San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

U.S. Man Sentenced for Planning Sex with Minors

A court in Miami, Florida, sentencedformer U.S. teacher George Clarke, 43, tofive years in prison on Monday for planningto have sex with Costa Rican minors.Clarke is the last of 11 people arrestedin 2003 and 2004 and charged with payingthousands of dollars to a fictitioustravel agency to come to Costa Rica andhave sex with minors, the Costa Ricandaily Al Día reported.The 11 people were detained as theyattempted to board their planes to come toCosta Rica after paying for an excursionthat included sexual services from minorsin Costa Rica. The arrangements were madewith a fictitious online travel agency,called Costa Rica Taboo Vacations, set upby U.S. federal agents in the United States.Clarke, a New Jersey resident and aformer math and science teacher, had paid$1,610 to have sex with two 12-year-oldgirls, Al Día reported. According to, Clarke has two daughters aroundthe same age.Clarke and his lawyer argued that hewas being punished not for committing acrime, but for thinking of committing one.The former teacher was charged under theU.S. federal Protect Act of 2003, whichstates that a person who travels with theintent to engage in illicit sexual conduct,especially with someone under age 18,can face a fine or imprisonment of up to30 years, or both (TT, Feb. 4).Of the 10 others sentenced, sevenpleaded guilty, and three went to trial andwere declared guilty. Among those whopleaded guilty is a married couple fromSouth Carolina, Thomas Taylor, 52, and hiswife Christine, 42, who were arrested whenthey boarded a cruise ship bound for CostaRica. The couple had paid for sexual servicesto be given by two 16-year-olds.Glenn Koenemann, a 56-year-old residentof Florida who also pleaded guilty,had paid $425 to be with a 14-year oldgirl,and had requested another of 16years because he said he needed an oldergirl to accompany him to the beach withoutdrawing attention, Al Día reported.

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