A 31-year-old former Brazilian prostitute told Reuters she plans to sue the U.S. embassy over injuries she said she suffered outside a strip club in Brasilia late last year.
Romilda Aparecida Ferreira, the ex-prostitute, is threatening to file a civil suit for "medical expenses, lost income, and psychological trauma after an embassy van ran over her and left her stranded in the club parking lot with a broken collarbone, punctured lung and other injuries."
The Dec. 29 incident—involving an embassy driver, three Marines and a civilian staffer—received little media attention at the time, but in the wake of this month's Secret Service prostitution scandal in Colombia, a local reporter asked U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta about it during his trip this week to Brazil, Reuters reported.
Panetta said the Marines were "severely punished," but offered few other details.
The former sex worker recalled meeting the men inside the strip club.
"Like any other night, we sat down with the guys to drink and chat," Ferreira told the news service. "We settled on a price and whose house we would go to."
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Ferreira said she was forced out of the van by one of the men when she attempted to join some of her colleagues, who had already entered the vehicle. She said she panicked when the man grabbed her, so she attempted to hold onto the van, but fell to the ground, hit her head and lost consciousness.
After she fell, her lawyers said, the man told the van driver to go. The vehicle's back wheel then drove over Ferreira. The attorneys said the driver probably did not realize she was there.
On Wednesday, a spokeswoman for the U.S. State Department confirmed Ferreira was run over by the vehicle, but disputed parts of the account.
Ferreira claims embassy officials tried to pay her off after her release from the hospital, but she balked.
Meanwhile, Seattle's KIRO television reported that members of the Secret Service advance team paid for sex with prostitutes in El Salvador while preparing for President Barack Obama's trip to the Central American country in March 2011.
The eyewitness says he joined about a dozen Secret Service agents and a few U.S. military specialists at a strip club in San Salvador a few days before President Obama and his family arrived in El Salvador to meet with its new president, Mauricio Funes.
This source witnessed the majority of the men drink heavily ("wasted," "heavily intoxicated") at the strip club. He says most of the Secret Service "advance-team" members also paid extra for access to the VIP section of the club where they were provided a number of sexual favors in return for their cash. Although our source says he told the agents it was a "really bad idea" to take the strippers back to their hotel rooms, several agents bragged that they "did this all the time" and "not to worry about it." Our source says at least two agents had escorts check into their rooms. It is unclear whether the escorts who returned to the hotels were some of the strippers from the same club.
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