, including their possessions and their money," police said. Ratzon even wrote a list of commandments to ensure that the women were kept in "conditions similar to slavery," police said.

In addition to turning over all their wages, the women were forbidden from making telephone calls or talking to men other than Ratzon. If they broke the rules they would pay a fine or receive physical punishment.

Mickey Rosenfeld, the Israeli police spokesman, said that Ratzon convinced his victims that he had godlike status. "The women didn’t really understand what their situation was, they didn’t understand what freedom was," Rosenfeld said.

In one case, police raided a three-bedroom apartment where 10 women and 17 children were found living in "horrible conditions."

The women wore conservative orthodox dresses covering their entire bodies and bore tattoos of their captor’s face — and name. He was married to 17 women but it was unclear how many others he had relations with, police said. All his offspring had names with a variation on his — Goel, which means redeemer in Hebrew.

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'Israeli Fritzl' with harem of up to 30 wives and 60 children arrested on suspicion of incest and sexual abuse
By Sara Nelson
(UK) Mail online - Jan 15, 2010 

Israeli police have arrested a 60-year-old self-styled Jewish sage with a reported harem of up to 30 wives and 60 children on suspicion of incest and sexual abuse.

Goel Ratzon, who has been dubbed by the local media as ‘Israel’s Josef Fritzl’ is alleged to have kept the women and children as ‘slaves’ in squalid apartments around Tel Aviv.

Ratzon was remanded in custody on Tuesday, a police spokesman said after a gagging order was lifted on Thursday. 

An undercover investigation was started in June last year after one woman came forward to complain of abuse. 

'The evidence shows the suspect controlled his women with a firm hand, including their possessions and their money,' said a police statement, which added that Ratzon had written a 'rule book' for women he kept in 'conditions of slavery'.

'He would dictate what they could and could not do, limit their movements and impose sanctions and various punishments, including the use of violence if they refused to obey.'

Among the more serious allegations, police said Ratzon was suspected of fathering children with some of his own daughters. Police said 17 women and about 40 children were involved.

Several women who identified themselves as Ratzon's wives appeared in an Israeli television documentary aired last year. They were filmed feeding him and combing his hair.

'He is the messiah everyone is talking about,' one said. 'He is already here and he hasn't been revealed yet. The day he decides to reveal himself, the land will shake.'

The women wore the heavy dress of Orthodox Jews and bore tattoos of the bearded, bespectacled Ratzon's face.

He was also interviewed, introducing several of his children, all of whom had names with variations on Goel -  Hebrew for 'redeemer'.

'I'm perfect,' Ratzon said in the documentary. 'I have all the qualities a woman wants.'

Ratzon's lawyer, Shlomtzion Gabai, said about 30 women and 60 children were linked to her client: 'As far as he is concerned, no sexual crimes have been committed,' she told Israel Radio. 'The women consented willingly to relations.'  

The children have been taken into care and some of the women have been let free.

Ratzon is on remand in a Tel Aviv jail, awaiting a court appearance.

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In Israel, the Messiah with more than 30 Wives'
By Matthew Kalman
(UK) Times - Jan. 18, 2010 

Goel Ratzon's Facebook profile shows the bespectacled Israeli with shoulder-length white hair and neatly trimmed beard and says he is currently dating and has 36 friends. His real status is somewhat more complicated. When Israeli police raided the self-styled healer's four homes in Tel Aviv last week they found two legal ex-wives, plus another 30 women as well as 89 children — all reputedly his. Ratzon was arrested on suspicion of enslavement, rape and sexual abuse and remanded in custody by a local magistrate. 

Police described the apartment block in the city's downscale Hatikvah neighborhood as a slum harem. "The living conditions of the women were tragic," Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told TIME. "When I entered one of the houses, I was shocked by what I saw. The filth was horrible, and there was nowhere to walk without stumbling on something. It was a three-bedroom apartment, where 10 women and 17 children were living." 

Ratzon's unusual domestic arrangements first came to light in a documentary broadcast on Israel's Channel 10 in January 2009. It showed Ratzon's "wives" cooking, cleaning and shopping together, eagerly anticipating the arrival of "Daddy" and competing over whom he would choose to spend the night with. On the show, Ratzon explained the secret of his magnetic attraction was that he was "perfect." "I have everything a woman wants, all the qualities a woman wants. I give women the attention they want. It's made of many things, but fortunately, I have everything," he said. Because there was technically no multiple marriage (no ceremonies or documents were involved), authorities had no basis for charging Ratzon with polygamy.


The women, too, appeared to be content, if not happy. They wore modest clothing that neighbors likened to those of religious Muslims, and they had Ratzon's image tattooed on their bodies. The children's names all included a version of Ratzon's own. One wife had Ratzon's portrait tattooed on her upper left arm, his head surrounded by snakes with the legend "Goel Ratzon, my love forever." A similar tattoo on her upper right arm portrayed him with a cobra crowning his head and the legend "My Goel, my love." Her neck was inscribed twice: "To Goel, with love."

"No one has love like we have here. I went through a lot before I arrived here and he is the ultimate for me," she explained on television. One of the other women defended Ratzon's little kingdom, saying, "People think we are in a place where we are imprisoned and forced to become some kind of poor Cinderella. They don't understand that there is humanity, respect. He has something special and good." Said one of her companions: "He's the Messiah that everyone talks about. The day he decides to reveal himself, this country will see it." 

Ratzon had built a reputation for spiritual redemption (which is what goel means in Hebrew) by way of a center in Tel Aviv that combined teachings on the Kabbalah with healing. In 2000, he told a reporter that he had had a vision of a "soul" appearing to him and telling him that the secrets of the Torah would be revealed to him, allowing him to no longer work hard in his life. He became known as a healer for young women, some of whom fell in love with him. One of his "wives" said she was smitten after he cured her of a mysterious disease that had left her bald at age 10. Some of the women in the household severed all contact with their own families, insisting no one forced them to stay. On the TV documentary, some accompanied Ratzon to a Tel Aviv mall to trawl for more "wives."

Still, Ratzon, 59, ruled his clan like a kingdom — or a police state. According to a book of domestic bylaws that he laid out for his huge household, the women faced fines from $50 to $500 for such infractions as sitting idle when there was housework to be done or talking to repairmen. To an extent, the situation was state-subsidized: some women claimed state benefits as stay-at-home, single parents. Others, however, worked outside, earning money for the family kitty. But not everyone was happy. Days before his arrest, Ratzon reportedly took one of his "wives" to the hospital because she was suffering from an overdose of antidepressants.

Because there was no evidence of a crime, just a weird lifestyle, no charges have been brought against Ratzon. "The welfare department [had] been in touch with some of the women and children for the past couple of years," Sharon Melamed, a social worker in the Tel Aviv Municipality Welfare Department tells TIME. "There was never a reason to suspect any criminal behavior. The children were clean and well dressed. They showed up to school regularly. There were no signs in their behavior that could indicate neglect or anything like sexual exploitation."

But there was much suspicion that many of the women in the alleged harem, still in their 20s, had been troubled teenagers who originally went to Ratzon for therapy. In June of 2009, a 24-year-old woman, the daughter of one of Ratzon's "wives," filed a complaint against him with the Tel Aviv police. The mother, who was arrested along with Ratzon, is suspected of introducing her biological daughter, then 14, to the healer for purposes of sex; she is now facing charges of encouraging and failing to report underage sex. Using Clause 375a of a new Israeli law against human-trafficking that makes it a crime to hold a person "in conditions of slavery," police then tapped Ratzon's phones and began surveillance. Parallel to the police investigation, parents of some of the young women hired private detectives to launch an undercover inquiry. 

If formally charged, Ratzon faces a maximum 16-year prison term for each of the slavery and rape charges. Through his lawyer, Ratzon denied the allegations. After so many years of inaction, the police seem confident they can prove his guilt. "We have managed to gather a great deal of evidence relating to the offenses of holding people under conditions of enslavement and rape," deputy commander Shlomi Michael, head of the Tel Aviv police's Central Unit, told reporters.

— With reporting by Yonit Farago / Tel Aviv

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In Israel, the Messiah with more than 30 Wives'
By Vered Luvitch 
YNET - February 14, 2020 

Guru who lived with 32 women, dozens of children charged with sex offenses, enslavement, deception. Indictment says he fully controlled his wives' lives, created 'status of an omnipotent with healing, destruction and cursing capabilities'  

Polygamist Goel Ratzon was charged Sunday with dozens of sex offenses, including rape, sodomy, and indecent assault. His victims were said to include minors. He was also accused of fraud and treating his wives like slaves.

Ratzon, who had lived with 32 women and dozens of children, was arrested last month in a wide-scale police operation. His son, Yigal Ratzon, arrived at the court Sunday and continued to insist that his father was innocent. 

The indictment is divided into nine chapters, and includes dozens of clauses describing a large number of incidents.  

The State asked the court to place a gag order on the investigation, saying that it includes "intimate, sensitive and shameful details, which have the power of humiliating any person." One of the reasons for the request, the State Prosecutor's Office explained, was the "fragile mental state of the women", who are defined as "victims of a difficult trauma of many years of slavery."

According to the indictment, Ratzon created "a status of an omnipotent with healing, destruction and cursing capabilities", through which he possesses full control of his wives' lives, desires, thoughts and performance. 

