On March 26, 2015, FAIR reporter Adam Johnson published an article concerning the sexual abuse of Colombian children by the U.S. military. According to a recently published 800-page report commissioned by the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), U.S. military personnel raped at least fifty-four children in Colombia between 2003 and 2007. The report, written with assistance by historian and activist Renan Vega, alleges that most of the assaults occurred in the town of Melgar, about sixty miles south of the capital city of Bogotá.
In 2004, more than fifty underage girls in Melgar were sexually abused by military contractors; these sordid acts were “filmed, sold, and distributed as pornographic material.” Vega reports other instances of sexual abuse, including the drugging and rape of a twelve-year-old girl by Sergeant Michael Coen and defense contractor César Ruiz at the Germán Olano Air Base in 2007. Despite warrants issued for the arrest of Coen and Ruiz by Colombian prosecutors, the warrants were not executed due to diplomatic immunity granted to military personnel and civilian contractors. In fact, no arrests have been made in any of the cases regarding children raped by U.S. military officials.
Although some foreign news outlets such as the UK’s Daily Mail, Russia’s RT, and Venezuela’s Telesur have reported on the scandal, not a single U.S. mainstream domestic news outlet has covered any aspects of the report to date.
Adriaan Alsema. “At Least 54 Colombian Girls Sexually Abused By Immune US Military: Report.” Colombia Reports, March 23, 2015, http://colombiareports.co/more-than-54-colombian-girls-sexually-abuses-by-us-military-report/.
Adam Johnson. “Colombian Report on US Military’s Child Rapes Not Newsworthy to US News Outlets,” FAIR Blog (Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting), March 26, 2015, http://fair.org/blog/2015/03/26/colombian-report-on-us-militarys-child-rapes-not-newsworthy-to-us-news-outlets/.
Student Researcher: Madeline Pajerowski (Burlington College)
Faculty Evaluator: Rob Williams (Burlington College)