Emmanuel Morales-Hernández, 29, of Lares, Puerto Rico is a well-known pastor not only in Lares but also in Utuado, Puerto Rico. He is accused of using his position of public trust to abuse a minor.
From November 23, 2021 to December 3, 2021, Morales-Hernandez allegedly knowingly persuaded, induced, enticed and coerced an individual, then 16, to engage in sexual activity. The case was investigated by the Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) with the help of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Puerto Rico and Puerto Rico Police Bureau (PRPB).
On March 24, 2022, Morales-Hernandez was arrested without incident at his residence in Lares. On the same day, he had his initial hearing before U.S. Magistrate Judge Bruce McGiverin.
Morales-Hernandez was booked into the Guaynabo Metropolitan Detention Center in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico. He was charged with coercion and enticement of a minor and attempted receipt of child exploitation material.
After considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors, a federal district court judge will determine any sentence. If convicted, Morales-Hernández faces a mandatory minimum penalty of five years for the attempted receipt of child exploitation material and a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years in prison for the enticement and coercion charge.
Lares was founded by Francisco de Sotomayor and Pedro Vélez Borrero on April 26, 1827. It is a mountain town and municipality with 12 barrios namely Bartolo, Buenos Aires, Callejones, Espino, Lares, Lares barrio-pueblo, La Torre, Mirasol, Pezuela, Piletas, Pueblo and Río Prieto.
The Rábano Estate Festival and Almojábana Festival are held in Lares every October. José I. Rodríguez Ruiz is the incumbent mayor of the municipality.
Denise Quiñones, 41, represented Lares when she won Miss Puerto Rico Universe 2001 on November 14, 2000 at the Luis A. Ferré Performing Arts Center in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Representing Puerto Rico, she won Miss Universe 2001 at the Coliseo Rubén Rodríguez in Bayamón, Puerto Rico on May 11, 2001.