Thursday, August 11, 2005

Mexican court charges U.S. man with rape

AP WorldStreamWednesday, August 10, 2005 7:31:00 PM

PUERTO VALLARTA, Mexico (AP) -- A judge ordered a San Francisco
businessman to stand trial on rape charges on Wednesday, but dismissed
corruption of minors charges because the statute of limitations had run
out on those counts.

Thomas White also faces charges of underage pornography, child
prostitution and providing drugs to a minor.

White's defense attorney, Jose Maria Ortega, denied the charges and
said the boy White is accused of raping was a prostitute.

"There is ample proof in the trial evidence that the guy who claims
to be a rape victim is a sex-seller," Ortega said.

White, who was extradited from Thailand to face charges in Mexico, is
also wanted in the United States. He is being held in the Pacific coast
resort of Puerto Vallarta, 400 miles (640 kilometers) northwest of Mexico City, where ha has a home and where the
abuse allegedly occurred.

Attorneys for White have denied the charges.

Mexican prosecutors have accused White in connection with sexually
abusing 14 minors -- many, allegedly street children -- in Puerto
Vallarta. The minors were first plied with alcohol or drugs, authorities
said.

White was arrested in Thailand in 2003 at the behest of Mexican
officials.

He founded the brokerage firm Thomas White & Co. in 1978 and owns
homes in Puerto Vallarta, San Francisco and Thailand.

A U.S. indictment accuses White of traveled many times to homes
outside Bangkok, Thailand, and near Puerto Vallarta to have sex with
children.

White is also accused of traveling to Prague, Czech Republic, to
produce child pornography, according to the U.S. attorney's office in
San Francisco.

White was indicted last summer in California on two counts of
conspiring to travel overseas with the intent to have sex with children
and one count of conspiracy to sexually exploit children.

Traveling overseas to have sex with children is a crime in the United
States. Moreover, under an agreement between the United States and
Mexico, suspects can be temporarily extradited to face trial in one
country, and then be tried in the other country, before serving prison
time in either.

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