HIS profile picture on a social networking page shows him smiling, next to a young girl who posed with a pout. Between them is an image of a heart-shaped leaf.
That was one of several photos that eventually led the Bogo City Police Station to the house of David Ray Carpenter, 68, whom they arrested last Friday night for allegedly cohabiting with a minor.
“Kung makikita mo ang Facebook account niya at ang mga pictures niya, morag lovers na gyud sila (If their Facebook pictures are any indication, they appear to be lovers),” said Chief Insp. Richard Oliver, the city’s police chief, in a phone interview.
Carpenter’s alleged lover Pixie (real name withheld), 17, was rescued in Barangay Odlot, Bogo by Oliver’s team, which included social workers and Women and Children’s Protection Desk (WCPD) personnel.
The girl’s mother and father, both 47, were also detained for allegedly allowing their child to stay in a relationship with Carpenter, a retired United States serviceman.
(Sun.Star Cebu is withholding the parents’ names to protect the identity of the minor.)
For allegedly having a relationship with a minor, Carpenter violated Republic Act (RA) 9208 or the Anti-trafficking in Persons Act as amended by RA 10364; and RA 7610 or the Special Protection of Children against Abuse, Exploitation, and Discrimination Act, the police chief said.
Last June 3, Bogo City Police also arrested American national Harold Glover, 69, for allegedly paying minors in exchange for sex.
Sun.Star Cebu tried to interview the foreigner and parents through the police station desk officer’s phone, but they refused.
Carpenter and Pixie reportedly started to live together last February. They were neighbors.
He came to know the girl after the latter’s mother started to work for him, doing household chores and laundry. Pixie’s father is reportedly jobless.
“Daghan ihatag og regalo aron ma-convince ang minor nga mouban gyud niya (He gave her many gifts to convince her to live with him),” said Oliver.
Carpenter reportedly planned to travel back to the United States, but it was unclear if Pixie would go with him.
Oliver added that the girl’s mother was in the audience of a recent seminar on human trafficking conducted by the Children’s Legal Bureau (CLB) in Odlot.
Carpenter, who used to be based in North Carolina, is reportedly divorced from a Filipina resident of Barangay Odlot, which Catholics visit for its statue of the Blessed Virgin. The latter is rumored to have miraculous properties.
His alleged romance with Pixie was on full display, according to WCPD Chief Glecilda Claro. Neighbors and barangay officials reported him to the police.
Claro said the police conducted surveillance and applied for a search warrant after they confirmed that Pixie was living with the man.
Bogo City Regional Trial Court Branch 61 Judge Antonio D. Marigomen issued the warrant, which Oliver’s team brought in raiding the house.
50 Shades DVD
Some of the items recovered in the house were a pellet gun, a box of pellets, condoms, memory cards and flash drives.
DVDs of Hollywood movies “Cruel Intentions,” “The Boy Next Door” and “Fifty Shades of Grey” were also found by Oliver’s team.
Pixie was turned over to the Provincial Women’s Commission for counseling and interview.
Oliver said that Carpenter and Pixie’s parents may be charged today with violations of RA 9208 as amended by RA 10364 and RA 7610 before the Bogo City Prosecutor’s Office.
Under RA 9208, a person is prohibited “to recruit, transport, transfer; harbor, provide, or receive a person by any means, including those done under the pretext of domestic or overseas employment or training or apprenticeship, for the purpose of prostitution, pornography, sexual exploitation, forced labor, slavery, involuntary servitude or debt bondage.”
Section 10 (b) of RA 7610 prohibits any person to be in the company of “a minor, 12 years or under or who is 10 years or more his junior in any public or private place, hotel, motel, beer joint, discotheque, cabaret, pension house, sauna or massage parlor, beach and/or other tourist resort or similar places.”