In Menendez saga, prostitute points to wealthy Dominican politician as sex-party participant

Font Size:

A Dominican prostitute’s firsthand account of sex parties allegedly attended by New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez refers specifically to another participant: Vinicio “Vinicito” Castillo Seman, the scion of a prominent Dominican political family who serves as a lawyer for his cousin, Dr. Salomon Melgen, in the Caribbean nation.

Vinicito, she wrote, “invents things [to do] with the young girls, and then forces them to do the same things with the doctor’s friend” — Sen. Menendez.

The doctor, Melgen, is the Democratic donor whose private jet ferried Menendez to the Dominican Republic on several occasions, and at whose resort home the sex parties allegedly occurred. At least one of the women allegedly involved has said she was younger than 18 when she first had sex with Sen. Menendez.

In her account, sent via email on April 21, 2012 to the liberal advocacy group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), the prostitute identified “Vinicito” by name as a participant, along with Melgen and Menendez. The Daily Caller published an English translation of that email on January 31. (RELATED: Dominican prostitute says Menendez ‘likes the youngest and newest girls’)

Vinicito is the chief strategist for Fuerza Nacional Progresista, a far-right-wing Dominican political party. His father, Marino Vinicio “Vincho” Castillo Rodriguez, is the party’s president and a Dominican attorney known for his hard-line position against narcotics traffickers as president of the National Council on Drugs.

The son also figured in an email sent to CREW by Peter Williams, a whistle-blower who first brought the prostitution allegations against Sen. Menendez to the group’s attention on April 9, 2012.

“During the years I’ve been visiting the Dominican Republic, I met a family where unfortunately two girls are involved in prostitution,” Williams wrote. “One of them told me many stories about her good and bad experiences in this issue. She told me about the frequent trips by yacht, where Senator Menendez, Doctor Melgen and one of Vinicio Castillo’s sons, participate. This yacht belongs to Vinicio Castillo’s son and … is in Casa de Campos’s Marin[a].”

Williams, who may be using an alias, sent TheDC his collection of emails and records on January 13 from what appeared to be an Internet address in Mexico, a day before publishing them online. (RELATED: TheDC’s complete coverage of Bob Menendez)

“It was during some yacht outings that I realized I needed to get out of there,” the young prostitute wrote in one email included in that collection, “because these people are so important and they do whatever they want with whomever they want.”

“Vinicito was there, who goes to many of the doctor’s functions and invents things [to do] with the young girls, and then forces them to do the same things with the doctor’s friend. And he really liked it and wanted to take them to another place, but I don’t know where. They threatened those girls and told them to not talk, and that they couldn’t leave.”

“The doctor’s friend” likely refers to Sen. Menendez. Earlier in the same email, she called him Melgen’s “good friend [who] is very important in the United States.”

In an April 28 email to CREW about the sex parties, the same woman said that “we women are very mistreated,” especially “the younger ones between 16 and 18 years old.” (RELATED: Menendez’s alleged Dominican prostitution spree coincided with crusade against prostitution in Cuba)

The Daily Caller has censored the name of the email’s author because she may have been underage when she began attending the sex parties she described. When TheDC published the email on Jan. 31, the name “Vinicito” was also blacked out.

In the April 28 email, the prostitute said one of the sex parties including Sen. Menendez occurred in mid-May, 2010.

“The bit about specific days is not so easy to remember,” she wrote, “but I can remember they were around February 21, the beginning of March, around May 23 and another time in June 2009.”

“I also saw them in May 2010 — I think it was mid-[May], around the 15th or 16th, and that time I remember they had a big event for the American with important people.”

The timeline suggests that the young woman was referring to a fundraising dinner held in Menendez’s honor at Melgen’s Dominican home at the grandiose Casa de Campo resort, on May 15, 2010. (RELATED: Menendez admits frequent Dominican travel, reimburses FBI-raided donor $58,500 for private jet flights)

Listin Diario, the Dominican Republic’s oldest newspaper, covered the event and published a photograph of Menendez, Melgen, Vinicito Castillo, and the paper’s editor-in-chief Miguel Franjul.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) reimbursed Melgen for the use of his private jet during that 2010 trip, which Federal Aviation Administration records show began in Atlanta on May 14 at 8:02 p.m., a few hours after Menendez delivered a keynote address to the Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials.

The plane’s destination was La Romana International Airport, a few miles away from Melgen’s home, the site of the fundraiser.

FAA records also indicate that on May 16, the plane took off for San Juan, Puerto Rico shortly after 11:30 a.m. That night, records show, the DSCC — which Menendez then chaired — raised more than $70,000 at another event.

The New Jersey Star-Ledger has reported that New Millennium, Menendez’s political action committee, paid more than $1,600 to the El San Juan Hotel, just next to the airport, on May 20, but he was back in Washington by May 18, casting five votes in the Senate.

A spokeswoman for Sen. Menendez did not respond to an email asking for confirmation that the senator had spent time on Castillo’s yacht, moored at the Casa de Campo Marina. Neither Castillo could be reached for comment.

This story was corrected to reflect that the first email from Peter Williams to CREW was on April 9, 2012, not April 9, 2010. TheDC regrets the error.

Follow David and follow Charles on Twitter

Click here to read a translation of the April 21, 2010 email.

A translation of the complete Apr. 28, 2010 email follows below:

Thank you for your support, but I would like to know how you are going to help and protect us, from over there. Those people are very powerful and have a lot of money. I can answer your questions, but I don’t think I can protect myself from them. You surely don’t know what that world is like and we, the women, are very mistreated. Look, the youngest ones are between 16 and 18. They always look for the real young ones, because that is what they like most.

The bit about specific days is not so easy to remember, but I can remember they were around February 21, the beginning of March, around May 23 and another time in June 2009. I also saw them in May 2010, I think it was mid-[May], around the 15th or 16th and that time I remember they had a big event for the American with important people, I was not around, or any other girl, but I heard M***** talk about it, who worked over there in the La Romana house.

Like I said, it was Peter who told me that man was that senator. One day they put his photo in the newspaper and I told him that that was the doctor’s friend who was American and participated in those activities. I have seen many pictures of him since.

Peter was also very shocked when I told him he was the doctor’s friend, and we looked for more photos on the Internet since Peter wanted me to be very sure, but I don’t have a single doubt, I do know well that that is the same American friend, that Bob, the very same man in the photos. But of course in that photo he looks all serious. No, since in the activities I talked about he wore a different kind of clothing.

Peter is very good. He has many desires to help all of us because he is an angel and seriously is worried for my sister, and for me. Tell me how you can help us and how you will protect us. I await your reply.