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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Puerto Rico

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, September 24, 2018

Woman Sentenced To 10 Years In Prison For Transportation Of A Minor With The Intent Of Committing A Criminal Sexual Act

SAN JUAN, P.R. – United States District Court Senior Judge Daniel R. Domínguez sentenced Yaira Tanies Cotto-Flores to 10 years in prison followed by eight years of supervised release for one count of transportation of a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, announced United States Attorney Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez.

On April 27, 2018, after a nine-day jury trial and four hours of deliberation, Yaira Tanies Cotto-Flores was found guilty of one count of transportation of a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity. According to the evidence presented at trial, on March 1, 2016, the defendant transported a 14-year-old male student to a motel located in San Lorenzo, PR, with the intent to engage in sexually explicit conduct. Cotto-Flores was the victim’s English teacher. They met at the beginning of the school year and the defendant gave the victim various gifts including an acne treatment kit, a neckband and a Bulova wristwatch.

“This sentence should serve to reassure the public that we are paying close attention to the well-being of our children, and that we will spare no expense to take child predators off the streets,” said U.S. Attorney Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez. “We entrust teachers to serve as role models for our children and safeguard their welfare. The jury found Ms. Cotto-Flores guilty of robbing a child’s innocence and causing harm to the victim and his family. As this conviction makes clear, when that trust is violated, there are severe consequences.”

“Children who are sexually exploited either physically or through the dissemination of child pornography suffer immeasurable harm,” said Ivan J. Arvelo, special agent in charge of HSI San Juan. “And while this significant sentence cannot repair the damage done, it should serve as a stark reminder that we are watching and the aggressive investigation and prosecution of predators remains a high priority for HSI.”

The criminal prosecution was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Elba Gorbea. ICE-HSI was in charge of the investigation with the collaboration of the Puerto Rico Police Department.

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Topic(s): 
Project Safe Childhood
Component(s): 
Updated September 24, 2018