 Last week, the Tel Aviv District Police said that most of Ratzon's wives had incriminated him when they were questioned and would testify against him in the trial. The police believe they have a well-established case against the man, claiming that most of his wives have "become sober". 

According to the State Prosecutor's Office, Ratzon had many diverse ways to influence his wives, causing them to depend on him completely. He allegedly instilled a distorted reality, leading them to believe that their entire being, essence and physical and mental life derive their existence from him.

The indictment describes the "family" setting Ratzon built around him: "The defendant captured the women in a human group structure with the nature of a pseudo-family revolving around the ritual of his image, turning the birth of his children into a supreme goal the wives must aspire to, all with the aim of glorifying him while serving him and providing all his needs."

The State went on to say that Ratzon abused his wives by scorning them, while ridiculing their personality and independence and trampling over their self-image and self-value.

He kept them away from any external social connection, including their families, damaging their judgment and free will and enslaving them to provide his economic and sexual needs, the indictment said.


'Don't worry, you'll get used to it'

Many of the indictment clauses refer to the sex offenses allegedly committed by Ratzon. One describes a 19-year-old girl who was raped by Ratzon from the age of 15 to 17 on a nearly daily basis. He is also accused of indecent assault of another girl, by caressing her sexual organs and kissing her while pushing his tongue into her mouth.

He is also accused of raping and sexually harassing a girl whose mother died when she was a baby. According to the indictment, he distanced the girl from her family and promised to marry her. He convinced her that he had supernatural powers and ignored her request to stop kissing and caressing her.

Several days later, he took a shower with the girl and raped her. When she complained that it hurt, he responded, "Don't worry, you'll get used to it." In another incident, he performed oral sex on the girl and raped her again.

"The defendant knew that the young girl was subject to his magical influence, which he nurtured and implanted in a way preventing her from granting her free agreement," the indictment stated. "Shortly after these acts were committed, the young woman's father managed to locate her and remove her forcibly."

Police: Most women will testify

After nearly a month in detainment, Goel Ratzon spoke out for the first time during a hearing in Tel Aviv Magistrates' Court, claiming he was innocent.

"They can say things about me, (but) they're not true. They are putting the squeeze on me during investigation," he said.

Regarding the book of rules he allegedly wrote for the women and their children living with him, Ratzon said, "There was no book. That is an invention of the media."

Ratzon also addressed concerns that his wives would try to hurt themselves when he was arrested: "I didn't expect anything. Nothing was supposed to happen when they arrested me."  


He also denied committing sexual offenses. "This is what the police claims, not me," he said.

But the testimonies collected by the police paint a different picture. The investigators discovered that Ratzon, thanks to his special "charm", managed to get hold of intelligent women and turn them into slaves with no personal desire. The women told the investigators they would drive him to different places, buy him things, take loans for him and pay for his trips abroad – all in order to please him.

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Israeli ‘harem’ leader Goel Ratzon charged with rape and incest
UK Times - February 15, 2010

An man dubbed Israel’s Josef Fritzl was indicted yesterday on charges including enslavement, rape and incest over a cult-like harem in which he fathered dozens of children with 32 women.

The indictment against Goel Ratzon, 60, says that he positioned himself as a “godlike” figure to the women, whom he enticed into a worship of him that included following a “rulebook” that dictated their lives.

He sired at least 49 children with his “wives”, who tattooed themselves with his face and name, and is also accused of raping underage girls.

Ratzon created an “image of an omnipotent one who was blessed with supernatural powers and the ability to heal, destroy and cast curses”, police said. “Through this total control the defendant led the women to completely scrap their character and devote their existence to satisfy his needs, including his financial and sexual needs.”

In a documentary produced by Israeli television last year, Mr Ratzon’s wives were filmed feeding him and stroking his grey beard and wispy hair.

Police said that his wives have now “sobered” and are coming forward with evidence against him. Almost all of the women incriminated him when questioned, they said, and will testify during the trial.

Mr Ratzon maintained his innocence when speaking outside his hearing at the Tel Aviv Magistrates’ Court yesterday.

“They can say things about me that are not true. They are pressuring me during investigation,” he said. He added that the “book of rules” published by the media and catalogued by police was “an invention”.

His wives and other women he is accused of molesting have depicted Mr Ratzon as an expert manipulator. In each case he is said to have lured women away from their social networks, including friends and family. He ridiculed and insulted them, yet.

Mr Ratzon convinced them that their entire existence — including mental and physical wellbeing — derived from himself. The “supreme goal” of the wives was to bear him children “glorifying him while serving him,” police said.

Mr Ratzon is accused of raping underage girls while convincing them that he would one day marry them. One woman said that she was raped by Mr Ratzon on a “near daily” basis between the ages of 15 to 17.

In another case he convinced an underage girl that he had supernatural powers and distanced her from her family. He then took a shower with the girl and raped her. When she complained of pain, he told her, “Don’t worry, you’ll get used to it.”

Mr Ratzon “knew that the young girl was subject to his charismatic influence. He nurtured and cultivated her in such a way that it prohibited her from granting her free agreement,” police said. They added that the girl’s father managed to locate her and forcibly remove her from Mr Ratzon.

Women living with Mr Ratzon were asked to turn over all their wages and were forbidden from making telephone calls or talking to other men. If they broke the rules they would pay a fine or be physically punished.

The women wore conservative orthodox dresses covering their entire bodies and bore tattoos of their captor’s face and name. All his offspring had names with a variation on his, Goel, which means “redeemer” in Hebrew.

Psychologists and welfare officials who have spoken to Mr Ratzon’s wives have said that they are concerned for their mental well being. Becoming aware of the “brainwashing” they were under has been traumatic, police said.

But some of the women have begun meeting with their families again, while many of the women who had tattooed Mr Ratzon’s name and likeness on their bodies have now asked that they be removed.

However, police said that some of the women have remained loyal to Mr Ratzon and refused to condemn his treatment of them.

Mr Ratzon’s case has met with outrage amonhg the Israeli public, who question why he was not arrested sooner. Police have said that they were aware of Mr Ratzon for years but could not gather enough evidence for his arrest until women came forward and filed complaints with welfare authorities.

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"A Day In The Life Of A Rape Crisis Advocate: Vicki Polin

"A Day In The Life Of A Rape Crisis Advocate: Vicki Polin New York City Alliance Against Sexual Assault - February 15, 2010
 

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Sunday, February 14, 2010

Case of Jorge Torres Puello

Case of Jorge Torres-Puello
(AKA: Jorge Yoram Torres, , Jorge Torres Orellana, Jorge Orellana Torres Puello, Jorge Anibal Torres Puello)


Idaho
Legal Advisor For Americans - Haiti
Costa Rica
Former Member - Shearith Israel of MontrealMontreal, Canada
Former Member - Chabad - Dominican Republic
El Salvador
Yonkers, New York

Jorge Orellana Torres Puello was convicted on human trafficking charges.  He was sentenced to three years in a US Federal prison.



Torres attempted to eluded authorities in the U.S., Canada, El Salvador and Costa Rica, for 6 years but was discovered in the Dominican Republic.

While in El Savador, Jorge Orellana Torres Puello was heading an international trafficking people network.  

Jorge Torres Orellana or Jorge Puello Torres originally made international news in January, 2010, when the international media reported the arrest of the 10 Americans who illegally tried to take the Haitian children out of the devastated country.

According to reliable sources Jorge Torres Orellana had a history of davening (praying) at the Chabad in the Dominican Republic.  

Torres Puello, claims he was born in Yonkers, New York, in 1977 to a Dominican mother and a Puerto Rican father, also said he is wanted in the United States on charges of smuggling people between Canada and the United States, which he also denied.

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Table of Contents: 

2009
  1. Shearith Israel of Montreal (02/23/2009)

2010
  1. Adviser to Detained Americans in Haiti Is Investigate (02/11/2010)
  2. Salvadoran smuggler connection investigated in case of Haitian children  (02/12/2010)
  3. Interpol (02/12/2010)
  4. Adviser to jailed U.S. missionaries in Haiti draws child-prostitution scrutiny (02/13/2010)
  5. Puello Probe Separate From Missionaries' Case (02/14/2010)
  6. Legal adviser for Americans in Haiti facing his own charges (02/15/2010)
  7. Haiti case adviser linked to child prostitution (02/15/2010)
  8. Dominican Jew at center of trafficking ring case (02/18/2010)
  9. Haitian Orphans Case Figure Also Wanted In El Salvador (02/19/2010)
  10. Kulanu Repudiates Jorge Yoram Torres (aka Jorge Puello or Jorge Torres Orellana)  (02/19/2010)
  11. Attorney wanted for Child Trafficking in Haiti Dominican Republic (03/01/2010)
  12. Adviser to missionaries in Haiti kidnap case is arrested (03/10/2010)
  13. Interpol wants alleged Dominican native in Haiti row (03/16/2010)
  14. Joint international manhunt leads to arrest of fugitive wanted in three countries (03/19/2010)
  15. International Criminal Extradited To United States  (09/13/2010)
  16. Legal adviser in Haiti kidnap case extradited to U.S. (09/14/2010)

2011
  1. Fugitive who posed as lawyer following Haitian earthquake sentenced to 3 years in federal prison for alien smuggling (06/16/2011)
  2. Legal Advisor to Idaho-10 Gets 3-Year Sentence (06/16/2010)

2013
  1. Involved in sexual exploitation network says he was extorted by a judge and a former prosecutor  (09/04/2013)

_________________________________________________________________________________Shearith Israel of Montreal
February 23, 2009




_________________________________________________________________________________
Adviser to Detained Americans in Haiti Is Investigate
By Marc Lacey andIan Urbina
New York Times - February 11, 2010


Jorge Puello, who has been providing legal advice to a group of Americans jailed in Haiti.
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — The police in El Salvador have begun an investigation into whether a man suspected of leading a trafficking ring involving Central American and Caribbean women and girls is also a legal adviser to the Americans charged with trying to take 33 children out of Haiti without permission.

