One of the many rewards of being a reporter, and of especially working for the Houston Press, is that, every once in a while, you'll get to have international phone conversations with the brother of a fugitive child molester.
A while back, I wrote about German Moreno, a fugitive from Costa Rica who spent a few years at St. Frances de Sales church, where he sung in the choir and had young boys spend nights at his home. You know, 'cause that's what normal thirtysomething dudes do. In 1994, Moreno was sentenced in Costa Rica to nine years in prison for sexually abusing five boys. But thanks to the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston's then-freewheelin', laissez-faire approach to background checks, that tidbit fell through the cracks. Anyway, in 2005, he was arrested in Houston and charged with five counts of sexual abuse, including performing oral sex on a 12-year-old boy, not to mention drugging children and molesting them while they were unconscious
Fortunately for Moreno, it appears that Harris County prosecutors and State District Judge Belinda Hill were unaware of his fugitive status, and his bail was set for $60,000. Moreno posted bond and was gone before you can say "flight risk."
But the mother of one of his alleged Houston victims says she recently got a phone call from an apologetic Moreno, who was calling from a Costa Rica number. But when I called the number, all I got was a man who claimed to be Moreno's brother. I told the man I had things of a private nature to discuss with his brother, but he said he was an attorney and threatened to sue me if I didn't tell him who I was. Things went downhill from there, ultimately ending with the man calling Moreno's accusers "wetbacks" from "stupid families." Here are some other highlights, starting with the shrewd attorney's invocation of the Fifth Amendment, which he then proceeded to dismantle:
Attorney Guy: I pledge the Fifth Amendment in the United States — you know what is that?....You are a fucking American and you don't have the right to call this house....[here, the reception started to go bad]
Craig Malisow: I'm sorry, you're breaking up a little.
AG: I don't give a shit about that...don't call this house anymore. Is that clear for you?
AG: Is that clear for you? Is that clear for you?
CM: No, --
AG: No-no-no, fuck you! Is that clear for you?
CM: It's not clear, and we can have a civil discussion about it or you can keep on swearing.
AG: I am not discussing with you fucking shit. I mean, you don't have the right to call this house, period. Am I calling your fucking mother to bother her? Am I knowing about your fucking past?...I don't give a shit about your past, about your fucking mother, or your fucking father, or your fucking family!
CM: Wait — what? I'm sorry, what do my mother and father have to do with this?
AG: They had the bad luck to have a fucking son like you are...
CM: Your brother —
AG: ...fucking son of a bitch!
CM: —was already a fugitive for...sexual misconduct, from Costa Rica, when he was charged with, you know, similar things here.
AG: I don't know anything about it.
CM: That's why it might be best for me to talk with him. Unless I'm actually speaking with him right now, and he's claiming to be his brother, the lawyer.
AG: No sir, you are not speaking to him. But I am tired of the fucking United States to be bothering my brother. This is not the United States. Come here...and I beat the hell out of you. Here in Costa Rica, things are different.
CM: I don't know how we got off on this tangent. All I wanted to do was ask your brother a few questions.
AG: Well, sir. He is not allowed to talk to you. Period. Is that clear for you?
CM: Really? Are you your brother's keeper?
AG: That's not your problem.
CM: Ah, that was more of a philosophical thing.
And then it just went downhill from there. But "Moreno's brother" did say that he and Moreno were living in the city of Heredia. So, for any HouStoned readers who might be cops in Houston or Costa Rica, that's Heredia. With an H. We'll work on getting you the address. — Craig Malisow