Therapist Pedro Julio Garcia of Kendall, Florida was arrested on May 24 for allegedly sexually a 13-year-old during a session. Garcia, 67, is being charged with lewd and lascivious molestation on a child between 12 and 16 years of age, and lewd and lascivious conduct on a child less than 16 years of age.
According to the arrest report, the alleged incident took place at Garcia’s practice in 9010 SW 137th Avenue. The teen told investigators that Garcia tried to kiss her mouth and touched her inappropriately during a session. She said he told her to lie on a couch and close her eyes, then he placed his fingers on her mouth and asked her if they “felt like her boyfriend’s kisses,” the report said. The victim tried to leave the room, but Garcia held her and attempted to kiss her.
Three more victims have come forward with allegations of sexual abuse against Garcia since his arrest two months ago. Miami-Dade prosecutors made the announcement last week. They have not charged Garcia with attacking those women, but they plan to use their testimony as evidence against him if the case goes to trial.
The three women reportedly told investigators similar stories. One victim said that in 2010, Garcia lifted her blouse, touched her and attempted to kiss her during a session. Another victim told investigators that in 2015, he touched her genitals over her clothes while she was laying in a reclined therapy chair. And the third victim said he fondled her during a session in December 2015. The prosecution did not reveal how old the victims were when the alleged incidents occurred.
Garcia is the owner of PJ Psychotherapy. He received his license after graduating from the University of Havana, and finishing additional courses at Florida International University and the University of Miami. According to the Florida Department of Health, Garcia’s license is still active and he has never received any formal complaints in his 40-year career.
“Pedro Garcia maintains a clear and active license with no public complaints or discipline on record,” Florida Department of Health spokesperson Brad Dalton told The Miami Herald.
It is unclear if anyone has filed a complaint since his arrest in May. Complaints are not made public until an investigation by the Florida Department of Health yields probable cause.
Lewd and lascivious molestation is committed when someone intentionally touches the breasts, genitals, or buttocks of a minor younger than 16 in a lewd or lascivious manner. Lewd or lascivious molestation on a child between 12 and 16 is a second-degree felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison, 15 years of probation, and up to $10,000 in fines.
A person convicted of this charge will also be declared a sex offender and have their name added to the National Sex Offender Registry. They will be required to comply with sex offender registration laws in the state and throughout the U.S. for the rest of their lives.