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Police said they arrested 38-year-old Erik Blanco, the center director at Bucky Dent Park in Hialeah, for engaging in sexual activity with a minor at the park during and after park hours. NBC 6's Gilma Avalos reports.
Hialeah police said a city employee was arrested Wednesday for having unlawful sexual activity with a minor.
Authorities said 38-year-old Erik Edward Blanco, who works for the Hialeah Parks and Recreation Department, had an unlawful relationship with a 17-year-old female. He was released on bond early Thursday.
Detectives said the sexual activity took place at Bucky Dent Park where Blanco is a center director and the teen was a part-time volunteer. The victim's family alerted officials on April 7th of the relationship.
The victim then told police that between November and December of 2013 she and Blanco would engage in oral sex inside the break room of the park at least once a week during the closing hours between 9:15 and 9:30 p.m., according to an arrest form. The victim also told police they once engaged in oral sex during park hours, according to the report.
"At the beginning this may have been agreed upon by both of them, but the state considers it illegal," Hialeah Police Spokesman Carl Zogby said. "She's underage, she cannot consent to have a relationship with an adult."
Blanco has been with the city since February of 1999, according to Hialeah Police. He is currently in a non-work status pending termination of his employment, police said.
The city released a statement that read in part:
"The City of Hialeah is confident that the overwhelming majority of employees continue to respect and abide the law and unlawful behavior will not be tolerated. It is our hope that the actions of one employee will not reflect negatively on the hundreds of employees who work hard to serve the public day."
Those who knew Blanco said they were sad to hear the allegations.
"I feel disappointed because he was a friend to me, " said Andres Menendez, a student who plays basketball at the park.
Others said they were surprised to hear about the charges on Blanco, who they said has been a fixture at the park for years.
"I've talked to friends that have known him since he taught them sports from when we were little kids," Diego Zuluaga said. "Everybody's shocked."
It is unclear if Blanco has an attorney. There was no answer when NBC 6 reporters knocked on the door of his home, where he is thought to live with his wife and two children.