When the judge presiding over the Haitian case learned on Thursday of the investigation in El Salvador, he said he would begin his own inquiry of the adviser, a Dominican man who was in the judge’s chambers days before.

The inquiries are the latest twist in a politically charged case that is unfolding in the middle of an earthquake disaster zone. A lawyer for the group has already been dismissed after being accused of trying to offer bribes to get the 10 Americans out of jail.

The adviser, Jorge Puello, said in a telephone interview on Thursday that he had not engaged in any illegal activity in El Salvador and that he had never been in the country. He called it a case of mistaken identity. “I don’t have anything to do with El Salvador,” he said, suggesting that his name was as common in Latin America as John Smith is in the United States.

“There’s a Colombian drug dealer who was arrested with 25 IDs, and one of them had my name,” he said, not elaborating.

“Bring the proof,” he said when pressed about the child-trafficking accusations in the brief interview, which ended when he said he was entering an elevator. Reached later, he became angry and said he had broken no laws.

The 10 Americans have been imprisoned since Jan. 29 in the back of the same police station used by President René Préval as the seat of Haiti’s government since the earthquake. They had been told by their lawyers that at least some of them would be on their way home on Thursday. But the judge overseeing their case, Bernard Saint-Vil, recommended to the prosecutor that they be tentatively released from custody and permitted to leave the country as long as a representative stayed behind until the case was completed.

Mr. Puello has been acting as a spokesman and legal adviser in the Dominican Republic for some of the detainees.

The head of the Salvadoran border police, Commissioner Jorge Callejas, said in a telephone interview that he was investigating accusations that a man with a Dominican passport that identified him as Jorge Anibal Torres Puello led a human trafficking ring that recruited Dominican women and under-age Nicaraguan girls by offering them jobs and then putting them to work as prostitutes in El Salvador.

Mr. Puello said he did not even have a passport. When Mr. Callejas was shown a photograph taken in Haiti of Mr. Puello, Mr. Callejas said he thought it showed the man he was seeking. He said he would try to arrest Mr. Puello on suspicion of luring women into prostitution and taking explicit photographs of them that were then posted on Internet sites. “It’s him, the same beard and face,” Mr. Callejas said in an interview on Thursday. “It has to be him.”

Judge Saint-Vil also said he thought that the photo of the trafficking suspect in a Salvadoran police file appeared to be the same man he had met in court. He said he intended to begin his own investigation into whether a trafficking suspect had been working with the Americans detained in Haiti.

“I was skeptical of him because he arrived with four bodyguards, and I have never seen that from a lawyer,” the judge said in an interview. “I plan to get to the bottom of this right away.”

The judge said he would request assistance from the Department of Homeland Security to look into Mr. Puello’s background. A spokesman for the department said American officials were playing a supporting role in the investigation surrounding the Americans, providing “investigative support as requested.”

An Interpol arrest warrant has been issued for someone named Jorge Anibal Torres Puello, according to the police and public documents.

There were questions about whether Mr. Puello, the adviser, who said the Central Valley Baptist Church in Idaho had hired him to represent the Americans, was licensed to practice law. Records at the College of Lawyers in the Dominican Republic listed no one with his name.

Mr. Puello said he had a law license and was part of a 45-member law firm. But his office in Santo Domingo turned out to be a humble place, which could not possibly fit 45 lawyers. Mr. Puello’s brother Alejandro said that the firm had another office in the central business district, but he declined to provide an address.

Mr. Puello said in the interview that he had been representing the Americans free of charge because he was a religious man who commiserated with their situation. “I’m president of the Sephardic Jewish community in the Dominican Republic,” he said. “I help people in this kind of situation. We’re not going to charge these people a dime.”

But other lawyers for the detainees said that the families had wired Mr. Puello $12,000 to pay for the Americans’ transportation out of Haiti if they were released, and that they had been told by Mr. Puello in a conference call late Tuesday that he needed an additional $36,000. Mr. Puello said that he had not participated in a conference call.

One lawyer for the families said that Mr. Puello had told him that he was licensed to practice law in Florida, but the lawyer said he had checked and found no such record. Mr. Puello said in the interview that he had never said he was licensed in Florida.

Mr. Puello said that he had been born in Yonkers, N.Y., and that his mother was Dominican. He said that his full name was Jorge Puello and that he had no other names. But then in a subsequent interview he said his name was Jorge Aaron Bentath Puello. He said he was born in October 1976, and not in October 1977, which the police report indicates is the birth date of the suspect in the Salvadoran case.

The report said the police had found documents connected to the Sephardic Jewish community in a house in San Salvador where the traffickers had held women.

Blake Schmidt contributed reporting from San José, Costa Rica, and Jean-Michel Caroit from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Kitty Bennett contributed research.


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Salvadoran smuggler connection investigated in case of Haitian children 
El Mundo - 02/12/2010 
Translated to English from Spanish using google

Here is warrant for trafficking in persons for sexual exploitation

Enrique Garcia Diario El Mundo

Jorge Torres Orellana or Puello, who appeared in media Dominican lawyer international and ten Americans who were captured when they tried to smuggle Haitian children, could be a Salvadoran pursued here for the crime of Trafficking for Exploitation Trafficking and Sexual confirmed yesterday the Deputy Director of Police Investigation National Civil Howard Cotto.

The alert was given by the U.S. daily The New York Times, which revealed that Jorge Torres Puello could be Orellana, 43, originally from Huizucar, The Freedom, against whom there is in El Salvador, an arrest warrant.
Cotto Torres Orellana said, could be the same person in Haiti is being passed off as the lawyer Jorge Anibal Torres Puello, a national Dominican, and who has shown as part of the public defender Americans in Haiti. In El Salvador, Jorge Torres and Jorge Anibal Orellana Torres Puello, has no record of having exercised the profession, said Assistant Director of Research and Dominican media nor recorded as lawyer.

In the U.S., the media are following up the case and have requested the assistance of the Salvadoran National Civil Police, to see if they This is the same subject. Cotto, explained that through the photographs appear in their single identity document, DUI in his passport, and another published by The New York Times, appear to be the same person. But what substantiate, through the comparison of fingerprints, he said.

"We shall verify, because you probably have a dual nationality, legally speaking, or it may have falsified identity, either here or in Dominican Republic, "he said.

The Assistant Director of Research, noted that there is a court order Orellana Torres arrest after they found evidence against him, by the raid on a house in the residential Forests of Lourdes, The Freedom, in May last year. In that place was captured his wife Ana Josefa Galvarina Orellana Ramírez, a member of a structure dedicated to the exploitation child sexual Central America and the Caribbean. The modeling contract. Today, women are imprisoned in Prison for Women, Ilopango.

They also found evidence of its Torres Orellana, belonged to Sephardic Jewish Community, said police spokesman.

The accused fled the country between May and June last year, possibly a blind spot. Currently it is unknown where he is based, said Cotto.

The supposed attorney says he never was here Enrique Garcia Diario El Mundo

The assumption Dominican lawyer, Jorge Torres Puello, told The New York Times a telephone interview that he had not participated in any illegal activity in El Salvador and had never been there. He defined it as a case of mistaken identity. "I have nothing to do with El Salvador," he said, noting that his name was so common in Latin America, as John Smith in America.

"There is a Colombian drug trafficker who was arrested with 25 identities and one of with my name on them, "he said without elaborate more.

"Bring the evidence," he said when pressed about the allegations child trafficking in the brief interview, according to The New York Times, concluded when he said he was entering an elevator. Later, became upset and said that he had not broken any law.

The U.S. and Dominican media diary reveals several contradictions in their statements. In one, Puello says he was born in New York, other sometimes says he has no passport, which is licensed from other law in Florida and Dominican, but no record in any of the two places.

The Americans tried in Haiti and was fired as a lawyer after requested $ 12 billion to their relatives to take them to the Dominican.

