Eddy, former New Jersey police officer Scott Loper’s son before Loper was jailed in Canada
The U.S. State Department has been asked by members of Congress to investigate reports from a former New Jersey police officer that he was jailed on trumped-up charges and tortured in Canada in violation of international treaties that require prisoners be given access to consular services when facing prison in a foreign country.
The request comes in light of President Bush’s advocacy, on which WND has reported, on behalf of a confessed murderer in Texas who is challenging his convictions and sentences on the grounds he is a Mexican national and was denied access to Mexican consular services during his case.
In that case, the Bush administration submitted a brief to the U.S. Supreme Court arguing to overturn the death penalty of Jose Medellin, who confessed in 1993 to participating in the rape and murder of two Houston teenagers. Jennifer Ertman and Elizabeth Pena were sodomized and strangled with their shoe laces, and Medellin bragged about keeping one girl’s Mickey Mouse watch as a souvenir of the crime.
In the new case, requests for an investigation have been submitted to the State Department by U.S. Reps. Steny Hoyer and Rob Andrews on behalf of Scott Loper, who was delivered to the U.S. border by Canadians in 2004 after he served a four-year prison term on charges he believes were manufactured. He is represented by civil rights lawyer C. Scott Shields of Media, Pa.
He’s been working ever since to have his case investigated, since his wife and small son, Eddy, who now would be 11 years old, disappeared at his arrest.
Kenneth M. Durkin, the chief of Western Hemisphere Division in the Office of American Citizens Services and Crisis Management at the State Department, wrote to Hoyer confirming that Canada jailed Loper without notifying the U.S., but essentially expressing an inability to pursue the case further.
“We were able to confirm his conviction and subsequent prison term for criminal harassment,” the letter to Hoyer said. “Canadian Authorities did not notify the U.S. Consulate General or the U.S. Embassy in Ottawa of Mr. Loper’s incarceration, and as a result we were not able to provide him with any Consular services. However, we have reminded the local authorities of the importance of consular notification when U.S. citizens are arrested.”
The letter continued, “Mr. Loper questioned the reason for his incarceration and expressed his belief that Canadian law enforcement personnel accused him of criminal harassment in order to cover up their own criminal activities. We take all allegations of abuse against incarcerated Americans seriously. Consular officers from our Consulate General in Toronto spoke with Canadian police supervisors with regard to Mr. Lopez’s mistreatment allegations. We will update your office with any information the consulate General obtains from Canadian officials. We have advised Mr. Loper that if he wishes to file a complaint against the Durham Regional Police, he can do so by visiting the Ontario Civilian Commission on Police Services website…”
WND telephone messages were left with several different Canadian government numbers, including that of Isabelle Serrurier, of the Rideau Hall Press Office, but there were no return calls.
WND calls to the White House regarding the apparent violation of an international treaty were transferred to the National Security Council, where officials took copious information about the case but did not return telephone messages for comment.
At the State Department, Durkin did not return WND telephone calls, and his assistant told WND, “I cannot talk to you about this.”
Shields said his client, Loper, has few options left if the State Department refuses to pursue his case, as apparently is happening. “Otherwise he’d have to go back into Canada and hire Canadian counsel and sue them there.”
His client’s case is a “cry out to the State Department to demand some accountability for [Canada] not notifying our government he was in custody to begin with… They’ve admitted they didn’t notify our government and still don’t want to address the issues,” he said.
“Our government can file a claim through the International Court of Justice. We [as individuals] cannot,” he said.
“But for reasons, not told to me, other than apparently our federal current administration perhaps doesn’t want to upset the Canadian government, they’re not pushing it,” he said.
“I don’t even know how to classify the inaction on the part of our government now,” he said.
The first response from the Canadian government, according to documents provided WND by Loper, was to deny that he was in Canada, had been the subject of a court case, or was jailed there.
A letter shortly after Loper was returned to the United States and had started complaining about his incarceration references the denial. “We have contacted the Consulate in Toronto to gain further information regarding Mr. Loper’s incarceration. They have no record of this incident,” the letter from Kees Davison, then chief of Western Hemisphere Division, told Andrews, who also has sought help from Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
The admission later was forthcoming from Canada that the jail term for Loper, was, in fact, reality.
But Loper said there appears to be something more at stake, because of the concerted effort to hide his situation. He also said that would align with what he saw during the rest of his case.
