March 12th, 2010
05:07 PM ET

Haitian judge files additional charge against missionaries

The judge in the case of the 10 American Baptist missionaries accused of trying to take 33 Haitian children from the country without proper authorization charged all of them Friday with "organizing irregular travel." 

Examining Judge Bernard Saint-Vil brought the additional charge against the 10 Americans, who were arrested in January, even though nine of them have been released on bail and have left the country. The leader, Laura Silsby, remains jailed in Port-au-Prince. 

The judge also rejected a petition for bail filed previously by Silsby's lawyers; a new bail petition was dropped off by Silsby lawyer Chiller Roy on Friday. 

Saint-Vil told CNN he expects to complete his investigation into the charges against the missionaries next week. 

He said he will then submit the dossier to the attorney general, who will have five working working days to give his opinion on the judge's findings. 

The judge, once he receives the attorney general's opinion, will then announce whether he will proceed to trial. 

The charges against all 10 Baptists and the penalties if they are found guilty are: 

- Criminal association, 3-15 years;
- Kidnapping of a minor, 3-9 years;
- Organizing irregular travel, 3-6 years. 

Silsby originally said the children were orphaned or abandoned, but CNN determined that more than 20 of them had at least one living parent. Some parents said they placed their children in Silsby's care because they thought that would ensure they would have a better life. 

The group said it planned to house the children in a converted hotel in the Dominican Republic and later move them to an orphanage. 

- CNN's Lonzo Cook contributed to this report.

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Filed under: Haiti
soundoff (67 Responses)
  1. Flex

    Anyone who defends these criminals is disgusting. The law is the law. You're the worst of the worst of religious zealots. WAKE THE F UP!

    March 14, 2010 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Toby

    I am sick of this whole situation. Haiti is a country in great need of help. The people have suffered in poverty and lawlessness for years. When disaster struck, they became outraged that the US didn't respond fast enough; that it took a few days to get the USS Comfort there. People want us to rebuild their country and are ungrateful for the help they have recieved. A sort of child slavery and exploitation has been rampant in Haiti for a long time. Families were more than willing to give up precious children to line their pockets and get rid of the burden of another mouth to feed.
    I do not know what the situation really is with the American missionaries, but I question the motives of a corrupt and broken government focusing so much attention on this group. It is almost like they are planning to "ransom" these people.
    Haiti's actions since the earthquake are abominal and parasitic in nature. It appears that the government wants all aid resources under their ownership; the concern is not helping the people in need it is a corrupt government attempting to gain control of a lot of resources to increase it's hold on the people.

    March 14, 2010 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Jessica

    This is what we get for helping everyone. The people of Haiti, and the president, have been completely ungrateful the whole time making comments about how our troops are allowed to come but not welcome to stay and all kinds of nonsense. You are not in the position to make rules, Haiti!!

    March 14, 2010 at 9:10 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Skidog75

    Part of me wants to go off the handle at how ridiculous it is that these "saviors" are being punished for helping. However, I have to wonder if the authorities are still holding them if there couldn't be some sort of child human trafficking case here. Now, they aren't coming straight to the states. Who is to say they don't end up as slaves for rich foreigners?

    March 14, 2010 at 9:49 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Raymond

    The 10 American missionaries in the name of God went to another country and took away 33 children under false pretense. I cannot imagine that we Americans tolerate such behavior if let's say Muslims come to NYC and do the same! It is amazing to see what people in this country will do in the name of religion. Just look at the sex abuse that went on in the Catholic churches...

    March 14, 2010 at 10:34 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Mandy180

    Maybe she was going to try and sell the children.

    March 14, 2010 at 10:49 pm | Report abuse |
  7. charlie

    Maybe there should be a prohibition on peddling religion to children before a certain age and of course not allowing children to be in religiously dominated premises such as churches or religious oriented orphanages.

    March 15, 2010 at 12:02 am | Report abuse |
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