_________________________________________________________________________________

February 12, 2010

Wanted
TORRES ORELLANA, Jorge

Legal Status
Present family name: TORRES ORELLANA
Forename: JORGE
Sex: MALE
Date of birth: 15 October 1977 (32 years old)
Place of birth: HUIZUCAR, LA LIBERTAD, El Salvador
Language spoken: Spanish Castilian
Nationality: El Salvador

Physical description
Height: 1.68 meter <-> 66 inches
Weight: 69 kg <-> 152 pounds
Colour of eyes: DARK
Colour of hair: BLACK

Offences
Categories of Offences: CRIMES AGAINST CHILDREN, PEOPLE SMUGGLING, TRAFFICKING & ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION
Arrest Warrant Issued by: JUZGADO DE PAZ SAN JUAN OPICO, LA LIBERTAD / El Salvador

IF YOU HAVE ANY INFORMATION CONTACT
YOUR NATIONAL OR LOCAL POLICE

GENERAL SECRETARIAT OF INTERPOL





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Adviser to jailed U.S. missionaries in Haiti draws child-prostitution scrutiny
By Gerardo Reyes and Patricia Mazzei
Miami Herald - February 13, 2010


Salvadoran police say photos that surfaced Friday show the legal adviser to American missionaries jailed in Haiti may be the lead suspect in a human trafficking ring involving child prostitution in El Salvador.
Police say they are waiting for fingerprints to determine if Jorge Anibal Torres Puello is also wanted in El Salvador on charges of promoting prostitution among children in what has been one of the nation's most vexing social problems.
``There are similarities -- the date of birth, and also similarities in the physical appearance,'' said Howard Cotto, deputy director of investigations for Salvadoran police, during a press conference in San Salvador.
The controversy surrounding the 42-year-old legal adviser -- a key figure in the drama surrounding 10 Americans accused of trying to take 33 children out of Haiti -- exploded yesterday when Salvadoran police announced they were trying to determine if the legal advisor was the notorious child trafficker.
Police said the probe began when they were asked by Dominican officials to search for connections, but did not elaborate.
SIMILAR LOOK
During a press conference, Cotto said that mug shots of Jorge Torres Orellana -- wanted for promoting prostitution and posting explicit photos of children on the Internet -- shared a remarkable likeness to a photo of Torres Puello.
In an interview with The New York Times, Torres Puello denied any connection to the Salvadoran fugitive, saying ``I don't have anything to do with El Salvador.''
For the past two weeks, the U.S. church group has come under scrutiny for skirting the laws of Haiti to remove the children in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake that tore through the capital on Jan. 12.
In the wake of their arrest, members of the Central Valley Baptist Church have said their leader, Laura Silsby, mislead them about the legitimacy of their mission in Haiti.
But with the recent announcement by Salvadoran police, attention has turned to Torres Puello, who has been representing himself as a legal counsel to the group.
Though he claims to have a law license, the Santo Domingo address listed on Puello Consulting's website turned out to be the office of Alejandro Puello, Torres Puello's cousin.
Alejandro Puello showed a Miami Herald reporter on Friday around the bare, one-room office in a working-class neighborhood and said Torres Puello has never worked with him, and that his cousin is not a lawyer.
``Jorge Puello has nothing to do with this office,'' he said.
Alejandro Puello, 27, said he was unaware of any ties that his cousin may have with human trafficking in El Salvador.
_________________________________________________________________________________


Puello Probe Separate From Missionaries' Case
By David Gauthier-Villars
Wall Street Journal - February 14, 2010

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – An investigation into whether a legal adviser to some of the 10 jailed American missionaries in Haiti is himself wanted for alleged sex trafficking may have no impact on the fate of the missionaries, the Haitian judge conducting the investigation into the Americans said on Saturday.

Bernard Saint-Vil, the magistrate overseeing the Americans' case, said that the probe of Jorge Puello, the Dominican legal adviser to the missionaries, is separate from his main probe.


Jorge Puello, left, arrives at the court building in Port-au-Prince. Associated Press
"At this point, the two cases have nothing to do with each other," Bernard Saint-Vil, the investigating magistrate, said in a telephone interview.

The Americans were arrested on Jan. 29 as they tried to take a busload of 33 Haitian children into the Dominican Republic without paperwork from the Haitian government. Haitian police put them in jail and an investigation was launched into whether they had abducted the children. The group has denied the charges, saying they were trying to help children after the recent earthquake.

Soon after, members of the group hired a man they believed to be a lawyer from the Dominican Republic calling himself Jorge Puello.

But doubts about Mr. Puello grew after El Salvador police said on Friday they were investigating whether Mr. Puello was in fact Jorge Torres Orellana, wanted in connection with a sex-trafficking ring that was broken up last year in which women and girls from the Dominican Republic and elsewhere were lured into prostitution. Pictures of the two men showed a striking similarity.

When the trafficking ring was broken up last year, police arrested Ana Josefa Galvarina, Mr. Torres' common-law wife, the El Salvador police said. During the bust, they found multiple passports belonging to Mr. Torres, including a Dominican passport in the name of Jorge Torres Orellana Puello.

On Saturday, Interpol issued an international arrest warrant in the name of Jorge Torres Orellana, a 32-year-old Salvadoran.

It has also emerged that Mr. Puello is not a registered lawyer in the Dominican Republic. Mr. Puello's name does not appear on the registry of the Dominican Republic College of Attorneys, a list on which all attorneys' names are required to appear for them to litigate in the country's courts, according to Vinicio Montero, who operates the registry.

Mr. Puello couldn't be reached. Calls to his cell phone went to voicemail, and he didn't return messages asking for his comment.

More evidence emerged on Saturday that Mr. Puello and Mr. Torres may be the same person. Isaac Rudman, the president of the Israelite Center of the Dominican Republic, said he once met Mr. Puello two or three years back. At the time, Mr. Puello introduced himself as Jorge Torres, and had a letter of introduction from a synagogue in Canada, Mr. Rudman said.

Mr. Rudman said he heard over the years that Mr. Puello had grandiose plans to build a hospital and a Jewish city close to Santo Domingo's airport, but nothing came from these plans.

Mr. Rudman's impression from his one meeting with Mr. Puello was that he was very "conflictive," he said. "His attitude was 'the Messiah has arrived'" said Mr. Rudman.

Concerns about Mr. Puello came as a setback to the Americans just when they seemed to gain some momentum in their case. Last week, family members of the Haitian children testified to the judge, Mr. Saint-Vil, that they willingly handed over their children to the Americans, who had promised to take the children to an orphanage being built in the Dominican Republic.

After the testimony, the Haitian lawyer for the Americans then filed a motion for the case to be dropped. The prosecutor considering the motion is due to make a recommendation early next week. The final decision rests with Mr. Saint-Vil, the magistrate.

On Saturday, Mr. Saint-Vil said that even if Mr. Puello was sought after by Haiti justice at some point, his fate could remain entirely separate from that of the 10 missionaries.

"I have no indication that Mr. Puello knew the missionaries before their arrests," the magistrate said. "Unless we find something suggesting the opposite, we would have no reason to merge the two cases."

Turning to the missionaries themselves, Mr. Saint-Vil, said he would consider a defense lawyer's petition once he has received the opinion of a government prosecutor on the case.

The detained Americans were working with a non-profit group called New Life Children's Refuge, founded last November by 40-year-old Laura Silsby, an Internet entrepreneur from Idaho. Several of the 10 Americans worshipped at Central Valley Baptist Church in Meridian, Idaho. Others worshipped at a different Idaho church, two were from Kansas, and one lived in Texas.

Lawyers for five of the jailed Americans say their clients were never represented by Mr. Puello. Jim Allen, a construction worker from Amarillo, Texas, only heard of the "aid trip" 48 hours before departure, according to one of his attorneys in the United States. That attorney, Reginald Brown of the law firm WilmerHale, said that Mr. Allen "was never represented by or associated with" Mr. Puello.

Caleb Stegall, a Kansas-based attorney for another four of the detained Americans, said that Mr. Puello "does not represent them, never has, and is no longer part of the case, if he ever was." Mr. Stegall said he represents Paul Thompson, his son Silas Thompson, Steve McMullin, and Drew Culberth. The elder Mr. Thompson is a brother-in-law of Mr. Culberth and a cousin of Mr. Allen.

Mr. Stegall said that the families of his clients were told that Mr. Puello delivered some food to the detained missionaries.

Ms. Silsby hoped to build an orphanage for as many as 200 children in Magante, on the north coast of the Dominican Republic. To that end, she incorporated New Life in the Dominican Republic in January through Jose Altagracia Ovando.

New Life Children's Refuge began the process of buying land in Magante. One of Ms. Silsby's colleagues in the venture – former dentist Rob Chenvert, now a realtor in the Dominican Republic who worked with Ms. Silsby to find land and buildings for the planned orphanage – said on Friday that the group had no contact with Mr. Puello until after the arrest.

It was unclear who originally hired Mr. Puello. Shortly after the group's arrest, Drew Ham, one of the pastors at Central Valley Baptist Church, said that Mr. Puello had contacted the group's families after the arrest and offered his services. Mr. Ham said he did a search for Mr. Puello on Google, GOOG -0.40% and that Mr. Puello was later hired.

— Jim Oberman and Jose DeCordoba contributed to this article


_________________________________________________________________________________

Legal adviser for Americans in Haiti facing his own charges
By Karl Penhaul
CNN - February 15, 2010


Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic (CNN) -- A man who acted as a legal adviser to the American missionaries arrested on child kidnapping charges in Haiti is himself facing allegations of human trafficking in El Salvador and human smuggling charges in the United States.

An international arrest warrant was issued Saturday for the legal adviser on sex-trafficking charges. Salvadoran police raided a home in May that turned up passports and an ID card in the names of both Jorge Torres Puello and his alias, Jorge Torres Orellana.

Each of the documents bore photos of the same man. His wife was arrested in that raid and charged with sex trafficking, and her trial is pending.

In a phone interview with CNN on Sunday, Jorge Torres Puello acknowledged he is the same man wanted by Salvadoran authorities. He denied the charges against him.

According to the warrant, Torres Puello is accused of running an international sex trafficking ring that lured women and girls from the Caribbean and Central America into prostitution with offers of modeling jobs. A wanted poster released by Interpol, the international police organization, includes crimes against children as one of the offenses that Torres Puello is being sought for.

