Charisa Coulter, left, and Laura Silsby are two of 10 missionaries accused of trying to take children after the Haiti earthquake. Photo Source: Getty Images
On Monday, the Haitian judge involved in the case of the 10 American Baptist missionaries who attempted to transport orphaned children out of the country declared that all charges still stand, according to several international news reports.
Although rumors had been circulating that the volunteers would soon be exonerated, Judge Bernard Saint-Vil denied ever suggesting he would drop charges against the group.
Last Friday, Haiti’s top prosecutor in the case, Attorney General Joseph Manes, said that any information suggesting dropped charges was “absolutely incorrect,” according to a report from CNN.
Under Haitian law, the charges are required to stand until Judge Saint-Vil “renders his decision.”
Missionary group leader Laura Silsby is still being held in Port-au-Prince, nearly two months after eight of her fellow volunteers were released on the condition that they would return if there was a need for future questioning.
The ninth missionary was released in March.
Interestingly, Sen. Jim Risch of Idaho said via a spokesperson last week that the State Department had informed him that all charges had been dropped against nine of the 10 missionaries (excluding Silsby). Saint-Vil’s statement to the media, however, suggested the opposite.
Reverend Clint Henry of Central Valley Baptist Church in Idaho, where the missionaries hail from, said he received an e-mail from the State Department informing him that all the charges had indeed been dropped.
Manes, however, said on Friday that, based on the confidential documents his office received from Saint-Vil’s investigation, it remains to be seen whether the case will be dismissed or move to trial.
Right now, Saint-Vil has until May to decide if he will release Silsby or arrange a trial.