McTurk stayed many times at a nearby beach hotel, the Club Amigo Marea del Portillo, Robb added. Online guest reviews of the hotel and the adjoining Club Farallón show several complaints of male tourists hanging out with young Cuban prostitutes.
The mother declared that “Jimmy” always brought candy, pencils and clothes for the neighborhood children during his visits, about twice a year in recent years, “that he distributed in front of us adults.”
But after her daughter’s arrest police and a psychiatrist questioned four neighborhood girls, aged seven, nine and 12, for signs of abuse by the Canadian, according to Torres Jordan.
“The girls said that no, that at no time did he touch them, that he really was here to hand out little things to the girls,” the mother said in a recorded phone interview from Pilón with dissident Havana journalist Dania Virgen García, who writes often about prison abuses.
Torres Jordan later told an El Nuevo Herald journalist who phoned her from Miami that her daughter had been freed several weeks after her arrest and had moved out of Marea del Portillo, but she refused to provide further details on her complaint or the four little girls.
“That was confusion,” she said. “He did something in Varadero, but because he was also here they (Cuban authorities) did an investigation here.”
McTurk pleaded guilty in Toronto last month to charges of making child pornography, importing child pornography, sexual interference, invitation to sexual touching and child sex tourism – with girls as young as three — and is in prison awaiting sentencing. He could spend the rest of his life behind bars if he is declared a dangerous offender.
The retired postal worker also was convicted of Cuba-related child pornography in 1995 and 1998 and was on the Canadian sex offender's registry. Yet McTurk made at least 29 trips to Cuba between November of 2008 and his last arrest in July 2012.
Court records show him flying from Varadero to Canada 20 times and seven times from Manzanillo, the town closest to Marea del Portillo and Pilón. He also returned home on one flight each from the eastern cities of Camaguey and Holguín.
Varadero taxi driver Rolando “Rolly” Cabrera Abreu, 43, told El Nuevo Herald that McTurk always brought little gifts, sweets and clothes for children during his many visits to the beach town over the 20 years that he worked for the tourist.
McTurk also “had a woman in each town” he visited, Cabrera said, listing Marea del Portillo, Varadero on the north central coast, Guardalavaca on the northeast coast and Amarillo beach east of Havana.
But McTurk never talked to him about sex with children, Cabrera insisted. If the Canadian was molesting children, he added, “that’s his problem. I know nothing about that.”
Police have never questioned him about McTurk, Cabrera added. But if asked he will say that he has “only the best opinion of him as a human being. I know nothing bad about Jimmy.”
“I am telling you this because of the fondness and friendship that I feel for him,” the taxi driver declared. “In Varadero, everyone knows Jimmy, and Jimmy knows everyone.”