Ecuador: a health official was arrested for arranging meetings with minors and then abusing them

The 51-year-old man operated in the Galapagos. Photographs and videos involving children and adolescents were found on his computer. One of the victims was his niece

Yalilé Loaiza
June 25, 2021

The detainee faces charges for child pornography and for contacting minors for sexual purposes by electronic means (Photo: courtesy of the State Attorney General’s Office)

The operation “Impact 513” carried out by the National Police of Ecuador allowed the capture and detention of Luis Bartolomé VV . The 51-year-old man is a public official in the health field and was arrested at his home on San Cristóbal Island in the Galapagos. Luis Bartolomé contacted minors through Facebook and used them for child pornography.

After eight months of investigation, and with the support of the US agency Homeland Security Investigation, the National Cybercrime Unit of Ecuador carried out a raid on the man’s home, where they seized a laptop, an internal hard drive, two mobile terminals and three memory cards.

The detainee faces two charges: one for child pornography and the other for sexual contact with minors under 18 years of age by electronic means. For the first crime, the man could be sentenced from 13 to 16 years in prison, while for the second crime, the sentence ranges from one to three years, according to the Comprehensive Penal Code of Ecuador (COIP).

Luis Bartolomé communicated with his victims through the Facebook messaging service. According to the information provided by the Police and collected in local media, his goal was to perform sexual acts. In addition, the detainee asked the victims for photographs and videos of a pornographic nature. For this, he used deception, intimidation, and even gifts and bank transfers to bribe minors.

One of the victims, authorities have revealed, is the daughter of the sister of the detainee’s wife. That is to say, he was also looking to his niece for these crimes. This aggravates the crime because the COIP, “when the offender is the father, mother, relative up to the fourth degree of consanguinity or second degree of affinity, guardian, legal representative, curator or belongs to the intimate environment of the family; Minister of worship, professor, teacher, or person who, due to his profession or activity, has abused the victim, will be punished with a custodial sentence of twenty-two to twenty-six years.”

Lieutenant Colonel Gonzalo García, head of the National Cybercrime Unit of the Police, reported that pornography with the use of children and adolescents is a crime that has increased in Ecuador. He also indicated that there are three dismantled organizations and three people detained.

According to official figures, in 2019 there were 46 complaints of pornography with the use of children and adolescents. In 2020, there were 35 complaints and in the first half of 2021 there are 37 complaints, exceeding the number of total complaints from last year. Child pornography is the second most reported sexual crime in the digital sphere in the country.

Since the beginning of the pandemic the number of grooming cases has skyrocketed around the world, namely the contact with minors by electronic means for sexual purposes.

Grooming is understood as the contact of adults with girls, boys and adolescents, generally for sexual purposes, or extortion through false identities, through social networks, online games, messages, chats, among others.

The Chief of the National Cybercrimes Unit of the Police suggested that, in order to prevent minors from being victims of these crimes, “ there must be direct contact and communication between parents and children, because unfortunately we have shown that minors, from an early age have access social networks, electronic devices, and many times the parents are unaware of their activities.

If someone knows or is a victim of a similar case of violence in the digital environment, they should go to the State Attorney General’s Office and report, they can also ask for help from the citizen initiative reportalaviolenciadigital@riseup.net , where due confidentiality will be kept and will be provided the necessary attention.

Read the original coverage from InfoBae at https://www.infobae.com/america/america-latina/2021/06/25/ecuador-un-funcionario-de-salud-fue-detenido-por-acordar-encuentros-con-menores-para-luego-abusar-de-ellos/

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