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Fugitive faces child sex crimes charges in Miami-Dade after 10 years of hiding in Dominican Republic

A 54-year-old fugitive who was wanted for sexually abusing teenage boys flew from the Dominican Republic to Miami-Dade County on Thursday after a decade of being on the run.

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – A 54-year-old fugitive who was wanted for sexually abusing teenage boys flew from the Dominican Republic to Miami-Dade County on Thursday after a decade of being on the run.

Joan Humberto Marcelino is facing charges in Miami-Dade and Lake County for crimes committed in 2010 and 2011. The licensed psychiatrist preyed on Westland Hialeah Senior High School students at a neighboring gym, according to the Sept. 27, 2011 arrest warrant.

A treaty between the U.S. and the Dominican Republic didn’t allow his extradition when he fled. The Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office legal and extradition unit requested a status review in 2020. Authorities in the Dominican Republic arrested him on July 21st in Villa Altagracia.

“Ten years have passed since ... Marcelino fled Miami-Dade County to avoid facing criminal charges based on his alleged conduct with minors,” State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said. “Thanks to the resolute efforts and commitment of my prosecutors and staff ... Marcelino will now have to face the justice he so long sought to avoid.”

Authorities from the Dominican Republic arrested Joan Humberto Marcelino to be extradited to the U.S. to face charges in Miami-Dade and Lake counties. (Handout)

According to Miami-Dade Schools Detective John Messenger, Marcelino was out on bond for child sex crimes in Lake County when he molested a 15-year-old boy and was involved in sexual activity with a 17-year-old boy in Miami-Dade.

Marcelino started up conversations with the students at the gym next to the school, exposed himself in the locker room, and offered them rides in his car where he committed some of the crimes, police said.

“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,” Miami-Dade Schools Police Chief Edwin Lopez said in a statement.

Clermont Police Department detectives identified Marcelino as an employee of a mental health facility who met two Hialeah teenage boys at a gym and at a park basketball court and brought them from Hialeah to his house in Lake County to abuse them, according to the arrest form. Lake County revoked Marcelino’s bond on Sept. 20, 2011.

A 54-year-old fugitive who was wanted for sexually abusing teenage boys flew from the Dominican Republic to Miami-Dade County on Thursday afternoon.

Marcelino was a published author. Eloquent Books published his “Domestic Violence and the Need to Develop a More Holistic Approach” on Dec. 23, 2009 and L&R Editores published “I Have the Right to be Angry” in Spanish on Feb. 3, 2011.

In his book’s biography, Marcelino describes himself as having helped “hundreds of victims recover from the physical and mental trauma of domestic abuse,” and as the founder of Ministerio Internacional Fortaleciendo la Familia, or MIFF, an organization he used to promote his seminars on child and domestic abuse, anger management, improving self-esteem, communication, and family values.

“This extradition is notable not just because ... Marcelino is charged with unthinkable crimes against minors, but because he did so while acting in the capacity of a health care professional and in a position of trust,” said Gadyaces S. Serralta, the U.S. Marshal for the Southern District of Florida.

In Miami-Dade County, Marcelino is facing charges of lewd and lascivious molestation on a child 12 to 16, unlawful sexual activity with a minor, indecent exposure, and two counts of lewd and lascivious exhibition on a child under 16.

In Lake County, Marcelino is facing charges of possession of child pornography, two counts of traveling to meet a minor for illegal sexual conduct, and two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.


About the Authors:

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.

Roy Ramos joined the Local 10 News team in 2018. Roy is a South Florida native who grew up in Florida City. He attended Christopher Columbus High School, Homestead Senior High School and graduated from St. Thomas University.