Use Your Voice

Sign up for our newsletter

Scott McMahon

  

Country: Philippines

Arrested: April 7, 2011

Status: Exonerated


OVERVIEW

McMahon’s case typifies a retaliation coordinated with local authorities in a foreign country.  Allegations of assault have thrown McMahon into a tumultuous legal battle.  He was arrested twice, and remained in custody awaiting trial for over 5 years.  Common of ShowTrials, this case involves a lack of clarity around charges and legal processes.  It also garnered media attention.  Television crews were present and filming when Scott was confronted by police on the street, served a subpoena, and arrested on the spot.

Evidence shows that Scott is innocent of the charges brought against him by the former friend, but there was no attempt to speed up the legal process to exonerate him. The lack of involvement from the US government forced his family to take his case public in the hopes of attaining his freedom.

BACKGROUND

In 2008 Scott McMahon and Marnelli Abad, Scott’s longtime girlfriend, and their two children were living in a subdivision in the Philippines called Intercity Homes Subdivision.  Also living in the subdivision was a Belgium man, Jan Marcel, and his wife, Dolores San Pablo Vermeulen.  Scott and Jan, both ex-patriots, became friends.  Scott even opened his home to Jan when he and his wife were dealing with marital problems.  Jan and Delores’ relationship was tumultuous, to say the least.  Jan moved in with Scott and his family for the second time in November of 2008.  It was during this stay that Dolores accused Jan of beating her.  In December of 2008 Police arrested not only Jan, but also Scott.  Both men were charged with abuse.

CASE REPORT

Shortly after their arrest, Jan and Scott were released from prison and the charges were dropped.  However, Dolores did not stop her false accusations.  As a result of Dolores’ accusations, the Bureau of Immigration raided Scott’s home in search of Jan Marcel.  Plain clothes officers, Dolores, and a companion of Dolores participated in the raid. Marnelli and the couple’s two children, were home during the raid.  While at the McMahon home, Dolores screamed at and threatened the McMahon family.  She also stole items belonging to Jan and Scott during the raid.  Jan was arrested, but again was released shortly after.

“Scott filed a theft complaint against Dolores to recover the items that were taken from him during the raid.”

As a result of Dolores’ tirade at the McMahon home, Scott’s son began having nightmares and was afraid to leave the house.  He stated he was frightened of “the lady”.  In response to Dolores’ actions and accusations, Scott filed a complaint against Dolores and her companion, which included the theft of McMahon’s property in addition to child abuse and the resulting trauma.  About a month later, on September 25, 2009, Dolores filed a motion to dismiss the complaint.  Nearly a year later, on July 10, 2010, the court issued a “resolution” dismissing all the charges except for the child abuse charge, which is still pending.

Exactly one month after the court issued its “resolution”, in an attempt to retaliate against Scott McMahon, Dolores claimed, for the first time, that Scott had raped her six months earlier on February 11, 2010.  She submitted to a medical genital exam, but the medical examiner found Dolores normal for a woman of her age and birth history with no indication of recent or prior injury.  Also the Intercity Homeowners Association, which ran the subdivision where McMahon lived, certified no such incident was recorded in the subdivision.

Despite the lack of evidence, a subpoena was issued on August 25, 2010.  Scott was to appear in court and answer questions in a preliminary investigation.  However, the subpoena was never delivered to Scott.  Though he had moved from the Intercity Homes Subdivision, which is where the subpoena was issued to, security logs for the subdivision have no record of any subpoena delivered or any attempt made to deliver the subpoena.  It was not until seven months later that Scott was made aware of the subpoena when on April 7, 2011 Dolores along with television news cameras and the police confronted Scott in a street side restaurant.  News cameras filmed as Scott was arrested on the spot.

The most resounding proof of Scott’s innocence is the fact that he and his family were on vacation at the time of the alleged rape.  Scott, Marnelli, and his two children were staying with Marnelli’s family in Sitio Taguntong Goa, Camarines Sur, about a ten-hour drive from Muntinlupa where the alleged rape occurred.  Jaymar Renata, Marnelli’s family’s neighbor, testified he saw Scott and his family at Marnelli’s family home on February 5, 11, 12, and 14.  Scott and his family even attended birthday parties at Jaymar’s home during that time.

“The most resounding proof of Scott’s innocence is the fact that he and his family were on vacation at the time of the alleged rape.”

As further indication of Dolores’ motives, Dolores’ friends have visited Scott in jail and had also confronted Marnelli nine times within a four month span.  Scott and Marnelli were told that the rape charge would be dropped if the child abuse charges against Dolores were dropped and if they paid Dolores.  The blackmail price fluctuated from $125,000 USD to $75,000 to $25,000 to $10,000 and finally to whatever Scott could afford.  All Dolores’ demands have been rejected and Dolores and her friends have refrained from approaching the couple.

The prison conditions where Scott was being held were subhuman.  Basic hygiene necessities, like soap and medical treatment, are not provided without a court order, which rarely happens.  The prison population as a whole suffers from preventable diseases like tuberculosis and skin boils.  Prisoners regularly die from these treatable ailments, which are worsened by malnutrition brought on by lack of food and clean water. Scott has witnessed over 20 deaths in prison.

Scott continued to be held in the maximum-security section of the Muntinlupa City Jail. No evidence has surfaced supporting Dolores’ claim, and the court case is only in the initial stages.

On September 22, 2014, almost three and a half years after his arrest, the Court denied McMahon’s bail petition. Based on the court’s written decision, the Court improperly accepted as true all of Delores’ outrageous accusations, even in the face of all the contrary evidence.

Scott continued to experience unexplained delay from the Filipino court in the form of canceled and abbreviated hearings. As of June 18, 2015, the court has held three hearings and canceled at least four others. 

CURRENT STATUS/AFTERMATH

On Aug 2, 2016, a Filipino court acquitted Scott of all charges after more than five years of wrongful imprisonment. In the court’s decision judge, Amelia A. Sabros-Corpuz, states that Dolores used the false rape case as “leverage” against Scott for the pending child abuse case that was filed against her in 2009.

As of Aug 12, 2016, the Philippine Government has not allowed Scott to leave the country and the Bureau of Immigration is requiring Scott to pay $1,000 for every year his visa was expired while being wrongfully imprisoned for a crime he did not commit.