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Feds: Man sold teen sex assault videos online

11:19 PM, Feb 25, 2013   |    comments
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Ramon Berlanga-Rodriguez

GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) -- The former director of a Kalamazoo Hispanic group is accused of recording the sexual assaults of a teenage girl and selling the video online.

Ramon Berlanga-Rodriguez, 40, was facing charges of first- and third-degree criminal sexual conduct, distributing and promoting obscenity, and probation violation.  The charges were dismissed Monday after federal authorities took over the case.

According to the criminal complaint, Berlanga-Rodriguez had been involved in a sexual relationship with a girl between the ages of 15 and 16 from October 2012 to the spring of 2012.  The alleged sex acts took place at Berlanga-Rodriguez's Grand Rapids home.

The girl told Florida investigators Berlanga-Rodriguez recorded their sexual intercourse and sold the videos on an internet "black market."  She said they made one to three videos per week for a specific person, and that Berlanga-Rodriguez received $500 to $2,500 per video.

The Grand Rapids Police Department and U.S. Department of Homeland Security began investigating Berlanga-Rodriguez last July.  They got his smartphone through his sister, and found explicit photographs of him and the girl on a memory card in the phone.

During an October 2012 interview with detectives after the discovery of the images, Berlanga-Rodriguez denied doing anything with the victim or touching her inappropriately.  He denied ever having sex with the girl, despite evidence investigators say indicated he had.

Berlanga-Rodriguez is the former director of the Hispanic American Council in Kalamazoo.  In February 2012, he was sentenced more than eight months in jail for embezzling money from the organization.  Berlanga-Rodriguez was on probation at the time of his arrest in the Grand Rapids sex case.

Berlanga-Rodriguez is being held in the Kent County Jail.

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