Prostitutes in the sex scandal involving U.S. Secret Service agents may have been underage. A Colombian government official said the Colombian attorney general's office has launched an investigation to determine the truth.
Colombian officials have questioned employees of the hotel and the taxi driver who drove the women home. U.S. agents and military personnel involved in the scandal could face criminal charges if it is proven they had sex with underage Colombian girls.
Republican chairman of the House Government Oversight and Reform Committee Darrell Issa, said in response to questions whether any of the girls was underage that he was not certain. He said: "In the case of the 11 agents, the primary determination is you can’t determine to charge or not charge somebody until you know whether a crime is committed. Under U.S. law, if any of these women are under 18—I can tell you we do not know and Director Sullivan does not have actual contact/picture matched up to verify that as far as I know. When he does, I would expect a call, because that would be a relief to many of us to not have on top of everything else."
Issa explained that it was a crime for U.S. citizens to have sex with minors abroad, but the said there were yet no indications that any of the men did. He said: "U.S. laws passed in 2003 and 2006 were designed to prevent sex vacations causing harm to underage women. We have to respect some things, but going internationally anywhere to have sex acts underage is prohibited under U.S. law."
ABC News reports that Senator Susan Collins also said there was no evidence that the women allegedly solicited by the agents were underage. According to Collins, Mark Sullivan, director of Secret Service told her there was no evidence that any of the women was underage. Collins said that was probably not the first time such incident was happening. She said: “To me it defies belief that this is just an aberration. There were too many people involved. If it had been one or two, then I would say it was an aberration. But it included two supervisors. That is particularly shocking and appalling.”
Daily Mail reports the allegation that the Colombian prostitutes might be underage comes as Republican Senator Charles Grassley called for investigations to be extended to presidential staff who were in Colombia preparing for the president's arrival. Grassley called for investigators to check hotel records for White House advance staff and communications personnel who were in Cartagena for the summit. In a letter to the Director of Secret Service Mark Sullivan, Grassley inquired whether hotel records for the White House staff were part of the investigations. According to Daily Mail, Grassley queried: "Have records for overnight guests for those entities been pulled as part of the investigation? If not, why not?"
Daily Mail reports that on Friday, President Obama received a personal briefing on the investigation into the scandal from Mark Sullivan, director of U.S. Secret Service.
So far six agents have resigned over the scandal, five were suspended during investigations and one has been cleared of "serious misconduct" but will face disciplinary action.
The name of the prostitute whose quarrel with an agent who refused to pay her uncovered the scandal has been revealed as Dania Suarez. The mother of a nine-year-old is reported to have gone into hiding. Two of the Secret Service agents involved have also been named. David Chaney was forced to retire over his alleged role in the incident and Greg Stokes was "removed with cause," Daily Mail reports.
Suarez said she did not know that the men were "with Obama." She said she quarreled with one of the agents after he paid her only $30 out of the $800 she alleged they agreed upon. She said that days after the incident, a friend told her it had hit the headlines and she discovered to her shock that the men were Secret Service agents. She said she went into hiding because she is scared.