Former City College professor charged with raping multiple victims from El Salvador, prosecutors say
Aug 3, 2023, 4:34 PM
NEW YORK (AP) — A former City College chemistry adjunct professor was arrested Thursday and charged with coaxing three women from El Salvador to come to the United States for a better life before subjecting them to rape and sexual assault once they arrived, authorities said.
Jorge Alberto Ramos, 43, of the Bronx, was arrested on charges in an indictment returned in Manhattan federal court that alleged he carried out the scheme from 2013 through 2023, grooming the women to make the trip by expressing concern for their families and by sending them gifts and money.
At an initial court appearance, Ramos agreed to remain detained until a bail proposal can be offered. He faces two counts of inducement to travel to engage in unlawful sexual activity and two counts of transportation to engage in unlawful sexual activity. He also was charged with conspiracy to engage in human smuggling, human smuggling and harboring an alien.
If convicted, he could face decades in prison.
His lawyer did not immediately comment.
Dee Dee Mozeleski, a spokesperson for City College, said Ramos had not worked at the school since 2009.
In an email, she said she could not comment on the indictment but added: “Our hearts go out to the victims and their families.”
According to the indictment, Ramos was born in El Salvador and maintained relationships with family, friends and others in the San Miguel area.
Ramos was charged with smuggling one 25-year-old woman to the United States in 2013 or 2014. The indictment said the woman believed that she was in a romantic relationship with Ramos, but his attitude changed toward her once she got a job and he demanded sex whenever he wanted, forcing her to submit.
It said he enticed his second victim, who was 27, to come to the U.S. in November 2015, but she was detained by U.S. Customs and Border Protection for two months until Ramos paid $4,000 for her release.
After Ramos paid for her to fly from Texas to New York, the woman met Ramos at a New York airport, where she noticed that his demeanor had changed, leaving him “aggressive and angry, whereas on their prior phone calls, he had been caring,” the indictment said.
After she arrived at his residence, she was told she had to sexually service him or he would report her to immigration officials for deportation, the indictment said.
The third victim, the indictment said, was 18 years old when she was enticed to come to the United States in March 2017. Although Ramos promised that she would not have to engage in a romantic relationship with him, he repeatedly raped her after he paid thousands of dollars for smugglers to get her to New York, the indictment said.
U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said in a release that Ramos preyed on vulnerable women with promises of a better life and “smuggled them to New York so that he could exploit their bodies for his own sexual gratification.”
Authorities said Ramos convinced the women that they would have educational and other opportunities in the United States.
The indictment said the last two women eventually escaped Ramos, who tried to isolate them from others in his home.