MIAMI – A former aide to the mayor of Miami has been arrested after he invited a child to his office, inappropriately touched the victim and then sent the victim a picture of a penis, police said.
Rene Pedrosa was arrested Friday morning on felony charges, including promoting sexual performance by a child and computer pornography.
According to a Miami police report, Pedrosa met the victim via Instagram and invited the victim to his office in November to discuss a web page design.
While Pedrosa was escorting the victim out of the conference room, Pedrosa stopped, grabbed the victim’s hand, forcefully kissed the victim on the lips and grabbed the child’s buttocks, the report said.
“The defendant then grabbed the victim’s hand and placed it on the defendant’s erect penis,” the report said.
Eventually, the child was able to push Pedrosa away and left the room, the report said.
A few days later, the report said, Pedrosa contacted the child on WhatsApp and asked for a picture. In return, police said, Pedrosa sent the child a picture of a penis.
Police obtained a search warrant at Pedrosa’s home in January and seized several electronic devices, including Pedrosa’s cellphone.
A forensic examination of the phone revealed a picture of a naked child standing in the bathtub, police said. It was the same picture the child sent Pedrosa, police said.
There were also several WhatsApp messages between Pedrosa and the child, the report said.
Among the messages Pedrosa is alleged to have sent were:
- “I’m dying to sleep with you.”
- “I’m home by myself. You can come over.”
The child replied: “Rene, I can’t do that. Also knowing I’m a minor just made me even worse, so yeah.”
Pedrosa resigned Tuesday as the mayor’s communications director.
“I have been made aware that Rene Pedrosa was taken into custody,” Mayor Francis Suarez said. “I want to thank the Miami Police Department for expeditiously dealing with this matter. The residents of Miami deserve the highest standards from municipal employees. I will always work to ensure that my administration delivers accountability and takes action to uphold those standards. I have spoken to the mother of the reported victim and assured her that this is handled to the full extent of the law. My thoughts are with the reported victim and the family and we expect the legal process to take its course.”
Miami Police Chief Jorge Colina said the investigation is still ongoing.
“We don’t know if there are other victims,” Colina said. “If there are other victims, we certainly encourage them to come forward.”
An attorney for the child’s family said the fact that the alleged incident occurred within City Hall “makes these crimes even more terrifying and horrendous.”
“The family is extremely pleased this man was arrested and looks forward to swift justice and just punishment,” attorney Raymond Rafool said in a statement.
Pedrosa also faces charges of battery and electronic transmission/harmful to minors. He was being held at the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center.
Miami-Dade County State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle has asked Gov. Ron DeSantis to reassign Pedrosa’s case to another office to “avoid the appearance of impropriety.” Broward County is expected to prosecute the case.
Police are asking potential victims to call the Special Victims Unit at 305-603-6300.