San José, Costa Rica, since 1956
Scandals

Plaintiff in sexual assault case against Costa Rica ex-lawmaker Justo Orozco rejects out-of-court settlement

An attorney for the alleged victim in a sexual assault case against former Costa Rican legislator Justo Orozco on Wednesday evening said his client had rejected a proposed out-of-court settlement. Attorney Santiago Arguedas said he would move forward with preparations for a criminal trial.

“A legal case for a serious crime such as a sexual offense must be followed through to its final consequences,” Arguedas said at a press conference in his office in San José.

Arguedas denied reports by several media outlets on Tuesday regarding a possible settlement in the case.

“This case is not about flirting as the ex-lawmaker recently stated. It’s about criminal behavior, and that is what we told the court,” Araya said. “Orozco’s public statements in recent days are consistent with my client’s testimony, and he is admitting that the events occurred as described.”

Arguedas said the alleged victim is stable and receiving psychological treatment that is recommended in cases of abuse.

National Police officers on June 30 arrested Orozco, an outspoken anti-gay and evangelical former Costa Rican Renovation Party lawmaker, following the woman’s claims that he allegedly sexually attacked her inside a motel in Pavas, west of San José. The victim claims the two had met for a possible job interview, but ended up at the motel against the plaintiff’s will.

The victim said at the time that Orozco then attempted to close the motel room’s garage door to trap her inside, but she managed to escape. According to her attorney, the plaintiff then ran to a nearby police precinct, where she reported the incident. Statements by police following the arrest said the alleged victim had flagged down a passing patrol car, but Arguedas clarified that his client had actually gone to a nearby police station.

Orozco was arrested minutes later while driving near the motel and later released under preventive measures. The self-described moral crusader and outspoken advocate of “traditional family values” faces up to six years in prison if convicted of aggravated sexual assault, and three additional years if convicted of holding the alleged victim against her will.

Orozco has told reporters he is innocent, and the entire incident was a big misunderstanding. His attorney told the daily La Nación that the alleged victim had actually harassed Orozco, phoning him several times to solicit a meeting.

But the story doesn’t end there – a second plaintiff, a corrections officer at a large prison outside of Costa Rica’s capital, also came forward on July 1 and filed separate criminal sexual assault charges against Orozco for an incident that took place the same day as the alleged motel attack.

Contact L. Arias at larias@ticotimes.net

Log in to comment