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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Rhode Island

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Brazilian National Sentenced to Prison, Ordered Deported for Inducing as Minor to Engage in Sexual Activity

PROVIDENCE – Rafael P. Leal, 39, a Brazilian national who most recently lived in Boston, Mass., was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Providence, R.I., to 235 months in federal prison and ordered deported upon completion of his term of incarceration for enticing a minor to engage in illicit sexual activity and traveling interstate to engage in illicit sexual conduct.


Leal was arrested by Bristol Police on October 22, 2016, after an officer on patrol discovered Leal attempting to engage in illicit sexual conduct with a 14 year-old girl in a parked vehicle at the Bristol Town Beach. Leal pleaded guilty on June 7, 2017.


Leal’s sentence, imposed by U.S. District Court Chief Judge William E. Smith, is announced by Acting United States Attorney Stephen G. Dambruch, Bristol Police Chief Josue D. Canario, and Harold H. Shaw, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Boston Division.


The U.S. Sentencing Guidelines range of imprisonment in this matter is 188-235 months. The government recommended the court impose a sentence of 241 months in prison.


An investigation by the Bristol Police Department, with the assistance of the FBI, determined that Leal and the victim began communicating through social media in June 2016. During continued contact through various social media platforms and other means of communication, Leal groomed the victim through emotional manipulation and gifts. He escalated the relationship from an online relationship to numerous sexual encounters, despite the victim expressing to Leal that she did not want a sexual relationship. The investigation determined that Leal controlled the victim’s activity by insisting that she not engage in social activities with others, particularly male friends, and that she keep their contact and relationship from her parents.


Leal continued to attempt to communicate with the victim in a manipulating manner after he was arrested and ordered detained in prison.


The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney John P. McAdams.





Project Safe Childhood
Jim Martin (401) 709-5357 email: on Twitter @USAO_RI
Press Release Number: 
Updated November 8, 2017