Ten missionaries from the U.S. who tried to take 33 children out of Haiti following the catastrophic earthquake, were charged Thursday with kidnapping children and criminal association.
The missionaries were taken to a jail in Port-au-Prince on Thursday after their court hearing in the case, CNN reported. Most of them are from a Baptist church in Idaho.
The missionaries said they were trying to help the children by taking them from Haiti to an orphanage in the Dominican Republic, but Haitian authorities claimed the group did not have proper documentation and authorization to take the children out of Haiti.
Most of the children who were with the missionaries were not orphans, and Haitian police said some parents willingly handed over their children to the missionaries believing they would get an education and a better life, Reuters reports.
Each kidnapping count can be punished with 5 to 15 years in prison and each criminal association count can carry a sentence of three to nine years, the Los Angeles Times reports.