San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Police Investigate Threats to Casa Alianza

JUDICIAL Investigative Police (OIJ)officials are investigating a bomb threatreceived by the San José office of theinternational children’s rights organizationCasa Alianza last weekend.Casa Alianza has found itself in recentweeks involved in a controversy with theCatholic Church involving the search forpriest Enrique Vásquez, sought by CostaRican authorities to face charges of sexuallyabusing a minor.“It’s not the first time we’ve receivedthese kinds of threats,” said CasaAlianza’s Legal Support Program coordinatorRocío Rodríguez. “This is not goingto stop us. We’re ready to continue thefight to defend children from those whoabuse minors, whatever they might becalled and whatever their religion mightbe.”The threat was left by an anonymouscaller who left a message on the organization’sanswering machine, Rodríguez said.The message said, “You know what?I’m going to plant a bomb and you’regoing to die. Stop pursuing the priest,” LaNación reported Tuesday.Casa Alianza and the Texas-basednewspaper The Dallas Morning News,working in tandem, had discovered thatVásquez was in a rural village inHonduras in March, but the priest wasgone by the time authorities arrived there(TT, July 2).Vásquez is sought on charges of abusingone child, but this week at least sixmore people stepped forward and allegedthat the priest had abused them as children,La Nación reported.Vásquez fled Costa Rica in December1994, just one day after functionaries ofthe Child Welfare Office (PANI) reportedthat he was suspected of having abusedan altar boy.The boy’s mother told The Tico Timeslast week, “I’m seeking justice formyself, my child, and all the children inthe world who are experiencing the same.I want him to go to jail.”

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