Hialeah gym owner charged with molestation, battery

 

ldixon@MiamiHerald.com

Hialeah police arrested and charged a man with multiple counts of lewd and lascivious battery and molestation after an incident involving a teenager he was looking after.

The man, Howard Puig, 50, of Hialeah, was arrested and charged Thursday with three counts of lewd and lascivious battery and lewd and lascivious molestation. He has since been released on bond.

According to the police report, the 15-year-old victim indicated that the incident took place during the last week of June. The victim alleged that Puig told him to inhale an unknown substance contained in a brown nail polish bottle. Puig then began to perform oral sex on the victim, who told police that the substance kept him from controlling his body movements.

Puig had been temporarily looking after the victim since March. Police said the victim is back in the care of his family. Lt. Carl Zogby said that Puig had been known to look after runaways like the victim and said the teenager was a “quasi-student” at the gym.

“He was running a sort-of wayward home for boys,” said Zogby.

Police detectives searched Puig’s business, the “El Padrino” mixed martial arts gym at 4735 E. 10 Ct., and after searching his bedroom they found the bottle the victim described, according to the report.

Puig was taken to the police station and arrested.

Police said that Puig’s gym, which he had been operating for about two years in the building, is shut down and will not re-open. The Hialeah Building Department found numerous violations at the building apparently including dangerous structural and electrical violations and “a lot of unlicensed construction,” Zogby said.

Police suspect there may be other victims. Any one with information is asked to call 305-687-2525.

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