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St. Thomas Man Indicted By Federal Grand Jury For Allegedly Trafficking Minor For Sex

CHARLOTTE AMALIE – A St. Thomas man who allegedly raped a 14-year-old girl in February appeared in a federal courtroom to hear the charges against him for the first time today.

Osvaldo Tavarez, 48, appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Ruth Miller after a Federal Grand Jury returned a two-count indictment charging transportation of a minor with intent to engage in illegal sexual activity, U.S. Attorney Gretchen C.F. Shappert said.

Tavarez remains in custody pending a detention hearing scheduled for Wednesday July 18, 2018.

According to court records, Tavarez transported a minor who had not obtained the age of eighteen to an area in St. Thomas and engaged her in illegal sexual activity.

Although the alleged rape happened in February, the victim waited until March to report the attack to police.

Under federal law, Tavarez faces a maximum sentence of life in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Shappert said that an indictment is merely a formal charging document and is not in and of itself evidence of guilt.

“Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty,” she said.

Suspected child exploitation or missing children cases may be reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children via its toll-free 24–hour hotline at 202-514-5678, or to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) at (340) 693-2250.

The case is being investigated by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Everard Potter.

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

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