Was an American tourist named Robert W. Schlong arrested in Costa Rica for sexually molesting an endangered sea turtle? No, that's not true: the story was made up by a Canadian entertainment website that makes a living by publishing fictional stories often involving weird crimes, bizarre sex acts or strange accidents. It is not real.
The story originated from an article published on December 14, 2018 titled "Costa Rica: American tourist arrested for having sex with endangered sea turtles" (archived here) which opened:
An endangered sea turtle was left seriously injured after an American tourist apparently dragged it out of the water, beat it with sticks and sexually assaulted the creature.
Local video surveillance cameras showed Robert W. Schlong, an American tourist, sexually molesting the endangered sea turtle which has now been transported to an animal refuge.
Tortuguero Police arrested Robert W. Schlong after several hotel employees reported the man having sex with multiple sea turtles over a two-week period.
Users on social media only saw this title, description and thumbnail and would not have realized this was a joke site:
Costa Rica: American tourist arrested for having sex with endangered sea turtles
An endangered sea turtle was left seriously injured after an American tourist apparently dragged it out of the water, beat it with sticks and sexually assaulted the creature. Local video surveillance cameras showed Robert W. Schlong, an American tourist, sexually molesting the endangered sea turtl
However the man pictured was not an American, although he is a rapist (but not of turtles, unfortunately):
Jailed: Kerbcrawler who told sex worker he was a killer before raping her three times faces nine years behind bars
A kerbcrawler who told a sex worker he was a 'killer' before he subjected her to a terrifying ordeal in the red light district has been caged for nine years. Joseph Doyle, 32, of Rushcroft Court, Blackley , repeatedly told the woman 'don't **** about, I'm a killer' as he demanded cash, and then sex.
The turtle does appear to be Costa Rican:
COSTA RICA CUSTOM VACATIONS
Tortuguero National Park located in the Caribbean Coast of Costa Rica, and was open to protect the turtles. Tortuguero beach is one of the most important nesting site in the world.The green turtle nesting season is from July through October, you can also see turtle hatching from November through January.
The website World News Daily Report is a well known satire website specialized in posting hoaxes and made up stories. The disclaimer on their website is pretty clear about that even though you have to scroll all the way down the page to find it:
World News Daily Report assumes all responsibility for the satirical nature of its articles and for the fictional nature of their content. All characters appearing in the articles in this website - even those based on real people - are entirely fictional and any resemblance between them and any person, living, dead or undead, is purely a miracle.
It is run by Janick Murray-Hall and Olivier Legault, who also run the satirical Journal de Mourréal, a satirical site spoofing the (real) Journal de Montéal. Very often their stories feature an image showing a random crazy mugshot found in a mugshot gallery on the internet or on a stock photo website superimposed over a background of flashing police lights or crime scene tape.
Articles from the site are frequently copied (sometimes even months or years later) by varous fake news websites that omit the satire disclaimer and present the information as real.
NewsGuard, a company that uses trained journalist to rank the reliability of websites, describes worldnewsdailyreport.com as:
A website that publishes hoaxes and made-up stories that are often widely shared and mistaken for news.
According to NewsGuard the site does not maintain basic standards of accuracy and accountability. Read their full assessment here.
We wrote about worldnewsdailyreport.com before, here are our most recent articles that mention the site:
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