Carlos Perez, of Coral Springs, Florida was arrested on March 22 for allegedly conducting a two-year affair with a 16-year-old girl, sources indicate. The 61-year-old was arrested on charges of possessing child pornography. Officials are reportedly considering adding additional charges of sexual battery or child abuse. Perez is currently in custody at the Broward County Jail, where he is being held on $10,000 bond. It is not clear whether he has retained a private criminal defense attorney.
If found guilty as charged, Perez will have to register as a sex offender in the State of Florida. It is not clear whether he has ever faced similar charges.
According to sources, Perez was first cited for having an inappropriate relationship with the girl two years ago. He reportedly met her through her parents, with whom he worked at Swap Shop, a flea market/drive-in movie theatre located at 3291 West Sunrise Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale. The girl, whose name has not been released because of her status as a minor, began visiting her parents at work when she was 12 years old.
Reports indicate that two years later, when the teen was 14 years old, a neighbor spotted her and Perez kissing inside of a parked car outside of the girls’ home. The neighbor notified police and the girls’ parents. In October 2010, the father of the teen got an injunction against Perez on behalf of his daughter, requiring that he stay at least 500 feet away from her.
Investigations allege that Perez continually violated this injunction. Perez was arrested once in April on charges of aggravated stalking after he was found in a parking lot near the teenager’s high school. It is not clear how police were able to locate him there. At that time, Perez’ iPhone was confiscated and placed in a holding locker at the Broward County Jail. “During the course of that arrest we take his property [including] his cellphone and we put it into our property unit,” explained a police officer. “The phone is the key here.” For unknown reasons, Perez never went back to reclaim the phone when he was released from prison.
During interviews leading up to the current charges, the girl reportedly admitted to authorities that Perez would pick her up from school up to three times a week, take her to parking lots in Cooper City, and have sex with her in his car. The relationship was apparently consensual, and the girl reported that it had started some time ago. The girl also admitted to sending illicit photos of herself, including some in which she exposed her genitals, to Perez’ iPhone.
Since police already had possession of Perez’ phone, they were able to search it immediately after acquiring a search warrant. They found the incriminating photos and arrested Perez at his place of work, still Swap Shop, on Thursday. It is not known whether the business was aware of the restraining order against Perez or whether they will continue to employ Perez if he is released pending the current charges. They have not released a comment pertaining to the arrest.