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Editor’s Note: This is the second Adult Disclaimer used in this series. The first prefaced “Above the law? Shriner Treasurers' Minutes, Part 10,” published on November 16, 2006 and can be read here.
What began as a federal libel/slander lawsuit between two Brazilian fishing tour operators has led to the possibility that “Masons” on such a fishing trip participated in child sex tourism and minor prostitution. The term “Mason” is used here because that is how two Brazilian fishing guides, called as witnesses for the defense, referred to members of the Royal Order of Jesters identified in their recent depositions.
This is the second of two articles explaining what court records have thus far revealed in this legal battle, described here.
The first article, “Jesters to Testify about Illegal Drugs and Minor Prostitution?” explains how 19 members of the Royal Order of Jesters, who went on a sanctioned fishing trip to Brazil, were also called as witnesses for the defense. The witness list can be read here.
The article also referred to statements from “Jane Does” 1 – 4, one of whom testified to Brazilian federal police that she was 13 and allegedly left pregnant after such a trip. The girls’ statements can be read here.
These same four girls, two who were 16 at the time, with the others being 13 and 14 years old, have also been called as witnesses for the defense.
Brazilian authorities took the same girls’ statements as part of their investigation into a criminal report that “since the year 2000, minor Indian and other girls living near the rivers in the region of the Municipality of Autazes/AM became victims of sexual exploitation by North-American foreign tourists.”
Two fishing guides, who previously worked for the plaintiff, were deposed by the Brazilian federal police to describe what they witnessed as part of this same investigation into the international crime of “child sex tourism.” These guides, both brothers, recently spent three days in Miami with attorneys from both sides, interpreters, a videographer and both parties as they testified about what they witnessed as well as identified those in pictures of “Masons” allegedly having sex with teen prostitutes, some underage.
These groups are related. Once a man becomes a Master Mason, he can then join other groups such as the Scottish Rite, the Knights Templar and the Shriners. Once a Master Mason joins the Shriners, he may be invited to join the Royal Order of Jesters, a secret sub-group whose sole purpose is to “spread the gospel of mirth and merriment.”
The red-fez wearing Shriners are best known for “having fun & helping kids” while the Shriners Hospitals are best known for providing free medical care to burned and crippled children. This investigation is not about those faithful Shriners who have devoted decades to support the hospitals and put smiles on the faces of the burned and crippled children. This investigation is about the Shriners’ lack of non profit disclosure, accountability and transparency in addition to asking why the Shriners intimidate, silence and sue those who ask about crimes instead of prosecuting those who commit the crimes.
Having said that, this is not the only prostitution scandal involving the Royal Order of Jesters. The Buffalo News is continuing to report how three Jesters were caught by the FBI in an illegal-alien prostitution sting, including a retired New York supreme court judge, his law clerk and a retired police captain who pleaded guilty to one felony count of taking prostitutes across state lines to Jesters’ parties.
Back to these depositions. They were recently made public through the PACER system that provides information and documentation about federal court cases.
Relevant parts of these depositions will provided here, edited for clarity, however they also provide a glimpse into legal tactics resembling hand-to-hand combat that could well be found in a John Grisham novel.
The first deposition, 61 pages, was provided by Adilson Garcia da Silva on Sunday, April 13, 2008. He describes how he became a fishing guide, his work history, how marijuana was allegedly obtained for the plaintiffs’ clients then began describing how girls, from age 13 on up, were lured into prostitution from Brazilian Indian reservations for the fishing trips’ clients. The girls, he said, were hired to provide “programs” that consisted of “oral sex, strip and dance contests.”
The attorney for the defense is “Question”. Adilson is “Answer.”
Question: Did any of the girls tell you that they engaged in sex with Wet-a-Line clients?
Question: Did they describe to you specifically what type of sex that they had with the Wet-a-Line customers?
Answer: All types.
Question: Did the girls tell you that they were involved in different types of sex acts with Wet-a-Line customers?
Question: Did you ever witness any Wet-a-Line customer having sex, whether it was traditional sex or oral sex, from one of these prostitutes?
