Male Prostitution Scandal Destroys Reputation of Police in Colombia
A male prostitution network was discovered among the ranks of Colombian police last month, and it appears to have deep impact on the whole society, according to recent public opinion polls
According to Colombian media Colombia Reports, the scandal involves some prominent figures in Colombia, namely a deputy minister and police chief who had to resign in February. Apparently, the scandal eroded already low approval ratings for Colombian police among the society in general.
The network in question, called, quite ironically, “The Fellowship of the Ring”, was run by senior police officials and operated within the police academy between 2004 and 2008. In a nutshell, the network gave access to sexual services from male police cadets to officers and congressmen, who paid with cars, gifts and large sums of money.
The network was initially discovered in 2014 by a female cadet Maritza Zapata, found dead in 2006. While her death was first labeled a suicide, her family is convinced that it was her discovery that got her killed.
However, the network came to light again in 2015, when a prominent radio journalist Vicky Dávila started airing testimonies from police cadets, revealing stories about sexual harassment from Colombian police’s senior members, including its chief, Rodolfo Palomino.
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18th February 2016
Police chief resigns over alleged gay prostitution ring
Colombia’s national police chief has resigned a day after an investigation was announced into the creation of a male prostitution ring.
General Rodolfo Palomino has resigned from his role after it was announced that a “disciplinary investigation” was to be launched against him over the alleged creation of a male prostitution ring.
The general is also under investigation for alleged ‘illicit enrichment’ and ‘conducting illegal wiretaps’.
The prostitution ring – referred to in the media as the Fellowship of the Ring – was operated between 2004 and 2008 and is said to involve police officers, senior officials and members of congress.
Prosecutor general Alejandro Ordonez said that the allegation had been backed up by a complaint by a now retired police captain.
According to the complaint, young male police cadets were forced and threatened into having sex with higher-ranking officers.
Mr Ordonez added that the alleged incidents had taken place “with the help and complicity of police officials, including the director general [Rodolfo Palomino]”.
Police officers also allegedly tapped the phones of journalists investigating the scandal.
The investigation comes after local media released a video from 2008, showing former Senator Carlos Ferro – who resigned on Tuesday – talking explicitly about gay sex to police Captain Anyelo Palacios, although Palomina is not mentioned.
Although he was quick to deny any involvement in the activities, Palomina handed in his resignation (February 17).
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