"I never did anything," Torres Puello said Sunday. "I started helping a Dominican pastor helping a lot of people who were stranded to get back to their home countries. We once gave some Nicaraguan and Costa Rican women some money to return home and instead they went to the authorities and put in a complaint against us. I never had anybody against their will."

Torres Puello also denied Salvadoran allegations that he ran a brothel out of his home with wife Ana Josefa Ramirez Orellana, who remains jailed pending trial, according to Salvadoran police.

"I want to clear the Salvador matter up and I am hiring a lawyer to do that," he said. "I know I am innocent and I want to clear my past."

His mother, Soledad Puello, told CNN Sunday that she first heard of the Salvadoran accusations when her son called to tell her of his wife's arrest. She said her son told her he had known about the sex ring, but wasn't involved in it.

Soledad Puello led CNN to believe that her son remained in the Dominican Republic, but she would not say where.

Torres Puello, who said he was born in Yonkers, New York, in 1977 to a Dominican mother and a Puerto Rican father, also said he is wanted in the United States on charges of smuggling people between Canada and the United States, which he also denied.

He said he spent 18 months in a Canadian jail pending what he called an unsuccessful extradition request by U.S. authorities.

He has served jail time in the United States before, he said -- one year in 1998 for handling funds related to a drug-trafficking operation, and was jailed again briefly between late 2001 and January 2002 for violating parole. He denied the drug charge.

Both his mother and Torres Puello say he served briefly in the U.S. Army in a military intelligence unit, and Torres Puello said he also worked undercover with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.

A family photo shows Torres Puello in a military uniform alongside a truck with the words "U.S. Military" printed across the bumper.

CNN was unable to reach government officials to confirm his claims of working with the military, the DEA and Homeland Security.

Torres Puello's statements regarding the charges against him could not be immediately verified. But on Sunday, four men showed up at his mother's home while CNN reporters were present.

The men said they were from the U.S. Embassy and looking for Torres Puello. One of the men told Soledad Puello that her son has three outstanding arrest warrants -- two in the United States and one in El Salvador. He did not specify the charges. One of the men was wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with the words "U.S. Marshals Service, Fugitive Task Force."

Torres Puello said he made contact with the Central Valley Church in Idaho and their family representatives and offered to provide legal assistance to the American missionaries shortly after they were jailed in January after trying to cross the Dominican border carrying 33 children without proper documentation.

Family representatives in Idaho did not give the exact date when they were contacted by Puello but said it was "shortly after their arrest".

Hiram Sasser, attorney with Liberty Legal of Plano, Texas, sought to distance his client, Jim Allen, from Torres Puello.

He stated in an e-mail to CNN: "No attorney has ever been authorized to represent Jim Allen other than our team, which includes Mr. Lissade. The only spokesperson for the Allen family has been me and our team."

Haitian attorney Louis Gary Lissade showed up at court in Port-au-Prince on February 9 to represent Allen, one of the 10 Americans.

Another of Allen's U.S. defense team, Reginald Brown, said he, Sasser and other U.S. attorneys were only hired to represent Allen on Super Bowl Sunday -- nine days after the Americans were arrested.

In a February 9 letter from Brown to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Brown stated: "It's our understanding from press reports ... that all 10 Americans were represented by a single Haitian attorney. ... We're not able to confirm if that counsel was independently chosen by Jim [Allen]."

Until February 7, Torres Puello said he had been appointed legal adviser to all 10 Americans and Haitian attorney Edwin Coq said he was handling the case in Port-au-Prince on behalf of all 10. Coq, who was the attorney Brown referred to in his letter to Clinton, says he resigned on February 6 over a dispute about payments. Torres Puello said he had fired Coq.

Torres Puello turned up at court Monday, February 8, saying he was there to organize legal representation for all 10 Americans after Coq left the case.

Torres Puello said he read about the case and decided to offer his services for free. However, Torres Puello's stepfather, Franco Ceminara, said the arrested Americans' families had already wired more than $40,000 to his stepson. A receipt provided by Torres Puello's family to CNN showed the Haitian lawyers are charging $40,000 to represent the Americans. The receipt, for an advance payment of $10,000, was signed by Aviol Fleurant, one of the Americans' Port-au-Prince-based defense team that also includes Lissade.

Family and church representatives in Idaho, where most of the 10 Americans are from, told CNN earlier in the week that they had not paid money to the man they know as Jorge Puello.

Regarding the American missionaries, Torres Puello said: "Prior to this earthquake I never knew those people [the Americans]. When I read about their case I just decided to help them. I'm in the real estate business and was working with a team of lawyers."

_________________________________________________________________________________

Haiti case adviser linked to child prostitution
By Patricia Mazzel and Gerardo Reyes
Sydney Morning Star - February 15, 2010

SANTO DOMINGO: The man providing legal advice to American church workers charged with trying to take children out of Haiti may have a string of legal charges against him in the US and has emerged as the key suspect in a child prostitution ring in El Salvador.

The mother and stepfather of Jorge Anibal Torres Puello told The Miami Herald on Saturday that the fugitive wanted by Salvadorean police was their son, who has been advising the church volunteers.

''That's him,'' Ana Puello said from her modest home in the outskirts of Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic. ''But those things they say about him, I doubt they're true … He told me, 'Mami, I swear I didn't.' He would never hurt a child.''

Though his wife was convicted in the case, Mr Torres Puello left the country - wanted by Salvadorean police - before ending up in Haiti. A self-styled lawyer with no law degree, he has had other brushes with the law, including a charge in Miami in 1999 for possessing fake documents, records show. His bond was later revoked and a warrant issued for his arrest.

The revelations are another twist in the drama surrounding the church workers from Idaho, who have been jailed for trying to take 33 children from Haiti without permission after the earthquake ripped through Port-au-Prince on January 12.

It is not clear how Mr Torres Puello, 32, became involved with the Central Valley Baptist Church.

But his stepfather, Franco Cerminara, said his son had no intention of taking the children to the US, but to a church in the Dominican Republic where space had been leased.

Mr Cerminara said he had gone with his stepson to take food and medicine to the jailed church workers.

For the past 10 days Mr Torres Puello has been a visible figure in the church case, granting interviews with reporters about his role as legal adviser to the group.

But little was known about his background until Friday, when Salvadorean police announced an investigation into whether he was the same suspect who led the trafficking ring.

Using photos and fingerprints, police say they are close to confirming that Mr Torres Puello is the suspect wanted since last year for leading a network that recruited children for prostitution in Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic and El Salvador. In the interview with the Miami Herald, his mother confirmed that his wife - Ana Josefa Galvarina Ramirez Orellana - had been convicted in the case and was in jail in San Salvador.

Police broke the ring last year after three children aged 14, 15 and 16 escaped from a house in El Salvador and went to the police to report they had been forced to pose naked to promote the enterprise.


_________________________________________________________________________________

Dominican Jew at center of trafficking ring case

By Ben Fox
Associated Press - February 18, 2010

Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic  ––  A New York native who falsely claimed he is the newly elected president of the Jewish Communities of Dominican Republic is being sought in connection with a female trafficking ring in Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

Jorge Puello, 32, is wanted in El Salvador for allegedly luring women and girls into prostitution with bogus offers of modeling jobs.

He is also accused of falsely stating he is a lawyer and attempting to represent the 13 American members of a missionary group who have been detained in Haiti for allegedly trying to take children out of the country without proper documents after the earthquake. Puello is in apparent violation of Dominican law for failing to register with the local bar association or obtain a license, said Jose Parra, vice president of the Dominican Lawyers Association.

However, in a phone interview, Puello said he was innocent and that he and his wife had taken in young women from the Caribbean and Central America who had been abandoned by smugglers.

“I’m planning to go to El Salvador to tackle this problem,” Puello said. “I am not afraid to face the music.”

But each new detail emerging about Puello’s past seems to add to the embarrassment of the American missionaries that Puello volunteered to help.

Born in Yonkers, N.Y., Puello spent his early childhood years in the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico after his parents divorced, according to his mother, Ana Rita Puello, a 49-year-old activist.

Later, Ana Puello married Franco Cerminara, a businessman from Italy, and they moved to South Florida.

As a 15-year-old in Miami, his mother and stepfather said, Puello began dating a stripper 10 years older than him. He soon left home for Philadelphia, where Cerminara said he was convicted of bank fraud, and later moved to Puerto Rico.

At some point, he apparently served in the U.S. military. A family photo shows him in fatigues next to two Army trucks.

About four years ago, he emerged in Santo Domingo saying he wanted to establish a Sephardic Jewish community.

Cerminara and Ana Puello said everyone in their family is Catholic and that Jorge Puello converted on his own.

“He is Jewish by conviction,” Puello’s mother said. “He practices the religion and believes it in his heart.”

The Dominican Republic is home to about 50 Jewish families, a tight-knit community that includes both Sephardi and Ashkenazi Jews, and some had doubts about the new arrival, said Isaac Lalo, secretary of the country’s main synagogue.

Puello began identifying himself as the “newly elected president of the Jewish Communities of Dominican Republic,” even though he was never elected to any such role and had no congregation.

“This guy has nothing to do with our community,” Lalo said. “Sephardic Jews don’t just set up a community out of the blue.”

Puello’s Salvadoran wife, Ana Josefa Galvarina, has been jailed in El Salvador since a raid on the alleged trafficking ring. Puello said that he ran a business converting cars to run on propane gas.

The Dominican National Police said it had conducted several raids and interviews in an attempt to locate Puello and detain him on the Salvadoran warrant.

