SAO PAULO, Brazil – A U.S. man awaiting trial along with his companion for allegedly sexually abusing children at a nudist colony is denying the charges, a leading Brazilian daily reported Wednesday.
In an interview with the Folha de S.Paulo newspaper, Frederic Calvin Louderback said authorities have no proof to back their charges and that witnesses were "coerced" to testify against him.
"We are all innocent. We are not pedophiles. There is no truth to the charges against us," the newspaper quoted Louderback as saying.
Louderback and his companion, Barbara Anner, were arrested in December 2007 and charged with sexually abusing 12 boys between the ages of 6 and 14.
The couple's attorney, Vitor Peruchin, confirmed Louderback's remarks.
Louderback, 64, is from San Diego, California, and Anner, 73, from the state of Georgia, according to police and Peruchin. They said they did not know Anner's hometown.
Louderback, Anner, and a Brazilian couple suspected of helping them, were released from detention Jan. 17 pending trial. Each of the defendants could be sentenced to up to 30 years in prison if convicted.
In ordering their release, judges said they saw no reason to keep the four in jail because all witnesses have already been interrogated and all evidence presented. In addition, officials have seized the passports of Louderback and Anner until the trial, Peruchin said.
Hundreds of photos of young boys engaged in homosexual acts were found in the homes of the four defendants, police said.
Prosecutors say Anner lured the boys, all of whom lived in poor neighborhoods near the nudist colony, with promises of gifts, food and trips.
Peruchin said earlier that Anner and Louderback believed they were set up by wealthy members of the colony who didn't like their work for the poor, including free English lessons for children, sports activities and donations of food, clothes and toys.