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Costa Rican Women Using Restraining Orders to Swindle Expatriates (Part II)
Background: A couple months ago we discussed Garland M. Baker's A.M. Costa Rica piece Her word rules, and he goes to jail Some women swindle with domestic violence law. Baker wrote: "Women are kicking their mates out of the house in record numbers in Costa Rica. Some of them are enjoying it and using the law designed to protect women against domestic violence to swindle expats [American expatriates]... "Police in Heredia say women are abusing Law 8589 Article 7 [the protction / restraining order law]... "Yes, an expat male -- or any male in Costa Rica for that matter -- can be tossed out of his own home by his wife or girlfriend by merely having a complaint filed against him by the woman if she says he was being abusive. Abusive, as it stands today, can mean anything, including just raising one's voice. "Two weeks ago a woman put her expat boyfriend in jail all night when he raised his voice to her adult son -- he is over 18 years of age -- for popping bubble pack and painting satanic symbols on the wall. The son, who has tested positive for drugs in the past, became vocally abusive, so the expat called 911. When the police arrived, the girlfriend and her son asked the police to take the expat to jail. Officers did so without question... "The man who was jailed is the legal owner of the home...In the morning, the police escorted the tired man from his jail cell to the court...The judge told the man that the police would take him to his own house where he could pack two suitcases of essentials but that he had to vacate his home immediately. "A police officer escorted the expat and his attorney into the house. While the retired man gathered his belongings, the police officer told the attorney that throwing men -- mostly foreign men -- out of their homes in Heredia was their daily routine. He said they use to chase robbers and other bad people, but now they were bored because mostly they just deal with domestic violence cases. The police officer further said: 'Women in Costa Rica are taking advantage of this new law. They throw out their boyfriend and then steal their things and leave.' "Other women do not leave. They start court cases against expats for damages or palimony to wear them down to get a payoff." Baker now updates us on the saga of the falsely accused man in New chapter: 'I want my house back!' Judges are a girl's best friend when extortion's afoot. He writes: "The second part of a true story of an expat's agony and defeat is supposed to end today. The Gringo has to pay his girlfriend to get his house back. "This poor man was thrown out of his house one evening for raising his voice to his girlfriend"s adult son, a punk rock type known to use hard drugs like crack cocaine. The expat spent the night in a very cold and uncomfortable jail cell...The morning after, the police took him in front of a judge who gave him a cold shoulder and would not listen to his side of the story. Every since that awful day the poor man has had to rent another place and fight for his rights. In the hotel where he is now living, there are two other men in the same predicament. "Rights? What rights? No one at the court ever listened to him. The judge set a preliminary hearing for Sept. 27, but on the day of the audience, the judge canceled the hearing and set a new date of Nov 1. This was maddening for the expat. He had arranged to travel back to the United States to accompany his elderly mother through some medical treatments and did not expect to be back in Costa Rica Nov. 1. His father passed away last year leaving his aging mother alone. He wrote a petition to the judge asking for an earlier court date. What a mistake. The judge set the hearing back even more to Dec. 4, three long months from the date he was forced out of his own home by a live-in girlfriend. "The expat could do nothing but wait for Dec. 4 so he could have his date in court and, hopefully, an honest hearing of the facts. He wanted to be well prepared so he asked the court if he could have a translator. Officials at the court told him he could bring any translator in whom he had confidence. "Dec. 4...The judge appeared at around 10 a.m. for the scheduled 9:30 a.m. hearing only to say she had another case and would have to postpone the hearing again until after the holidays. The court system closes this year from Dec. 21 to Jan. 7. The expat"s lawyer insisted on a hearing. The judge conceded but said everyone would need to wait three hours for her to finish the other case. Everyone decided to wait. "The girlfriend's attorney walked over to the expat"s lawyer and gave him a file. He said, 'Does your client want his house back?' If so he has to pay everything in this file and in addition pay a cash settlement of four figures, said the attorney. "The Gringo"s lawyer told him the terms to get his house back...The judge finally called the parties to begin the hearing. She said to the Gringo that his translator was not on the court list of approved translators. He said, 'I was told by officials here I could bring a translator of my choosing.' The judge said, 'Sorry, whoever you talked to was mistaken, I will move this audience to February.' "The expat was broken. He was going to have to wait two more months for another court date. He decided to agree to his girlfriend"s terms and pay her off." Sounds just like America--women employing government-aided extortion under laws set up to help battered women. Interesting, too, that if any of these women really believed that the men were 1/100th the violent abusers they claim, the women would never dream of pulling this stuff, for fear the "abusers" would retaliate. Thanks to Marc Angelucci for calling my attention to the story.