Dave Oney, a U.S. Marshals Service spokesman in Washington, said authorities are trying to determine if Puello is a man with a similar name and physical description wanted for a 2002 parole violation.

Puello said that he and his wife took in young women abandoned by smugglers, but that the migrants tired of the house rules and he dropped them off at a bus station with money for a ticket home.

He claimed they tried to get back at him by telling police they had been trafficked.


Associated Press writers Dionisio Soldevila in Santo Domingo and Mike Melia in San Juan, Puerto Rico, contributed to this report.


Comments

Posted by Jtorres19772

10/22/2013  at  06:45 AM

Bad Journalism 

What a peace of bad journalism and garbage!, no wonder why people don’t believe the media any more.

1. For your information, I never falsely claimed to be the newly elected president of the sephardic jewish community of the Domininican Republic. I created that community and registered. Who are you or your garbage news paper to say otherwise.

2. I have affronted my responsibility and for your information I have been free from police custody since December 7, 2010, WHY? because is all garbage, I wonder why my release has been kept away from the media?

3. My wife case has since been reversed and a new trial ordered WHY?
Sincerely

Jorge Torres Puello

914-299-2246
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Haitian Orphans Case Figure Also Wanted In El Salvador
By Gerardo Reyes andJuan Carlos Vasquez
El Nuevo Herald - February 19, 2010

SAN SALVADOR -- When two Nicaraguan girls, held captive in a house on the outskirts of San Salvador, overheard that they were to be sold as sex slaves for $150, they were terrorized. They decided to escape and report their story of abuse and deceptions.

Their statements led Salvadoran police last May to a child prostitution ring allegedly run by Jorge Torres Puello and his wife Ana Josefa Ramírez Orellana, according to the documents filed in thecriminal case in San Salvador.

Torres Puello, who also went by the name Jorge Torres Orellana there, is at the center of an international scandal involving American missionaries who attempted to remove orphaned children from Haiti without government permission.

Interviewed in the Dominican Republic on Sunday by CNN, Torres Puello confirmed that he is the same person is sought by the Salvadoran justice system.

Torres Puello's past has begun to emerge in pieces that indicate a turbulent life, with troubles with the law.

He is wanted in the United States for violation of probation in a bank fraud case in Pennsylvania.

Last Friday the presiding judge in San Salvador case, David Amael Moran Asencio, called for the arrest of Torres Puello on charges of using persons under 18 for pornography, trafficking and prostitution. The victims were listed as five Nicaraguan girls, 14 to 16 years old, and two Dominican teenagers who were of age.

El Mundo, a newspaper in San Salvador, had access to records from the district court of San Juan Opico, a town outside the capital, which detail some of drama experienced by the victims of the organization.

The Nicaraguan girls told police they had met Torres, his wife Ana and Jency Ivonne Ramirez, another woman also charged in the case, in a gas station in Managua, Nicaragua.

They told them that they were students who helped out with the housework at home.

Torres then offered to take them to San Salvador and transform them into models who would make their debut at a farewell ceremony for the outgoing president of El Salvador.

Thrilled with the prospect of changing their lives, the girls accepted the offer. To get around immigration controls, they walked for two hours to the border with El Salvador, where Torres picked them up in a car and took them to in the town of Versalles.

Initially, the members of the gang took the victims to shopping centers, inviting them to nicerestaurants and buying the new clothes.

According to the girls, Torres presented himself as a missionary who helped immigrants from several countries. But the girls discovered that his intentions were different when one night he asked them to pose naked for photographs.

The girls felt that they could not refuse. Those images were displayed on an Internet page that advertising escort services.

Torres also asked them to sleep with him, but they refused him. The group charged customers $60 to spend the night with some of the victims. However, the two girls who filed the report maintained that at no time were they ever sexually abused.

Then one night they overheard Torres discussing with his wife and Yvonne Torres Ramirez how the they were to be sold for $150 to two clients. That same night a man from Guatemala arrived who wanted to pay for sex with one of them.

The girls refused. An enraged Torres threw them out of the house and left them on the street, although he came back to pick them up at dawn and gave them each $20 for the bus trip back to Nicaragua. As the fare was much more expensive, the girl explained their situation a man who contacted the police on May 26.

``I did nothing,'' Torres Puello told CNN. ``One time we gave some Nicaraguan and Costa Rican women money to return to their countries and instead they filed a complaint against us. I've never held anyone against their will.''



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Kulanu Repudiates Jorge Yoram Torres (aka Jorge Puello or Jorge Torres Orellana)
By Harriet Bograd
Kulanu Blog - February 19, 2010


Kulanu very much regrets our association with the individual known as Jorge Yoram Torres, Jorge Torres Orellana, and Jorge Puello. We condemn in the strongest possible terms the reprehensible criminal activities that have been described in the press, and sincerely wish to apologize for any incorrect assessments of his motives and actions that Kulanu may have communicated.

In 2006, Kulanu was contacted by a man known as Jorge Yoram Torres. He advised us of a group in the Dominican Republic, the “Comunidad Judia Sefardita,” who wanted to reconnect with their Jewish roots. After correspondence that indicated great effort on his part to energize a newly emerging Latin American community, Kulanu gave $4,400 dollars to help unleash the potential of this community, including money for a Chanukah celebration in Santo Domingo featuring construction of a huge menorah in a public square.

In 2008, Kulanu received emails telling us of a similar proto-Jewish community in El Salvador. These came from a person alternately calling himself Nathaniel ben Yossef and Jorge Torres Orellana. Disarmed by the apparent sincerity of these messages, we encouraged a young rabbi, an associate of Kulanu, to visit the community and assess the situation. Much to our dismay, he told us that Nathaniel and Jorge were none other than Yoram Torres of the Dominican Republic. At that point we cut off all connection to Mr. Torres and completely disassociated ourselves from him.

When we learned in 2009 of the accusations against Jorge/Yoram/Nathaniel and his wife for heinous crimes, we removed any references to the communities in the Dominican Republic and El Salvador from our website and online copies of our newsletter. Perhaps we should have issued a direct condemnation, but we lacked any first-hand evidence of his crimes. We stayed silent partly out of an ethical concern for not defaming someone without full facts. We regret this in light of what we have learned in the past week. We disavow in the strongest terms any endorsement of Mr. Torres based on our past association with him.

Harriet Bograd, President

Kulanu, Inc.


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Adviser to missionaries in Haiti kidnap case is arrested
CNN - March 19, 2010


Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic (CNN) -- A man who provided legal advice to 10 American Baptists accused of kidnapping 33 Haitian children after the earthquake there was arrested Thursday night in the Dominican Republic and accused of human trafficking, the country's anti-narcotics agency said Friday.

The man, identified as Jorge Torres-Puello, is linked to a network that trafficked in Haitian and Central American children and is wanted in the United States, El Salvador and Costa Rica, the National Drug Control Agency said.

Torres-Puello had been hiding in the Dominican Republic after he was accused of using the country to take Haitian children to North America, it said.

Members of the drug agency took Torres-Puello, also known as Jorge Torres Orellana, into custody without incident at 8 p.m. in the parking lot of a McDonald's restaurant in the capital, the news release said.

Torres-Puello is a Dominican who was born in New York, it said. "According to documents of authorities in the United States, the Dominican Republic as well as El Salvador and Costa Rica, this person is an important part of a network of traffickers of undocumented people, especially women and children from Central America and the Caribbean," the news release said.

Torres-Puello faces charges in the United States of conspiracy to take foreigners into the country illegally, it said. In El Salvador, he and his wife, Ana Josefa Ramirez Orellana, face charges of presumed sexual exploitation of minors and women, it said. Ramirez Orellana is jailed in El Salvador. The drug agency said Torres-Puello forced Nicaraguan and Dominican children to work as prostitutes in El Salvador.

Torres-Puello is also wanted in Vermont on alien smuggling offenses and in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, for probation violations for fraud, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency said. He is also wanted in Canada.

Shortly after the American missionaries were arrested in Haiti on kidnapping and abduction charges, Torres-Puello contacted their church in Idaho, identified himself as a legal authority on Haitian and Dominican law, obtained a retainer and began representing himself as their attorney/spokesman, the U.S. agency said.

But Torres-Puello is not registered in the country's College of Lawyers, implying that he was practicing without a license, the Dominican drug agency said.

In February, law enforcement authorities in El Salvador suspected that the missionaries' legal adviser looked like a man they were seeking, and asked Interpol to help. The international police agency coordinated the efforts of various agencies that resulted in Thursday's arrest, the ICE statement said.

In a phone interview last month with CNN, Torres-Puello acknowledged he is the same man wanted by Salvadoran authorities but denied the charges against him.

"I never did anything," Torres-Puello said. "I started helping a Dominican pastor helping a lot of people who were stranded to get back to their home countries. We once gave some Nicaraguan and Costa Rican women some money to return home and instead they went to the authorities and put in a complaint against us. I never had anybody against their will."
He also denied Salvadoran allegations that he and his wife ran a brothel out of their home. "I know I am innocent and I want to clear my past," he said.

Journalist Diulka Perez contributed to this story from Santo Domingo.

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Attorney wanted for Child Trafficking in Haiti Dominican Republic
CNN - March 1, 2010





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Interpol wants alleged Dominican native in Haiti row
Dominican Today - February 16, 2010


Santo Domingo.- The agencies which investigate major crimes around the world, headed by Interpol, issued an alert for the arrest of Jorge Torres Orellana or Jorge Aníbal Puello Torres, wanted on charges of heading a major people trafficking ring, and through fingerprints determine if he’s a native of Dominican Republic or El Salvador.

