Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Family Scandal in Paradise

Here's something you may not find in the NY Times society column:
46-year old American resident Paul Sandford Guggenheim is suspected to have committed suicide at the Palacio de la Justicia Jail where he was held. The case file charged Guggenheim with taking advantage of children and teenagers in vulnerable situations, paying them in exchange for sexual favors.

His hung body was found in the cell's bathroom by a fellow inmate at the Palacio de Justicia. Prosecutors had delayed formally charging Guggenheim until Friday, 18 August, due to the holiday celebrated on the Wednesday, 16 August.

The deceased had been arrested on 11 August 2017 after being caught infraganti having sex with a 15-year old male child at his Piantini apartment. The case file says Guggenheim had offered to pay the child RD$2,500 for the sexual favors. Guggenheim reportedly had picked up the child from the Plaza Juan Barón on the Malecón.

The news comes as a surprise as Guggenheim was country representative for Counterpart International, a leading development non-governmental organization.

As reported in El Dia, neighbors in the Piantini apartment building where he lived, had alerted the authorities on 31 March that vulnerable minors were visiting Guggenheim in his apartment. The minors would visit at night and leave in the early morning. This would be confirmed by the surveillance videos of the building, according to the case file.

The file mentions two specific cases of sexual abuse of minors. Reportedly, the deceased had sexually abused two teenagers, ages 13 and 15 years old. The 13-year old said he made a living begging on the Malecón and admitted to having sex for money. The file says the minor explained that the following morning Guggenheim would drop him off where he had picked him up the previous evening and pay him RD$1,000 for the services.

State prosecutors had been investigating the case, culminating to the arrest on 11 August.

During the search of Guggenheim's apartment on 11 August, the Police reportedly found a significant number of condoms, lubricants, sex potency pills, children-sized shoes and clothing, mobile phones, laptops, and tablets.

Reports are that Guggenheim was suspect of having committed suicide on Tuesday, 15 August. El Dia says an autopsy was ordered to confirm the suicide.

Guggenheim is related to the famous Guggenheim family that has created the cultural wonders of the New York Solomon Guggeinheim museum and the Bilbao Guggenheim museum, among others.


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