Thursday, July 17, 2014

Costa Rica: Update--US Gang-Rape Victim, 19, Refuses to Identify Her Rapists, Suspects Released

According to The Latin American Tribune, four Nicaraguans suspected of gang-raping a US tourist in northern Costa Rica were released on Wednesday (July 16) after the 19-year-old victim adamantly declined to witness a lineup that included the suspects.

“The young woman was counseled. The US Embassy in San José, our victims and witnesses attempted to help her, but she refused (to view the lineup). What’s certain is that we can’t keep the people in custody without the benefit of suspect identification,” the head of the OIJ investigative agency, Francisco Segura, told a press conference.

COMMENT: According to the US tourist’s version of her account, at approximately midnight last Sunday (July 13), she was walking back to her hotel in La Fortuna de San Carlos when she was approached by several men who took her by force to a house and repeatedly raped her.

The young woman, whose identity has not been revealed, is from the US state of Wisconsin and is part of a group of US  university students who arrived in Costa Rica last week to become familiar with the country.

Authorities said the case remains open, but they have little evidence that would allow them to continue with the investigation, in which the identification of the assailants by the victim is a critical component.

“Many rapes are not reported and we don’t know about them. Others are reported and are thrown out because the woman doesn’t want to re-victimize herself. Pure and simple, the victim opts to distance herself from the matter,” Segura said.

Authorities said that the victim remains in the country, although she had the option of returning to her country where she would have had the emotional comfort of family and friends.