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March 2007 Vol. 33, No. 3   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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On the Run in Panama

from the March, 2007 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

You might not want to have your kids accompany you to Jimmy’s Caribbean Dive Resort in Nombre de Dios, Panama — the owner is an accused American child molester on the run from the law. According to the Noriegaville News in Panama, James Douglas Norris came to Panama in 1999 while on the run from the sheriff of Crenshaw County, Alabama. He had been arrested for sex abuse of his 14-year-old stepdaughter, was released on bail pending trial, and then fled to Panama. A year later, he was issued a residency card.

Undercurrent confirmed the situation with the district attorney who pursued the case. “The FBI was even going to go down there and get him, but the family decided not to pursue it,” says John S. Andrews, district attorney of Alabama’s Second Judicial Circuit. “The girl had changed her mind, saying she wanted to move on with her life. I wish she would change her mind because I would like to prosecute him and put him in prison. He shouldn’t be in business and scot-free.”

Andrews may ultimately get his wish. The Noriegaville News contacted the sex crimes unit of the Judicial Technical Police in Panama, who fumed with anger when told about Norris’s past. “How can we be sure that he doesn’t do the same here?” one agent raged, asking for a copy of the arrest warrant. “I’ll pursue this case immediately.”

But for now, Jimmy’s Caribbean Dive Resort is open for business with Norris still as the owner. When e-mailed for comments and his side of the story, Norris did not reply.

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