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Women in sex scandal may have been minors

Sat., April 21, 2012, midnight

CARTAGENA, Colombia – Colombian authorities have opened a preliminary investigation into the U.S. Secret Service prostitution scandal out of concern that underage women might have been involved, a Colombian government official told McClatchy on Friday.

Investigators from the Colombian attorney general’s office have talked with employees of the hotel where the Secret Service agents were staying and have also questioned the taxi driver who drove home the woman whose complaint about not being adequately paid triggered the scandal, the official said.

Police also went to at least one of the adult entertainment clubs linked to the scandal to verify the ages of the women who worked there, a club employee said.

The Colombian probe into the ages of the women for the first time raises the possibility that some of the 21 Americans tied to the scandal – 11 Secret Service agents and 10 members of the U.S. military – could face criminal charges in Colombia, and not just ethics complaints within their agencies in the United States.

While sex for pay is legal between adults in Colombia, inducing a minor to engage in prostitution is illegal, the official said. As many as 21 women may have provided sexual services to the visiting Americans.

So far, officials have not found any evidence of any minors involved in the incident.

Hotel executives and workers have refused to talk about the case.



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