Mass. Resident Detained for Allegedly Enticing a Minor
PROVIDENCE – Rafael P. Leal, 38, of Boston, Mass., was ordered detained in federal custody in Rhode Island today on charges he allegedly traveled to Rhode Island to entice a minor child to engage in illicit sexual conduct, announced United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha, Bristol Police Chief Josue D. Canario and Harold H. Shaw, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Boston Division.
Leal was arrested earlier today at his Massachusetts residence by FBI agents on a federal arrest warrant issued with the filing of a federal criminal complaint in U.S. District Court in Providence charging Leal with interstate travel to engage in sexual activity with a minor and using means of interstate commerce to entice a minor to engage in sexual activity.
According to information presented to the court, it is alleged that the defendant used the Internet and text messages to entice a minor over a period of months to engage in sexual activity without the minor’s parents’ knowledge. It is alleged that the defendant crossed state lines on at least four occasions with the intent to engage in sexual conduct with a minor. It is alleged that the defendant sent gifts to the victim and directed the victim to conceal the activity.
A criminal complaint is merely an allegation and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Using means of interstate commerce (Internet) to entice a minor to engage in sexual activity is punishable by a statutory penalty of a mandatory minimum of 10 years up to life imprisonment; interstate travel to engage in sexual activity with a minor is punishable by a statutory penalty of up to 30 years imprisonment.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney John P. McAdams.