A worker with the Department of Children and Families was arrested Saturday while trying to flee the country following accusations that he had a sexual relationship with a teenage girl in foster care, officials said.
Jean LaCroix, 46, boarded a plane to the Dominican Republic Saturday morning but was returned to New York after U.S. federal authorities asked custom agents in Dominican Republic to deny LaCroix entry to the country, the state attorney's office said. LaCroix was arrested in New York and charged with five counts of unlawful sexual activity with a minor, according to an arrest warrant.
State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said officials "went to extraordinary lengths to bring this man into custody as he tried to flee the country." She added, "But for those who work child exploitation and human trafficking cases, extraordinary efforts are just part of the everyday routine."
"We are extremely grateful for the hard work of law enforcement and the State Attorney's Office. We will continue to work with them in this case and in the future to protect all children," DCF said in a statement.
LaCroix allegedly had sex with a teen who is also one of the victims in the prostitution ring that was busted last week, according to authorities. The DCF investigator had been assigned to the teen's case.
“This investigator completely betrayed our trust, and unfortunately people will do bad things, but we have to insure things like this do not happen,” said DCF Secretary David Wilkins.
The warrant alleged LaCroix carried out a lengthy sexual relationship with the teen for months.
"The victim advised that while in school she would call or text the subject and the subject would arrange to pick her up from school and take her to his residence where they would engage in consensual sexual intercourse," the warrant said.
DCF is working to fire LaCroix who was placed on paid administrative leave in May, according to a warrant.
It wasn't immediately known if LaCroix had retained an attorney.