Question: If you could describe for us some of the types of things that you were told by, either saw or told by these prostitutes as to what specifically was occurring on these Wet-a-Line boats?
Answer: I would see it on the boat that they were practicing oral sex. We would be fishing and sometimes we’d go by and they were practicing oral sex.
Question: Did the girls -- did you ever see or hear anything from the girls, these prostitutes, that they came to you or did they come to you and say that they did anything unusual with any of the customers?
Answer: Well, a sex that I had never seen, was to shove a ball in the behind and I, you know, they would say that and I heard it.
Question: Was there a certain set or group of people customer-wise that participated in these sex acts with customer, excuse me, with the prostitutes, or was it just general customers that came aboard the boat?
Answer: No, they were groups who came exclusively to do that type of thing.
Question: And were those groups mainly American men?
Question: Can you describe for us -- I mean I know you indicated earlier that at some point in time the Amazon Santana, I believe you referred to it as, and the Santana I were joined together for the women and the men to get together. What would a typical night be when the boats would join together?
Answer: You know, party, drinking, strip, sex, drugs, everything.
Question: Do you know the ages of some of the girls that were on the boats with these customers, Wet-a-Line customers, at the time that you worked for Wet-a-Line?
Question: What were some of the ages of the women?
Answer: They would always say they were of age, but they were never of age.
Question: Did you know for a fact that they were not of age?
Answer: Some, yes. Some were not of age.
Question: When you say of age, are you referring to 18 or is it a different age?
Answer: Yes, from 18 up, it is of age.
Question: And is it your understanding that there were girls that were under 18 that were hired to be on these boats as prostitutes.
Question: What is the youngest age that you’re aware of girls being prostitutes on the Wet-A-Line boats?
Answer: They said they were 18, but some of them were 16, 17.
Question: What is the youngest age that you’re aware of a girl being on the boat as a prostitute?
Answer: My brother would pick up a group of girls in Autazes and would take by boat to an American. One was 13, one was 14, and there was one who was even 9 years old.
Question: Were the girls that were brought on the boats, were they given alcohol?
Answer: They would drink.
Question: Okay. Sir, I have provided to you what has been marked as Composite Exhibit B, Defendants’ Composite Exhibit B. If you can take a look at the photographs, please?
Answer: I have already looked at them.
Question: Okay. Are these photographs true and correct copies of pictures that you have taken in the past?
Question: The first picture, which is Bates labeled, on the top, 00655 for identification purposes. Do you recognize the girl in this photo?
Question: Who is she?
Answer: This is Malu, or so called M-A-L-U.
Question: When were these pictures that are in Composite Exhibit B, when were all of these pictures taken?
Answer: This one was last year.
Question: When last year?
Answer: I don’t know the month. I don’t know exactly the month but I think it was September.
Question: Of 2007?
Question: And was anyone else around you when you took these pictures, other than the two people that are identified in the picture?
Answer: There were.
Question: Who else was around you when you took this picture?
Answer: Two American fishermen and two girls, prostitutes.
Question: Was Malu hired as a prostitute at the time that you took this picture?
Question: Was -- what looks to be a gentleman next to Malu, do you know who that person is?
Answer: Yes I know.
Question: Was a he a customer of Wet-A-Line?
Answer: He was, he was a fisherman, a Wet-A-Line’s fisherman.
Question: How old was Malu at the time you took this picture?
Answer: She was 17.
Question: And were these girls hired to be on board this boat, on this day that you took this picture, to be prostitutes?
Question: The next picture, 00663. Can you identify any of the individuals in this picture?
Question: Where did you take this picture?
Answer: It was on the upper part of the boat at the beginning of dinner.
Question: A Wet-A-Line---
Answer: In the beginning of the party.
Question: Was it on a Wet-A-Line boat?
Question: Do you know who the males are that are identified in the picture?
Answer: These are the ones that they all called him Bob.
Question: Did they call both of these males Bob?
Answer: Yes. One would call this one Bob, and the other one also called the other one Bob, and I didn’t know who Bob was.
Question: Were they Wet-A-Line customers?
Question: Who were the females in the pictures, in this picture, excuse me.
Answer: These are the same ones that were in the other pictures, Malu and Kelly.
