A federal grand jury has RE-indicted a former Lee County school bus driver—on charges he traveled to the Philippines to create child pornography. 59-year-old Donald J. Deverso—of Cape Coral—was arrested in April, after Customs agents found more than a hundred photos of young girls on his digital camera. A search of his home turned up more images. He’s been in jail since April 14th. Deverso now faces additional charges… that he went to the Philippines in October of 2004 to take pornographic images of children. According to investigators, he also visited Japan, Guam and South Korea. Deverso’s trial is scheduled for September. If convicted, he faces a minimum of 15 years in prison.
Around the world, an estimated 2-million children are forced into the commercial sex trade – according to officials at World Vision…a global child advocacy group. It’s been illegal since the mid 1990s for U-S citizens to engage in sex with underage children abroad… but prosecutors had to prove that men traveled out of the country with the intent to have sex with kids. Head of World Vision’s “Child Sex Tourism Prevention Project” - Joe Metamonno says a law – passed in 2000 – makes it easier to prosecute violators, and doubles the maximum penalty to 30 years in prison.
“The U-S Government is actively going after these guys now. U-S Immigration and Customs Enforcement – otherwise known as ICE – is aggressively going after these men, both overseas while their committing the act, and here in the United States. They’ve had over 20 arrests already in just the past 2 years of Americans who’ve committed this crime.”
It’s estimated that a quarter of sex tourists who seek out children hail from the U-S. Metamonno says the problem mostly takes place in developing countries. People who know someone who’s had sex with a child abroad should contact Immigration & Customs Enforcement – or visit World Vision’s website at stopchildtourism-dot-org.
Thursday, 08 September 2005 01:00