Daniel Pye, an operator of an orphanage in Jacmel, Haiti, was known for giving orphaned and underprivileged Haitian children shelter, schooling, and access to internet and popular entertainment. However, several former residents of his missionary-supported orphanage recently testified against Pye, who is accused of sexually abusing minor girls during his trips to the country from 2008 to 2011. The accusers appeared in a Miami federal court earlier this month.
Pye’s trial, has highlighted many of the difficulties that come with bringing Haitian cases to U.S courts. Due to Haiti’s 2015 presidential election crisis and U.S embassy travel warnings, investigators were forced to wait a year between interviews with victims of the accused. On the other hand, the case illustrates how determined the U.S is when it comes to prosecuting allegations made in another country. In fact, Pye is being tried in the U.S because he traveled through Miami to commit the alleged underage sexual abuse in Haiti.
While Pye is being accused of sexually assaulting 4 minor who were in his care, the primary focus of his case is on a 15-year-old girl who claims she was 6 when the sexual abuse started. The teenager graphically described how Pye forced her to perform oral sex on him under bedsheets and how he forced her to put a condom on him. The teen also recalled that Pye’s wife, Leann, had walked in on them during the alleged sex acts. Testifying on behalf of her husband, Leann denied the incidents ever occurred.
During questioning from his attorney, Pye stated, “I tried to be a dad” and detailed what life at the orphanage was like, citing Saturday trips to the beach. Pye was raised in Bradenton and frequently traveled from South Florida to Haiti. He first visited the country in 2003. He was arrested in Ashtown, Arkansas in late February. The jury in the case might begin deliberation as early as Monday, when closing arguments are expected. If convicted, Pye faces up to 30 years in prison.
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