More than 10 years after a man fled to the Dominican Republic amid an investigation into alleged sex crimes with underage students in Miami-Dade, authorities said he's in custody in South Florida.
Dr. Joan Humberto Marcelino is facing charges of lewd and lascivious molestation on a child 12-16 years old, lewd and lascivious exhibition on a child under 16, unlawful sexual activity with a specified minor and indecent exposure, Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office officials said Thursday.
An arrest warrant had been issued for the 54-year-old Marcelino on Sept. 27, 2011, after allegations surfaced that he used his membership at a local gym to meet high school students.
Before the warrant was issued, Marcelino fled South Florida and eventually made his way to the Dominican Republic, officials said.
The Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office said they had been unable to have Marcelino returned to South Florida because under a previous treaty between the United States and the Dominican Republic, the charges against him were not extraditable.
But in January of 2020, prosecutors began a status review of the case and learned that the treaty had changed and the charges were extraditable, leading to Marcelino's return to Miami-Dade.
"Thanks to the resolute efforts and commitment of my prosecutors and staff in the Extradition Section of my Legal Unit, and the commitment of the U.S. Marshals Service, the Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs, the Florida Caribbean Regional Fugitive Task Force, Government of the Dominican Republic and the continued commitment of the Miami-Dade Schools Police Department to bring this case before a judge, Dr. Marcelino will now have to face the justice he so long sought to avoid," Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said in a statement.
Marcelino also has outstanding charges in Clermont, Florida, relating to a similar 2010 alleged incident in that jurisdiction, authorities said.
"Due to the relentless and diligent efforts of local, state and federal law enforcement personnel, a predator who victimized our students will face long-awaited justice," Miami-Dade Schools Police Chief Edwin Lopez said in a statement. "This case sends a strong message to anyone willing to harm juveniles that the reach of the law enforcement arm is endless, especially when it pertains to child victims."
Sign up for our Breaking newsletter to get the most urgent news stories in your inbox.