The former aide to the mayor of Miami who resigned earlier this week over alleged sexually explicit photos sent to a teenager was arrested Friday morning.
Family members told NBC 6 sister station Telemundo 51 that Rene Pedrosa was questioned by officers after being taken into custody by Miami Police Department officials.
He was later booked into jail on charges including promoting sexual performance by a child, electronic transmission harmful to minors and battery. He was being held on $26,500 bond and attorney information wasn't available. Pedrosa bonded out of jail Friday night.
At a news conference Friday, Miami Police Chief Jorge Colina said the investigation into Pedrosa began when the teen reported the alleged conduct on Jan. 19.
"The focus should really be on the victim, the family of the victim that displayed an incredible amount of courage to come forward and report this crime," Colina said.
According to an incident report, the 48-year-old former spokesperson for the city and Mayor Francis Suarez has been under investigation for allegedly soliciting and sending naked pictures to a 16-year-old.
According to an arrest affidavit, the victim told investigators he met Pedrosa through Instagram, and Pedrosa invited the teen for an interview regarding web page design.
On Nov. 25, 2019, the victim went to Pedrosa's workplace for an interview, and while they were in a conference room, Pedrosa kissed and groped the victim, the affidavit said. The teen pushed Pedrosa away and left the room, the affidavit said.
Colina said investigators believe the first physical meeting between the teen and Pedrosa happened at City Hall.
A few days later, Pedrosa contacted the teen on WhatsApp and asked for a picture, the affidavit said. After the victim complied, Pedrosa sent the victim a picture of a penis, the affidavit said.
When investigators later searched Pedrosa's cellphone, they found an image of the victim standing inside a bathtub naked, the affidavit said.
Colina said the investigation isn't over and there may be more alleged victims.
"We don't know if there are other victims, if there are other victims we certainly encourage them to come forward," Colina said. "If there are additional victims, we certainly want to hear from you."
On Tuesday, Pedrosa resigned from his position as communication director. According to Suarez, he met with Pedrosa and asked for his resignation once he admitted to the investigation.
"Once I was able to speak with him in person it became evident immediately that he had to resign," Suarez said in an interview with Telemundo 51 Friday.
Colina said officers seized seven devices from Pedrosa, but Suarez said he didn't believe any were city-owned.
"As a father, I mean it's horrible the fact that this happened is horrible, my heart goes out to the victim and his parents, who I've spoken to," Suarez said.
City commissioner Joe Carollo, a political foe of Suarez, told reporters on Friday that Pedrosa lied about previous convictions on his employment application, then went back and changed the documentation.
"If the appropriate steps would have been taken from day one with Mr. Pedrosa when he applied, to the City of Miami, we never never would be here today," Carollo said.
In a letter to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle asked for another state attorney's office to be assigned the case "to avoid the appearance of impropriety and due to Mr. Pedrosa's relationship and recent contact with this office."
Before becoming the communications director for the mayor in 2019, Pedrosa was a reporter for the local Spanish-language station América TeVé.