Tougher screenings for sponsor families passed by MDCPS after sexual abuse arrest

Convicted felon Dale Leary had opened his open to foreign students

MIAMI – The death of a man who had been arrested for allegedly sexually abusing a foreign exchange student has led Miami-Dade County Public Schools to pass tougher precautions on screening sponsor families in the future.

Dale Leary legally opened up his Cutler Bay home to foreign exchange students.

But the 50-year-old man was arrested last month, along with his 21-year-old wife, Marta San Jose, after both were accused of sexually abusing a teenage girl he took in from Spain.

Only then was it revealed that Leary had a criminal past.

He has been convicted in the 1980s of armed burglary, sexual battery and assault. Yet, somehow, he was still cleared to be a host.

"It is both a horrifying and sad realization," Miami-Dade County Public Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho said.

Carvalho said the Leary case is just one of many examples of how criminals fall through the cracks, because of lax registration policies.

"What we're asking for here is a much more rigorous, in-depth background check -- FBI-caliber that looks at fingerprints and registers those fingerprints against any criminal backgrounds of the individuals who want to be potential hosts," he said.

School board members are also behind the idea with a new resolution and are urging the U.S. State Department to take action.

Leary bonded out of jail and committed suicide last week outside of his home. He was found in a running car with a hose attached.

Leary's ex-wife, Claudia Leary, was also found, but survived.

It turns out she is an administrator with Miami-Dade County Public Schools, and detectives have yet to determine what role if any she played in the abuse.

"That individual has been removed from her position," Carvalho said. "She was not in the position where she had direct contact with students."

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