Stumbling on crime?
Loper, who had moved to Canada so his wife at the time could be closer to her family, said the whole situation was unsettling from the beginning. He was divorced from his original Canadian wife, then married his second wife, Carolyn.
While moving into a townhome, they were welcomed by a beer-drinking crowd in the next unit who identified themselves as police officers, one of whom later warned him that a neighbor on the other side was “under surveillance” as a possible drug dealer.
Loper’s experience as a New Jersey officer alerted him, and he subsequently watched officers repeatedly sneak into the next-door unit. He bought some microphones and a tape recorder and installed the mikes so they would monitor what was going on, discovering that police officers in the Durham region allegedly were busting drug dealers being identified by his neighbor, then bringing the drugs to him for sale.
Before he could take his evidence to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Canada’s federal police unit, he was busted by local police on trumped-up charges, taken to a mental health facility and detained, he said.
While he was confined, his townhome was ransacked, his tapes confiscated, and his wife and young son disappeared. He recalls a last telephone call from Carolyn. “I love you but they’ll take Eddy away!” were the last words he heard her say, Loper told WND.
Released from the mental facility after a few days, he found his wife and son gone, and when he tried to find them, found himself the subject of a restraining order. He tried to express his love for his wife and son in a letter to a friend, and authorities determined that was an attempt at an “indirect communication” and he was sentenced to prison for four years.
There, officers repeatedly tried to get him to admit that he was making up the claims about the police officers’ drug connections. “There was a hot water radiator. They would spray me with that to get me to recant my story, to get me to stop saying it,” he said.
He said he’s been told stories of his wife now being in a witness relocation program, or considers the real possibility that she may have been part of the conspiracy to get rid of him in order to move forward with another man, possibly a police officer.
Back in the United States, he’s remarried and pursuing another line of work. But he still is demanding justice for what he experienced.
An independent search of the Internet revealed reports of allegations of criminal behavior on the part of police officers in the region at the time Loper reports he encountered such activities.
One report cited an investigation in 2003 and 2004 into “possible criminal wrong doing” by officers of the Durham Regional Police Service, which would have been about the time Loper was finishing his prison term following his encounter with authorities.
In a statement Loper has prepared, he describes his time in Canada.
“I was arrested and locked in a filthy cockroach infested solitary confinement with no light, no heat. I was starved, beaten, tortured with a scalding shower tapped off a radiator pipe while in a locked cage, and put into a steel coffin for weeks at a time…
“On numerous occasions as I asked and demanded to see a representative of the American government … I was laughed at by Canadian prison authorities…,” he said.
“This is a clear violation of my Hague Rights and a violation of Treaties between Canada and the United States going back over 40 years … It is also a violation of international law,” he said.
“However, I have been told … by The Western Hemispheric Director of The State Department, that the Bush Administration enjoys a very good relationship with Canada, and although they (Canada) DID violate Article 36, this will not be pursued,” he said.
He cited Bush’s earlier concern over the issue of consular notification in the Medellin case.
“Now Congressman Hoyer’s question will be: ‘If the American government … is so eager to defend an illegal Mexican murderer because of his Hague Rights and Vienna Convention Violations, why are they not willing to stand behind an American citizen…,” Loper wrote.
Meanwhile, a separate international investigation has been launched to determine whether Loper’s son, now 11, still is alive.
“Through the efforts of my childhood friend, Congressman Rob Andrews, the State Department and by civil rights lawyer, Mr. Scott Shields, it was confidentially revealed by the Canadian government that what happened to me was a ‘terrible tragedy,’ but if the Canadian public learned of these events, they would lose confidence in their police,” Loper said.
In the earlier case, the Bush administration intervened after the International Court of Justice found Medellin was not informed of his right to contact the Mexican Consulate for legal assistance.
That, according to the Hague, was a violation of a 1963 treaty known as the Vienna Convention.
“We find ourselves in an unusual position,” Texas Solicitor General Ted Cruz told the Houston Chronicle. “Texas is not regularly litigating against the United States. But sadly enough, the United States will appear alongside Medellin at the argument.”
Medellin v. Texas, which was argued last fall before the Supreme Court, could determine the fate of Medellin and 50 other Mexican killers on death rows in the United States, including more than a dozen in Texas. All of them say they were not told of their right to contact Mexico for legal help.
Related special offers: