Courts

The case of a vodou curse, drugs and rape heads to trial

 

dovalle@MiamiHerald.com

When a New York woman believed she had a vodou curse placed upon her, she turned to a Miami religious practitioner named Pierre Jenty, investigators say.

But after paying more than $20,000 to Jenty, sometimes for help with the “spirits” to win the lottery, her experience ended in a North Miami hotel room — with the older man drugging and raping her, according to prosecutors.

The strange and previously untold tale was detailed in court Friday as a Miami-Dade judge set a July trial date. The identity of victims in rape cases are not made public.

The alleged rape happened in November 2006, prosecutor Jessie Friedman told a judge, but Jenty skipped his bond, escaped to Canada, then Haiti for six years before returning to Miami late last year. He was re-arrested and jailed.

Jenty, 66, is charged with sexual battery by drugging and third-degree grand theft.

The woman, then 27, first called police from a pay phone on Biscayne Boulevard and Northeast 123rd Street, outside a Best Western hotel. She told them a harrowing tale.

The woman, believing she had been cursed, had met Jenty through a friend in New York. She began to pay him money, via Western Union wire transfers, for his spiritual work.

“He told her if she ever tells anyone about all the money she’d given him, then the spirits would kill her,” according to a North Miami police report. “He also told her she would be in a tragic car accident and bad things would happen to her family.”

The Haitian vodou religion, which blends Catholic beliefs with the worship of deities, is deeply rooted in the island’s culture and also widely practiced outside of Haiti.

In October 2006, the New York woman flew to Miami to visit with Jenty. The following month, she flew down to buy lottery tickets — without him knowing.

But she “accidentally” ran into him near the Best Western hotel.

“I know what you’re doing here. You crossed the spirits. We will have to start over with your case,” he allegedly told her, according to police.

Jenty claimed the woman now owed him $60,000.

Not long after, she flew to Miami again, this time to pay him $1,000 to provide her with spirit-guided lottery numbers.

He left her waiting at the airport for hours. Eventually, she took a cab to the Best Western where he was staying.

Jenty, she told detectives, grew upset because she only had $300. As part of an apparent ritual in the hotel room, he gave her a bottle of cola and “rubbed lotion on her arms.”

The woman immediately became drowsy and fell into a deep sleep. She woke up, her pants off and she felt like she had been raped. She said she had never had consensual sex with the older man.

The woman escaped her room, dialing 911. Miami-Dade prosecutor Friedman told the judge Friday that the woman’s urine tested positive for the powerful drugs Hydrocortone and Methadone.

Jenty claimed to detectives that the woman was his girlfriend and their sex was consensual.

He also claimed that he’d given her $20,000 to start a business and that she had flown down to Miami to return part of the money to him.

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