U.S. soldiers and military contractors sexually abused at least 54 children between 2003 and 2007, according to a report commissioned by the Colombian government and the FARC.
“There is abundant information about the sexual violence, which ocurred under absolute impunity because of the bilateral agreements and the diplomatic immunity of United States officials,” said Renan Vega of the Pedagogic University in Bogota, who helped write the report.
Vega detailed a case in 2004 in which military contractors sexually abused 54 girls and filmed [the abuse] and sold the films as pornographic material. The families of the victims received death threats and the victims fled the central Colombian town of Melgar.
The report also reveals that in 2007 U.S. Arrmy Sergeant Michael J. Coen and defense contractor Cesar Ruiz drugged and raped a 12-year-old girl inside their military base. Prosecution officials were not allowed to arrest the alleged rapists because of the immunity agreements between the U.S. military and Colombia.
Coen and Ruiz were flown out of the country and were never indicted in the U.S. The victim and her family were forced to flee from the region because people linked to the suspects were threatening them.
According to news agency El Turbion, “In 2006 there were 23 reported cases of sexual abuse committed by active American soldiers and another 14 in 2007.”
The 800-page report was commissioned by the government and the FARC rebel group to ascertain the causes and breadth of the 50-year internal conflict as part of the historic peace talks between the two sides.