Perpetrator of Child Sex Crimes in Cuba Convicted

James McTurk.  Photo: thestar.com
James McTurk. Photo: thestar.com

HAVANA TIMES — A Canadian court heard a guilty plea on Friday from James McTurk, 78, a retired postal worker accused by Toronto police for child sex tourism crimes committed in Cuba. He now faces a possible life sentence.

Canada is the leading tourism market for Cuba and this is the first case where a Canadian is convicted for a sex crime.

“After a Crown lawyer finished reciting the list of grotesque sexual offences James McTurk committed against Cuban girls as young as 3, the 78-year-old man was handcuffed and taken back to jail where he could spend the rest of his life,” reported thestar.com.

“On Friday, McTurk became the first Canadian convicted of sex crimes committed against children in Cuba, admitting to one count of making child pornography, another of importing child pornography, three counts of sexual interference involving touching young girls with his mouth, hands and penis, and a final count of invitation to sexual touching,” adds the website.

Following the investigation, Public Safety Minister Vic Toews acknowledged a shortcoming in the law that required reform, notes thestar.

“We are consulting with experts in the field and on the ground and working toward preventing traffickers and offenders from travelling abroad,” Toews’ spokeswoman, Julie Carmichael, said in a written statement Friday. “We are committed to putting an end to the sexual exploitation of children, no matter where it may occur.”

Thestar.com noted that McTurk had been convicted twice for child pornography in 1995 and 1998. Despite him being on the sex offender’s registry he was free to travel abroad. “The court was told he made 31 trips to Cuba between 2009 and his arrest in July 2012,” at Toronto´s Pearson International Airport upon his return from the island.



9 thoughts on “Perpetrator of Child Sex Crimes in Cuba Convicted

  • How widely will this be reported within Cuba? I suspect not far! Cubans should be told about this and empowered, encouraged and educated to protect their children. Child abuse is only one of the negative sides of increased tourism. All around the world, it is the responsibility of governments and adults to protect children at all times.

    Reply
  • The blogger Yoani Sanchez made an interesting comment about this case. She wonders how the Cuban Customs officials missed this guy. This is the same government that harasses enterprising Cubans who travel monthly to Mexico and Ecuador to purchase clothes and other items for resale in Cuba or hassles emigres who arrive with laptops and flash drives, yet this convicted Canadian perv was allowed to visit Cuba 31 times in 3 years, presumably unmolested. It just makes you wonder where the Castros priorities are.

    Reply
  • This man like others who come to Cuba and interview her has missed in just one of the many She needs to get real!

    Reply
  • CUBA HAS HAD HIM ON THE RADAR FOR ABOUT 2 YRS ITS CANADA WHO IS TO BLAME..THEY LET HIM TRAVEL He was seeking asylum and we refused

    Reply
    • Canada is to blame TOO! I read a story once (maybe here on HT) about a Cuban woman from Spain who traveled to Cuba with the ashes of her father who had recently passed away. Cuban Customs claimed she did not have all her paperwork (apparently she did) in order. As a small group of family waited out Jose Marti Airport, she was turned around and put back on the next plane to Spain. Needless to say, she was mortified. If what you say is true and Cuba knew for two years that a convicted sex offender was travelling back and forth and they waited for Canada to do something to protect Cuban youngsters, then I am really disgusted.

      Reply
      • Sadly it’s true. The creep had a criminal record going back decades. The problem was our Foreign Affairs dept ( ie. similar to US State Dept) doesn’t link up with the sex offender registry.

        Incompetence? Stupidity? The craven political opportunism of not wanting to spoil the lucrative tourism industry? Or the tragic confluence of all three?

        Throw the creep in among the general population in prison and see if he survives a year.

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    • If the Cuban police had him on their radar, then they knew damn well what he was up too. They could have arrested him any time he was in Cuba, but they did not. They could have refused to let him into Cuba, but they did not. Canadian authorities can plead incompetence, which is bad enough. What’s Cuba’s excuse?

      By the way: McTurk was not unique. There are many other tourists in Cuba doing exactly what he did. What are the Cuban police doing about it?

      The overworked Cuba police should spend less time harassing the Ladies in White and more time catching these predators, and the Cubans who rent out these children.

      Reply
  • I wonder if the Cuban press is going to ask the question of whether there is an investigation underway as to the families that handed their babies and young girls to this pervert during his 31 trips to Cuba?

    Reply

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