Accused Tico Priest Found, Extradited, Imprisoned Here

April 27, 2007

Enrique Vásquez, a Costa Rican and former priest accused of sexual abuse, was extradited from Honduras April 20 and ordered to three months’ preventive prison in Costa Rica this week.

The priest, 47, was arrested April 18 in Tegucigalpa, where he was living and working as a tailor, through a coordinated effort between Honduran police and international police agency Interpol in San José, according to a statement from Interpol. In Honduras, Vásquez told people he met he was from Venezuela, but authorities confirmed his identity using his fingerprints.

Vásquez is believed to have left Costa Rica in December 1998, one day after the Child Welfare Office (PANI) accused him of abusing an 11-year-old boy in the north-central town of San Carlos, the daily La Nación reported. Police believe the acts took place while Vásquez was acting as priest at a Catholic church in Santa Rosa de Pocosol.

The 10-year statute of limitations on those accusations expired while Vásquez was in Honduras, according to La Nación.

However, one of his former altar boys has also accused Vásquez of molesting him five times between 1994-1997. The statute of limitations has expired for the first three of those offenses, but not the latter two.

Following his extradition, agents of the Judicial Investigation Police (OIJ) awaited Vásquez at JuanSantamaríaInternationalAirport, according to La Nación. The Criminal Court of Garabito ordered him placed in preventive detention; he is now at El Roble prison in the eastern province of Puntarenas.

 

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