Interpol said Orellana is accused in El Salvador of heading an international trafficking people network, and perhaps related to the Americans who tried to take 33 children out of Haiti across the border with Dominican Republic.

Interpol police services director Jean-Michel Louboutin said the “red alert” has been proven effective to help police globally, to locate and arrest fugitives, by “severely” limiting their movement and possibilities of crossing borders.


Jorge Torres Orellana or Jorge Puello Torres made news in January, when the international media reported the arrest of the 10 Americans who illegally tried to take the Haitian children out of the devastated country.

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Joint international manhunt leads to arrest of fugitive wanted in three countries
ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) - March 19, 2010

News Releases


MARCH 19, 2010
WASHINGTON, DC
Joint international manhunt leads to arrest of fugitive wanted in three countries

WASHINGTON - An international manhunt has ended with the capture of Jorge Torres-Puello aka Jorge Torres Orellana. After a coordinated effort between the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS), U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and multiple law enforcement agencies in the United States and overseas, Torres-Puello was located in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, and arrested without incident by local authorities there Thursday at 8 p.m.

Torres-Puello is wanted in El Salvador for crimes against children, sexual exploitation of minors for pornography and prostitution, organized crime and human trafficking. In the United States, he is wanted in Vermont on alien smuggling offenses and in Philadelphia for probation violations for fraud. He is also wanted in Canada. Before and after his previous arrests in the United States and Canada, Torres-Puello assumed several fraudulent identities and was known by several aliases.

"The location and arrest of this fugitive, wanted by three countries on some of the most egregious charges that ICE investigates, is an example of top-notch cooperation among law enforcement agencies in all these countries and our colleagues at INTERPOL," said John Morton, assistant secretary of Homeland Security for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). "Hiding behind fake names or using phony identifications and passports will not protect those who prey on the most vulnerable in our societies. Together we will find you and bring you to justice."

"The capture of Jorge Torres-Puello is an exceptional example of the effective cooperation between law enforcement agencies across numerous borders and jurisdictions," said Director John F. Clark of the United States Marshals Service. "When we all come together for a common purpose, the world becomes a very small place for a fugitive to hide. I offer my sincere thanks to our many international and domestic partners who played a part in this arrest."

"This is a great example of how we work with our law enforcement partners to pursue individuals who have fled to international jurisdictions after their involvement in criminal activity and bring them to justice," said INTERPOL Washington Director Timothy Williams.
Torres-Puello's downfall started just after Haitian authorities detained 10 U.S. missionaries and held them on kidnapping and abduction charges. Shortly after their arrest, Torres-Puello contacted their church in Idaho and said he was a legal authority on Haitian and Dominican law. He obtained monetary retainer from the families of the missionaries and began representing himself to the Haitian court and international media as the attorney/spokesman for the detained Americans.

In February, law enforcement authorities in El Salvador were notified the individual acting as the legal advisor to the U.S. missionaries bore a strong resemblance to Jorge Torres Orellana, the man wanted by El Salvadorian authorities. Authorities in El Salvador requested the assistance of INTERPOL, and an INTERPOL Red Notice was issued to law enforcement agencies worldwide.

INTERPOL Washington, having previously been in communication with authorities in El Salvador, immediately confirmed Jorge Torres Orellana was in fact a fugitive from justice also wanted in Canada and the United States. INTERPOL Washington served as the intermediary in coordinating efforts between multiple agencies in the United States and overseas, resulting in the apprehension of Torres-Puello.

ICE and the USMS International Investigations Branch spearheaded the two-month long joint investigation along with law enforcement officials in Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Canada and El Salvador.

Continued efforts and participation from the Direccion Nacional de Control de Drogas in the Dominican Republic along with the assistance of INTERPOL Santo Domingo, D.R., proved to be essential assets in the investigation.


A combined effort by the agencies mentioned above, along with the indispensable participation of the U.S. Department of Justice Office of International Affairs; U.S. Department of State; U.S. Attorney Offices in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and the District of Vermont; Dominican Republic Office of the Attorney General; and the Embassy of the Dominican Republic in Washington, D.C. culminated in this arrest.

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International Criminal Extradited To United States

U.S. Marshals Service - September 13, 2010



For Immediate ReleaseContact:
September 13, 2010Chief Deputy U.S. Marshal Bill Gerke
District of Vermont, 802-951-6691;
USMS Office of Public Affairs, 202-307-9065
International Criminal Extradited To United StatesJorge Torres-Puello extradited from the Dominican Republic to Vermont
Washington – Jorge Torres-Puello was extradited from the Dominican Republic to the United States today. The Dominican Republic recently ordered his extradition and today U.S. Marshals escorted Torres-Puello to Vermont where he is wanted on alien smuggling offenses. Torres-Puello was the subject of an international manhunt that spanned several countries earlier this year.

The international manhunt ended March 18 with the capture of Torres-Puello aka Jorge Torres Orellana in the Dominican Republic. After a coordinated effort between the U.S. Marshals Service, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and multiple law enforcement agencies in the United States and overseas, Torres-Puello was located in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, and arrested.

“We would like to thank the Dominican authorities for granting the extradition of Jorge Torres-Puello, so he may face justice for his crimes," said Director John F. Clark of the United States Marshals Service. "This continued cooperation between international communities ensures fewer safe havens for criminals fleeing our borders."

After Haitian authorities detained 10 U.S. missionaries on kidnapping and abduction charges, Torres-Puello contacted their church in Idaho, claiming he was a legal authority on Haitian and Dominican law. Shortly after their arrest, Torres-Puello contacted their church in Idaho and said he was a legal authority on Haitian and Dominican law. He obtained money from the families of the missionaries and began representing himself to the Haitian court and international media as the attorney/spokesman for the detained Americans.

In February, law enforcement authorities in El Salvador were notified the individual acting as the legal advisor to the U.S. missionaries bore a strong resemblance to Jorge Torres Orellana, the man wanted by El Salvadorian authorities. Authorities in El Salvador requested the assistance of INTERPOL, and an INTERPOL Red Notice was issued to law enforcement agencies worldwide.

INTERPOL Washington, having previously been in communication with authorities in El Salvador, immediately confirmed Jorge Torres Orellana was in fact a fugitive from justice also wanted in Canada and the United States. INTERPOL Washington served as the intermediary in coordinating efforts between multiple agencies in the United States and overseas, resulting in the apprehension of Torres-Puello.

“The extradition of Torres-Puello is the culmination of the high level of collaboration and coordination between INTERPOL Washington and our law enforcement partners,” said INTERPOL Washington Director Timothy A. Williams. “This case was another example of the strong partnership between law enforcement agencies to pursue individuals who have fled to international jurisdictions after their involvement in criminal activity and bring them to justice.”

Along with the U.S. Marshals Service International Investigations Branch and ICE, law enforcement officials in Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Canada and El Salvador participated in this international case.

Continued efforts and participation from the Direccion Nacional de Control de Drogas in the Dominican Republic along with the assistance of INTERPOL Santo Domingo, D.R., proved to be essential assets in the investigation.

A combined effort by the agencies mentioned above, along with the indispensable participation of the U.S. Department of Justice Office of International Affairs; U.S. Department of State; U.S. Attorney Offices in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and the District of Vermont; Dominican Republic Office of the Attorney General; and the Embassy of the Dominican Republic in Washington, D.C. culminated in this arrest and extradition.


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Legal adviser in Haiti kidnap case extradited to U.S.
CNN - September 14, 2010

Washington (CNN) -- A man who provided legal advice to 10 U.S. Baptists accused of kidnapping 33 Haitian children after January's earthquake has been extradited from the Dominican Republic to the United States on alien-smuggling charges, the U.S. Marshals Service said.

Jorge Torres-Puello, also known as Jorge Torres Orellana, was arrested March 18 in Santo Domingo, capital of the Dominican Republic. The Caribbean nation recently ordered his extradition, and Torres-Puello was escorted Monday to Vermont, where he faces charges.
After Haitian authorities detained 10 U.S. missionaries this year on kidnapping and abduction charges, Torres-Puello contacted their church in Idaho, saying he was a legal authority on Haitian and Dominican law, the Marshals Service said.

"He obtained money from the families of the missionaries and began representing himself to the Haitian court and international media as the attorney/spokesman for the detained Americans," the Marshals Service said in a release Monday.

"In February," the agency said, "law enforcement authorities in El Salvador were notified the individual acting as the legal adviser to the U.S. missionaries bore a strong resemblance to Jorge Torres Orellana, a man wanted by El Salvadorian authorities on human-trafficking charges. Authorities in El Salvador requested the assistance of Interpol, and an Interpol Red Notice was issued to law enforcement agencies worldwide."

In a telephone interview with CNN this year, Torres-Puello acknowledged he is the same man wanted by Salvadoran authorities but denied the charges against him.

"I never did anything," Torres-Puello said. "I started helping a Dominican pastor helping a lot of people who were stranded to get back to their home countries. We once gave some Nicaraguan and Costa Rican women some money to return home and instead they went to the authorities and put in a complaint against us. I never had anybody against their will."
Torres-Puello is a Dominican who was born in New York, the Dominican Republic's National Drug Control Agency said at the time of his arrest.

