Italian child sex offender arrested in Davao City

Lorenzo Marchesi 'was believed to be engaging children online to lure and groom them for both online and in-person sexual exploitation,' says the International Justice Mission

ARRESTED. Police handcuff Lorenzo Marchesi at the holding facility of the Bureau of Immigration in Davao City. Photo from International Justice Mission

MANILA, Philippines – Philippine authorities have arrested a 57-year-old Italian man in Davao City for possession of child sexual abuse and exploitation materials.

Police arrested Lorenzo Marchesi at the Bureau of Immigration (BI) holding facility in Davao City on Wednesday, November 13, the International Justice Mission (IJM) said in a statement on Friday, November 15.

Marchesi was arrested after a search of his electronic devices revealed that they contained the illegal materials. The search was based on a warrant issued by Cybercrime Court Judge Retrina Espe Fuentes.

Marchesi was earlier intercepted at the Davao International Airport based on a mission order for his arrest issued by BI Commissioner Jaime Morente, and had been detained at the BI holding facility since November 8.

He was considered an “undesirable alien” as he faced several complaints filed by police for alleged violations of Republic Act No. 10364 or the Expanded Anti-Trafficking Act of 2012, RA 10175 or the Anti-Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, and RA 7610 or the Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act.

BI records showed that Marchesi had been going in and out of the country since January this year through the international airports in Davao and Mactan, Cebu. 

“He was believed to be engaging children online to lure and groom them for both online and in-person sexual exploitation,” IJM said.

The Women and Children Protection Center-Mindanao Field Unit (MFU) led by Police Captain Princess Obrique-Bergado under the supervision of Police Lieutenant Colonel Christine Tan led the implementation of the search warrant against Marchesi. 

They were supported by other bodies, police units, and nongovernment organizations such as IJM and Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation-Integrated Development Center, Incorporated (JPICIDC). 

Bergado said that the PNP, immigration officials, prosecutors, its nongovernmental organization partners “are making an all-out effort to apprehend those who abuse and exploit our children online.”

“We are doing our best for our precious children to have a safer place to live, for them to enjoy their childhood,” she added.

Deputy Regional Prosecutor Barbara Mae Pagdilao-Flores said the arrest of Marchesi “shows yet again how the online sexual exploitation of children is also fueled by demand from perpetrators living in Western countries.”

“We hope that this would push countries from the demand side to impose stiffer penalties against their citizens who pay for and direct the horrible abuse of children,” added Flores, chief of operations the Department of Justice Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking-Regional Anti-Trafficking in Persons Task Force XI.

She also stressed the importance of close coordination of local and international law enforcement agencies with other government stakeholders, and  NGO partners.

“We have shown time and again how this strong collaboration results in the apprehension of OSEC perpetrators and freedom from abuse for our children,” Flores said.

IJM Cebu Field Office Director John Tanagho lauded the determination of Philippine authorities to keep Marchesi from harming more children.

“This kind of commitment and determination from law enforcement across the country will surely lead to the protection of thousands of children from online and in person sexual exploitation, sending a message to child sex offenders globally that Filipino children are not for sale,” he said. – Rappler.com