A physician who fled the United States and hid behind the Costa Rican Constitution here has been detained on an allegation that he abused a minor on the Pacific coast.
The man is German Enrique Moreno Rojas, 51, one of about three dozen Costa Ricans here who are sought in the United States and other countries. The Constitution prohibited forcing a citizen here to leave the country.
That stipulation has been an embarrassment to some judicial workers because Moreno had been convicted in Costa Rica in the early 1990s for abusing five boys. But the case expired after he fled.
The U.S. charges, nine counts according to judicial officials in Houston, Texas, relate to his involvement in 2005 with boys at St. Francis de Sales Roman Catholic parish. He worked at a health clinic there and told acquaintances correctly that he was a physician in Costa Rica.
After his arrest, he jumped a $60,000 bail and returned to Costa Rica. He set up a clinic in Malpais on the tip of the Nicoya peninsula. Presumably that is where the latest charge of sexual abuse against a child originated. The case is being handled by the prosecutors in Garabito, so after his arrest Monday at his mother’s home in Tibás, Moreno was taken to Jacó, the major town in the canton, according to the Judicial Investigating Organization.
How the man managed to stay a practicing physician for so long is a mystery.
A two-minute check of his name on the Internet turns up a notice that he has arrest warrants outstanding. That is on the Web site of the International Police Agency.
In addition there is a detailed 2006 story of his activities at the church by the Houston Press about what the writer called parish predators.
Someone in the Nicoya community is believed to have searched the man’s name on the Internet and began calling news outlets in San José.
Most police officials would not do anything because of the Costa Rican Constitution and the expired case here, although there was a strange suggestion that perhaps the man could be tried here on the U.S. charges.
Apparently the Houston judicial workers never checked the man out either when he was allowed to go free on bail in 2005.