Question: And were these girls hired to be on board of this boat, on this day that you took this picture, to be prostitutes?
Question: How often did you see these two Bobs on the Wet-a-Line boats?
Answer: They came every year. Every year they would come. The last time was now, last year.
Question: When last year?
Answer: It was September, the month of September.
Question: Is that when you took this picture?
Answer: It was.
Question: Turning to the next picture, 00664, can you identify any of the individuals in the picture?
Answer: I don’t know their names, but they were the boat’s clients.
Question: Do you know if they came with a certain organization?
Answer: The manager said that they were Masons. I didn’t know what Masons were. To me, it was like a religion, like a belief.
Question: Was it your understanding that there were certain Masons that came on these tours?
Question: Do you know what a Mason is?
Answer: I didn’t know what it was, but now I know that it’s an organization of people that are all over the world.
Question: Do you know if all these individuals in this picture were identified to you as being Masons?
Answer: Yes, it was a group.
Question: Were the two people in the prior picture a part of the Mason group?
Answer: It was the same group. For sure it was the same group.
Question: The next picture, 00668, did you take this picture?
Question: Do you know any of the individuals in this picture?
Answer: This one here, I know only by name, and he’s an American. I forgot his name. I forgot, but I know him by name.
Question: Is this Don Anderson?
Answer: That’s right. That’s the name. Don Anderson. He was the leader of the group, the chief of the group.
Question: Do you know the two females in this picture?
Answer: They were the ones who would be accompanying them from the same group.
Question: Why did you say that the gentleman listed in this picture was the leader? What made you think that he was the leader of the group?
Answer: Because the manager would tell us that he was, you know, the chief, the leader.
Question: Did these girls at the end of this night indicate to you that they were with this gentleman?
Deposition of Admilson Garcia da Silva, Tuesday April 15, 2008.
The attorney for the defense is “Question”. Admilson is “Answer.”
Question: Did you ever witness any of the Wet-A-Line customers engaging in sex acts with these women that were on the Wet-A-Line boats?
Question: What did you see?
Answer: I saw five, five of them, five women and five men, and two of the women were minors.
Question: I’m sorry. You said you saw five men and five women and two of the women were minors. Is that what you said?
Answer: That’s right.
Question: And what did you see the men and women doing with each other?
Answer: There was one woman having sex with a man and the other -- the other women only gave them a blow job.
Question: Sir, I had asked you before we took a break what you saw the women engaging in with the men and if you could describe for us what you saw -- in this particular instance that you’re referring to what you saw at that time on the Wet-A-Line boats.
Answer: Exactly. So there were five men with five women, two of them were minors. And they did all types of, you know, sexual acts. And I took pictures but I -- I took pictures but I don’t have them here.
Question: Did you take pictures of what was happening with these men and women at the time you saw them performing sex with each other?
Question: How did you know the ages of the females that were on the boat at the time?
Answer: They told me.
Question: Did the girls appear very young to you?
Answer: Yes, they were girls. They were young girls. Because girls for us is very young.
Question: Now you have children that I believe you said are in the age range, or two of them are 14 and 12, correct?
Answer: The boy is 14, and the girl is 12.
Question: The girls that were hired for services on Wet-A-Line tours, did some of the girls look in the age range of your own daughter who is 12 years old?
Answer: Yes, they were small girls.
Deposition of Adilson Garcia da Silva, Tuesday, April 15, 2008.
Question: Was there ever a certain age group that you were asked to retain the services of meeting, a certain age group of females that you were ever asked to retain the services of while working at Wet-A-Line tours for specific – for a specific group of customers?
Answer: Yes. They always wanted young ones.
Question: Was there ever a specific age group that you were asked to hire for a specific group of customers?
Answer: They would ask from 13 on up.
Question: Was there a specific group of customers, of Wet-A-Line customers, that you were aware of that wanted a certain age group of women?
Answer: Yes, there was.
Question: Which group was that?
Answer: It was more so the group of masons that would ask for that.
Question: And was that the group of people that are identified in the pictures that you have provided in this case?
Admilson’s deposition can be found here.
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