News, Guanacaste Votes

Candidate for Mayor for the Único Abangareño party was convicted of sexual abuse and of authorizing payments of irregular contracts

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Translator: Arianna Hernandez

A former Abangares municipal council member and current candidate for mayor of Abangares for the Único Abangareño (Only Abangarian) party, Gerardo Alfredo Cascante Suarez, was found guilty of sexually abusing a minor under 10 years of age in 2013. He has also been accused by the Comptroller General of the Republic (CGR) for irregular contracts.

The acts of abuse occurred in 2008, but it wasn’t until 2013 that the Cañas Criminal Court handed down the four-year prison sentence when Cascante was council member and president of the Abangares Municipal Council.

When consulted by The Voice of Guanacaste about these charges against him, the candidate refused to comment on the judicial conviction and the penalty imposed by the controlling body.

I already paid for that. Now we’re on a mission to see what we can do for the canton. To me, what’s already a thing of the past is gossip,” he said when asked by phone.

In May of 2015, the Supreme Electoral Court (Spanish acronym: TSE) canceled his credential as council member due to not attending municipal sessions. At that time, according to Cascante, he was behind bars.

Four months after his credentials were withdrawn, his name was mentioned in a resolution of an administrative process that the CGR initiated against him beginning in 2012. According to the Comptroller’s report, four more council members and the then mayor of Abangares, Jorge Calvo were also involved.

The Comptroller’s Office ordered a ban on assuming positions in the public treasury for five years after holding the group of council members responsible for allegedly authorizing expenditures to pay for 12 irregular contracts that totaled a little more than ¢50 million (about $100,000). Among some of the offenses specified was the payment of almost two million colones (about $3,800) for organizing a New Year’s Eve party in 2010.

Although Cascante claimed to this medium that the 5-year penalty was not applied to him, the CGR reports that it was implemented.