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Puerto Rican psychiatrist arrested on child exploitation, sex trafficking charges

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico, Sept. 29, CMC – The United States Customs and Enforcement (ICE) agency says a Puerto Rican psychiatrist has been arrested for transporting a minor with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity and sex trafficking of a minor.

On Saturday, the ICE said the arrest was made by its Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents, working jointly with Puerto Rico Crimes Against Children Task Force officers.

HSI special agents arrested Gerardo V. Navarro-Rodriguez at his medical office in Caguas, Puerto Rico after an investigation revealed he allegedly “induced, coerced and enticed at least one 17-year-old male to engage in commercial sexual acts.”

The investigation was spurred by a referral from the Puerto Rico Police Department, ICE said.

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 about October 2011 through May, a male minor identified as John Doe was a patient of Dr. Navarro-Rodriguez.

The criminal complaint alleges that, during this period, the doctor committed lewd acts and sexual assault against the victim on several occasions.

If convicted, Navarro-Rodriguez faces between 10 years and life in prison.

The investigation was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide HSI initiative to protect children from sexual predators, including those who travel overseas for sex with minors, Internet child pornographers, criminal alien sex offenders and child sex traffickers.