Foreign retiree caught with four girls in motel room
What’s a 73-year-old foreigner doing with four little girls in a motel room?
Bogo city police arrested a Canadian national after entering the Gabrielle’s Court motel in Bogo City on Tuesday afternoon following a distress call from a mother of one of the girls who said minors were in the motel with him.
Levis Caouette Talbot, who hails from Quebec, Canada, expressed surprise at the arrest, saying there “was nothing wrong” happening.
The girls, aged 9 to 11, were fully clothed and watching TV with him in the room. Two of the girls are sisters from Consolacion town.
Police later arrested the same 27-year-old mother who complained and a 63-year-old grandmother after finding out both women had given their earlier consent for one of the girls from Bogo city to accompany the foreigner.
While the girls told police they were not molested, they were sent to the Pink Room of the Vicente Sottto Memorial Medical Center in Cebu city where child specialists will conduct a medical examination and check the kids for signs of abuse.
Talbot told police he resides in Lapu-Lapu City and was a retired freshwater environmental specialist who hails from Quebec, Canada. His driver’s license stated a postal address in Dipolog City, Zamboanga del Norte.
Talbot is now detained in the Bogo police jail where law enforcers are preparing to file a charge of violation of the Child Abuse law or Republic Act 7610 on Friday and human trafficking under Republic Act 9208 as amended by RA 10364.
Under the special law on protection of children or RA 7610, it is illegal for a person to be in the company of a minor 12 years old or younger, or one who is 10 years his junior in a public or private place, hotel, motel, beer joint or other tourist resort or similar places unless they are related by blood, affinity or some bond recognized by law, custom or tradition or performing acts in as part of a social, moral or legal obligation.
The penalty is imprisonment and a P50,000 fine.
Human trafficking involving minors draws a stiffer penalty and is a potentially non-bailable offense.
The situation got complicated when police discovered that one of the girls from Bogo had the consent of her mother.
“Gisagpa mani niya ang iyang anak sa pag-adto namo sa motel kay dili mukuyog niya pauli. Mao nga nahibaw-an namo nga kahibaw diay siya ani nga set-up,” said PO3 Rosalie Arnoco of Women and Children Protection Desk of Bogo City .
(She slapped her child’s face when we went to the motel because the girl would not go home with her. That’s how we found out that there was a prior setup.)
Police said the mother got irked when she earlier asked for P100 from Talbot to buy something but was only given P20 cash.
Talbot checked in the motel last Sunday. The management of the motel in barangay Taytayan cooperated with police in letting them enter the room about 3 p.m. last Tuesday.
PO3 Glecilda Claro of Bogo City WCPD said the 63-year-old grandmother of two girls who hail from Bogo City was also arrested. She was the contact of the foreigner.
“Dugay na ni sila kaila. Mag-anhaan na ang foreigner sa balay ani sa ilang lola ingon pa sa mga residente pero dili mi ka confirm if kuyog ba ang mga bata,” said Claro.
(They had known each other for some time. The foreigner would go to the grandmother’s house according to residents but we haven’t confirmed yet if the children also went there.)
The grandmother’s house was under renovation and expenses were allegedly being paid by Talbot. Police are checking whether the children’s visit to the motel was their first time they were brought there by Talbot.
The girls were turned over to the case of a relative after they were interviewed by the Bogo City social workers.
This is the third case since February of male foreigners being arrested in Bogo City for allegedly exploiting children for sex.
In February, 41-year-old Australian John Baker and his Filipina wife were apprehended for offering their daughter to another foreigner for sex.
Last month, police caught a 73-year-old American retiree in the act of performing oral sex on a 17-year-old boy in his car parked by the San Vicente wharf. The American was a retiree living in San Remigio town, and had been observed driving around the plaza of Bogo inviting children to come with him to eat.
With these incidents, Bogo City police chief Insp. Richard Oliver said that since March 20 local police have been strengthening their campaign against human trafficking in coordination with the city and a non-government organization.
“We will strengthen our information drive so the community will stay alert for suspicious foreigners in the company of children, and how to ask for help. The arrests only show we mean business here,” he told Cebu Daily News.
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