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The United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency says a suspended Catholic priest has pleaded guilty to child exploitation charges for taking a minor on a cruise with the intent to engage in criminal sexual conduct.
Israel Berrios-Berrios who pleaded guilty in court on Thursday was arrested on May 13 at his residence in Naranjito, Puerto Rico, following an indictment that charged him with transporting a minor with the intent to engage in sexual activity.
Prosecutors charged that Berrios-Berrios transported a 15-year-old male minor to Miami, Florida, where they took a four-day cruise to the Bahamas.
“While on the cruise, Berrios-Berrios engaged in lewd acts with the minor,” prosecutors claimed.
Angel M. Melendez, special agent in charge of HSI San Juan, said “the arrest and guilty plea of this man are especially disturbing, given the position of trust he occupied.
Since 2003 more than 10,000 individuals for crimes against children in the United States including the production and distribution of online child pornography, traveling overseas for sex with minors, and sex trafficking of children.