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May 8, 2015San Juan, PR, United StatesChild Exploitation

Former Puerto Rican psychiatrist sentenced to 15 years for child exploitation

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – A former psychiatrist was sentenced Thursday to 15 years in prison for transporting a minor with the intent to engage in criminal sexual conduct. The investigation that led to the arrest, prosecution and subsequent sentence was made by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Puerto Rico Crimes Against Children Task Force officers.

On Aug. 20, 2013, Gerardo Navarro-Rodriguez, 60, was arrested at his medical office in Caguas after an investigation revealed he allegedly induced, coerced and enticed at least one 17-year-old male minor to engage in commercial sexual acts. The investigation was spurred by a referral from the Puerto Rico Police Department.

According to the criminal complaint, Navarro-Rodriguez was a psychiatrist working for APS Healthcare Puerto Rico. APS is a private corporation contracted by the Puerto Rican government and is the sole provider of mental health services under The Puerto Rico Health Reform, “Mi Salud.”

In his position as a psychiatrist for APS, Dr. Navarro-Rodriguez provided, among other things, psychiatric therapy sessions to children and adolescent victims of sexual abuse. From approximately October 2011 through May 2013, a male minor identified as John Doe was a patient of Dr. Navarro-Rodriguez. The criminal complaint alleges during this period the doctor committed lewd acts and sexual assault against the victim on several occasions.

“Predators who victimize innocent children for selfish gratification must know that we will not rest until they are brought to justice, regardless of where they live and who they are,” said Ricardo Mayoral, acting special agent in charge of HSI San Juan. “Words cannot describe the harm that these crimes inflict on children.”

In response to the need for an island-wide approach in the fight against the escalation of predatory crimes against children, HSI San Juan partnered with members of local, state and federal law enforcement, as well as local and state government officials and community leaders, to form the PRCACTF in June 2011.

Through PRCACTF, local, state and federal law enforcement agencies work together with local and state government agencies to effectively pool their resources to jointly investigate all crimes against children in Puerto Rico. Through the task force, law enforcement officers are encouraged to share evidence, ideas, and investigative and forensic tools to ensure the most successful prosecutions possible. As such, PRCACTF allows law enforcement to speak with one unified voice in defense of the children of Puerto Rico.

This investigation was conducted under HSI’s Operation Predator, an international initiative to protect children from sexual predators. Since the launch of Operation Predator in 2003, HSI has arrested more than 10,000 individuals for crimes against children, including the production and distribution of online child pornography, traveling overseas for sex with minors, and sex trafficking of children. In fiscal year 2014, more than 2,300 individuals were arrested by HSI special agents under this initiative and more than 1,000 victims identified or rescued.

HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free Tip Line at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators. From outside the U.S. and Canada, callers should dial 802-872-6199. Hearing impaired users can call TTY 802-872-6196. Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, via its toll-free 24-hour hotline, 1-800-THE-LOST.

For additional information about wanted suspected child predators, download HSI’s Operation Predator smartphone app or visit the online suspect alerts page.

HSI is a founding member and current chair of the Virtual Global Taskforce, an international alliance of law enforcement agencies and private industry sector partners working together to prevent and deter online child sexual abuse.

Updated: 06/08/2015