"According to documents of authorities in the United States, the Dominican Republic as well as El Salvador and Costa Rica, this person is an important part of a network of traffickers of undocumented people, especially women and children from Central America and the Caribbean," the Dominican agency said in a release.

Torres-Puello faces charges in the United States of conspiracy to take foreigners into the country illegally.

In El Salvador, he and his wife, Ana Josefa Ramirez Orellana, face charges of presumed sexual exploitation of minors and women, the agency said. The drug agency said Torres-Puello forced Nicaraguan and Dominican children to work as prostitutes in El Salvador.

Torres-Puello denied those allegations in his interview with CNN.

"I know I am innocent and I want to clear my past," he said.

In addition to Vermont, Torres-Puello is wanted in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, for probation violations for fraud, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency said. He also is wanted in Canada.

The 10 U.S. Baptist missionaries were arrested January 29 as they attempted to cross the Haitian border with the Dominican Republic with 33 Haitian children. Haiti said the missionaries did not have legal paperwork for the youngsters and held them on child-trafficking charges.

The missionaries, known as the New Life Children's Refuge, denied any wrong-doing, saying they had received permission to take the children to a Dominican orphanage.

Nine of the 10 missionaries were released later, but group leader Laura Silsby was detained until a trial in May. She was found guilty and sentenced to time served. She and the others have returned to the United States, most of them to Idaho.

The 7.0-magnitude January 12 earthquake in Haiti killed 230,000 people, injured about 300,000 and left 1 million people homeless, the Haitian government said.



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Fugitive who posed as lawyer following Haitian earthquake sentenced to 3 years in federal prison for alien smuggling
ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement ) - June 16, 2011

PRESS RELEASE:

BURLINGTON, Vt. – A fugitive, who was captured after an international manhunt led by agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), was sentenced Wednesday to three years and one month in federal prison after pleading guilty to alien smuggling charges.

Jorge Torres, 34, was already a fugitive when he was indicted in 2003 by a federal grand jury in Burlington, Vt., on charges of conspiring to smuggle aliens from Central America into the United States through Canada in 2002. At the time of his indictment, he was living in Canada under the name "George Simard" after he absconded from federal supervised release following a 1999 bank fraud conviction.

Starting in 2003, the U.S. government sought Torres' extradition from Canada to face the alien smuggling charges. However, he could not be located.

In early 2010, Torres surfaced in the Dominican Republic posing as a lawyer representing American church workers detained in Haiti in the wake of the earthquake in that country. Torres convinced a church that he was Jorge Torres Puello, an international lawyer and president of "Puello Consulting" in the Dominican Republic.

Torres obtained a monetary retainer from the families of the detained missionaries and began representing himself to the Haitian court and international media as the attorney/spokesman for them. However, U.S. authorities recognized him as Jorge Torres when media reports showed images of the "alleged" lawyer wearing a suit and carrying a brief case.

An extradition package was prepared and sent to representatives in the Dominican Republic. Torres was arrested, detained and extradited to the United States to face the 2003 alien smuggling charges in Vermont. He pleaded guilty to the charges.

At the June 15 sentencing, U.S. District Court Judge William K. Sessions referred to Torres' lack of regard for court orders as "egregious." The court credited Torres with 20 months served because he had previously been in custody in Canada and the Dominican Republic. Torres was also sentenced to a two-year term of supervised release.

"It's surprising that Jorge Torres came out of hiding to fraudulently misrepresent himself," said Bruce M. Foucart, special agent in charge of ICE HSI in New England. "However, it's not surprising that ICE was able to positively identify this fugitive from justice. The determination to establish the true identity of the individual hiding behind fake names, presenting fraudulent identities, and violating public trust as part of this egregious activity was paramount to our mission to bring him to justice."

ICE HSI and the U.S. Marshals Service's International Investigations Branch spearheaded the two-month long joint investigation with assistance from law enforcement officials in Haiti, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador and Canada.
The following agencies also assisted in this investigation: the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of International Affairs; the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania; the U.S. Attorney's Office for the and the District of Vermont; the Department of State; the Dominican Republic Office of the Attorney General; the Embassy of the Dominican Republic in Washington, D.C.; INTERPOL Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic; and the Direccion Nacional de Control de Drogas, Dominican Republic.

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Legal Advisor to Idaho-10 Gets 3-Year Sentence
The Sentinel (Haitian News) - June 16, 2011


BURLINGTON, USA - Jorge Orellana Torres Puello, the man who posed as legal adviser to the Idaho-10, the church group which sought to traffic 33 children out of Haiti in February of 2010, will serve time in prison.


A federal court issued Torres a 37 month prison sentence on a 2002 case in which he smuggled people into the United States from Canada.

Torres has eluded authorities in the U.S., Canada, El Salvador and Costa Rica, for 6 years but was discovered in the Dominican Republic when he appeared as adviser for the Idaho-10.


The group from Idaho were released from prison and its ring leader, Laura Silsby, served 3 months and 8 days before being released. Silsby was facing a maximum of 3 years.


Subsequent investigations found that all but one of the 33 children that the group attempted to traffic out of Haiti had at least one living parent.


Extradited to the United States in September of 2010, it is expected that Torres will be released in 8 months for time spent incarcerated in Canada and the Dominican Republic.
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Involved in sexual exploitation network says he was extorted by a judge and a former prosecutor 
La Pagina - September 4, 2013
(Translated From Spanish to English using Google)


The defendant claims that the charges against him and his wife are false and claims to have been forced to pay $ 400,000 by members of the judiciary.



In May 2009, a couple was accused of recruiting young people for sexual exploitation. One of those involved argued that the accusations against him are false and claims to have been beaten by a judge and a prosecutor who allegedly fabricated evidence to force him to pay $ 400 thousand dollars.
 
Jorge Torres Puello, who faces a court order against him, recently contacted The Daily Page from the U.S. -Where he currently resides, to explain their immigration status and its relationship to the facts point to it as responsible, with his wife, having recruited three young Nicaraguans and two Dominican women from their countries of origin, for forced prostitution in a town house in Versailles, San Juan Resume, department of La Libertad. 

Torres Puello, who has Salvadoran, Dominican and American nationality-holding that the charges against him are false and that the reason is because freedom is achieved prove to a judge of the U.S. that he was being extorted by members of the judiciary of El Salvador. 

Through a long distance phone call, Torres Puello said that "the Judge of First Instance of San Juan Resume, David A. Moran, and prosecutor Unit Illegal Trafficking in Persons, invented the charges against to extort money from his family. " 

He further stated that the day they arrested his wife received a call from (then) prosecutor who told him "the best I could do was return to Dominican Republic to find money if you want to leave the problem that his wife was". 

"I asked him what he was talking and he said: 'Look, we know it all, you have a warrant dated U.S. in 2003 by passing people from Canada to the U.S.' He said that it showed that I was doing the same in El Salvador and I stressed that if he feared for the health of my wife, who was 4 or 5 months pregnant, to fetch money. " 

Torres Puello claims to have paid the amount of $ 400 thousand a judge, former prosecutor, several policemen and alleged victims of Dominican origin, by way of extortion, for which he had to sell a house. 

The Daily Page contacted the judge of First Instance of San Juan Resume, David Moran, who said that such arguments are completely false. Also added that Torres is a fugitive from the law, as there is an international arrest warrant against him for the crime of trafficking and that "his claims are a smokescreen because what he says is incoherent and untenable in legal terms" . 

In an attempt to know the position of former prosecutor, Journal The page also contacted the Attorney General's Office, which indicated that the official "they had years of not working for the institution." 

Torres Puello said the prosecution has alleged false statements made by witnesses who lied following a request by the former prosecutor. "You may notice that your statements are lies and that none of the victims reached agreement. Yet the defense does have reliable documents which show that the allegations are false," he said. 

According to the prosecution, Torres Puello is a fugitive from justice, but remains in force issued an international arrest to be extradited and tried in the country. 

The defendant, who currently resides in the city of New York, argued that it was released on December 7, 2010 after being extradited from the Dominican Republic to the U.S. after verifying his innocence. He further stated that "according to international law can not be re-extradited to a third country" and that personal safety can not return to El Salvador. 


Alleged case of sexual exploitation 
In May 2009, three young Nicaraguans and two Dominican women filed a complaint with the Prosecutor, ensuring that had been recruited in their home countries by Ana Josefa Galvarina Orellana Torres Puello and and being in El Salvador had been forced to pose underwear. 

The women accused the couple put their pictures on a Facebook page for the purpose of prostitution. 

The case was brought to court in Santa Tecla where a sentence of eight years for women was issued. Her husband, however, went back to Dominican Republic. "I did sell some goods and help my wife, but being in that country also had to face justice," he said. 

"I never took to El Salvador to these people, the evidence that has been presented in a U.S. court and which consists in a migration certification demonstrates the opposite," he said. 

The accused, who has served three years in prison, filed an appeal to be freed from charges. The resolution would be released on August 21, but the judge declined jurisdiction Santa Tecla, so the case was referred to the Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice to be used again. After deciding which court will be shipped, if Galvarina Orellana initiate a new trial. 

In this regard, reiterated that Torres Puello record review will serve to evaluate the evidence. "The judge's admitted and referred the case to the House for a new trial. If the penal code reads will realize that what we did was expose the lies of the prosecution in a new trial," said.




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For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this update for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

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"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."  –– Margaret Mead


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