Homestead - South Dade

Fired refugee shelter worker accused of having sexual exchanges with a boy she met there

A federal investigator says a Homestead woman employed as a refugee youth care shelter worker admitted to sending sexually explicit photos of herself to a 15-year-old who had been at the shelter, getting a pornographic video of the boy and requesting that he visit her in Miami for sex.

That’s from the criminal complaint against 35-year-old Merice Perez Colon, indicted in federal court for attempted coercion and enticement of a minor to engage in illicit sexual activity and attempted production of child pornography.

The shelter at which Colon worked is an emergency influx shelter funded by the Office of Refugee Resettlement serving unaccompanied immigrant children.

In a recorded May 25 interview, the complaint states, “Colon admitted she was a youth care worker who sexually exploited children she met at the facility where she worked. Colon admitted engaging in online relationships with three children who she knew were under the age of 18.”

After the alleged victim spent a month and a half at Colon’s shelter last summer, he was transferred to a shelter in Cutler Bay. From there, he was sent to a relative in South Carolina on Oct. 6. Within a week, the relative found sexually explicit text message and Facebook exchanges between Colon and the boy and alerted both shelters. Colon’s personnel file, the complaint says, puts her firing at Oct. 11.

The boy told law enforcement while he eliminated some of their conversations from Facebook, he did send the pictures and videos Colon sent him to a friend. Also, he did send her some masturbation videos she requested.

But, in December, he said Colon called him several times via Facebook’s voice call app furious with him.

She blamed him for the revelation of their sexual conversations and the loss of her job.

David J. Neal: 305-376-3559, @DavidJNeal