A retired US Navy officer was arrested yesterday (Wednesday, May 17) for being in the company of two minors at a beach resort at 11pm.
Jason Anderson Stone, aged 40, a native of Oregon, was caught in Marlin’s Beach Resort in Santa Fe, Bantayan Island.
Stone was reported to the police by resort staff after he checked in with a 16-year-old girl and her 14-year-old sister. He was arrested as he had “no relation by consanguinity or affinity” with the two minors.
According to the Cebu Sunstar, the girls were taken to the social welfare office for counselling.
Stone, in his defence said that he had no bad intention in taking the girls to the resort. He added that he was also not aware of the law in the Philippines regarding child abuse and trafficking.
Stone arrived in the country on May 12 and had been staying in a resort in San Remigio before he went to Santa Fe on Wednesday.
Stone will be charged with violation of the Special Protection of Children against Abuse act (RA 7610), the Exploitation and Discrimination Act (RA 9208) or the Anti-trafficking in Persons Act (RA 10364).
The first of these acts prohibits any person to be in the company of “a minor, 12 years or under or who is 10 years or more his junior in any public or private place, hotel, motel, beer joint, discotheque, cabaret, pension house, sauna or massage parlor, beach and/or other tourist resort or similar places.”
The second act, a person is prohibited “to recruit, transport, transfer; harbour, provide, or receive a person by any means, including those done under the pretext of domestic or overseas employment or training or apprenticeship, for the purpose of prostitution, pornography, sexual exploitation, forced labor, slavery, involuntary servitude or debt bondage.”
Stone is in custody while investigations continue.