Dade Medical College's President Was Once Convicted of Assaulting a 15-Year-Old Girl, Records Show

ErnestoPerez.jpg
Ernesto Perez, founder and Chief Executive of Dade Medical College
Ernesto Perez, founder and president of Dade Medical College, has been in the news for all the wrong reasons this month. As the Miami Herald reported June 8, the Miami-Dade State Attorney and the Miami-Dade Ethics Commission are conducting separate probes into why Homestead Mayor Steven Bateman pushed officials to sell Dade Medical College city land at a fraction of its value.

But buried in the Herald piece was a bizarre nugget: Perez had once been the frontman of a local rock band that was at the center of an underage sex scandal. Perez pleaded guilty and spent months in jail, the Herald reported, but the college president "bristled" when reporters brought it up.

So what actually happened? Riptide tracked down the old court case, and it turns out a 15-year-old girl told police that Perez pulled out his penis during a mass sexual assault. Perez didn't respond to multiple messages from Riptide for comment.

The specifics of the case against Perez are spelled out in a 1992 Wisconsin Court of Appeals ruling. Perez, who played under the alias "Rhett O'Neill," had been touring the country with his band, Young Turks. After a show in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, on May 11, 1990, a 15-year-old girl accused Perez and three bandmates of gang-raping her at their motel room.

"During the course of multiple and simultaneous assaults, Perez approached [the victim], removed his penis from his pants, and attempted to have her perform oral intercourse," according to an appeals court summary of the case. "When she refused, Perez put his penis back into his pants and repeatedly struck her buttocks with a belt."

It took law enforcement officials, including the FBI, almost two months to track down the band members in Florida and deliver them to Wisconsin, where they were charged with battery on a child, sexual contact with a child, and party to a crime of sexual contact with a child. In December 1990, Perez pleaded no contest to misdemeanor battery and exposing a sex organ to a child. He was sentenced to 90 days in Winnebago County Jail, fined $2,500, and ordered to perform 125 hours of community service.

Nine years later, Perez started his educational enterprise with just 50 pupils. Today, Dade Medical College has campuses in Homestead, Miami, Miami Lakes, Hollywood, West Palm Beach, and Jacksonville; employs more than 500 people; and boasts an enrollment of more than 2,000 students.

He has enjoyed backing from just about every politico in Florida, from U.S. Rep. Joe Garcia to state legislator Rene Garcia to Miami-Dade Commissioner Esteban Bovo. Former Gov. Charlie Crist appointed Perez to the Commission for Independent Education in 2009, and Gov. Rick Scott reappointed him.

Now investigators are probing why Homestead sold downtown land to the college at a steep discount through Bateman's wife, who is a real-estate agent. Batemen also accepted at least fifteen $500 contributions to his 2011 mayoral campaign from Perez and his associates before Dade Medical College bought the land for less than 40 cents on the dollar, the Herald reported. Perez and Bateman have both denied any inappropriate conduct in the deal.

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30 comments
suzannethebirdlady
suzannethebirdlady

Ernesto was a raging alcoholic used cocaine and marijuana regularly.. He was very controlling and demeaning and abusive to women. Looks like karma finally caught up with this douchbag. He forced that minor to perform oral sex then hit her with a belt. She was only trying to hook up with Mckelvey and they had a field day with her. There is nothing nice about this animal. He is not the upstanding citizen some are making him to be.

suzannethebirdlady
suzannethebirdlady

Ernesto used to call women put as and sucias. He wouldn't date a girl unless she was a virgin and dethrone her BOTH ways. He broke an exes nose and beat the next. This guy is not a good guy.

rmkay1
rmkay1

If a fifteen year old girl doesn't have a pristine, intact Hymen than she deserves gang rape according to the gorilla-like commentators. As soon as a girl hits puberty she's "jail bait", preying on decent, hardworking, American Dream attaining pedophiles who later establish seedy for profit colleges that leech off people's dreams and desperation. Why didn't this creep go to jail where maybe he'd live in paranoia of sexual violence--a feeling American women and girls today are all too familiar with.

Orlandito
Orlandito

Wow. A 15 yr old? This is appalling. My daughter was looking to get into nursing. I will advise her to stay far away from this institution. Not to mention the outrageous tuition. Pervert!!! 

evm217
evm217

All of you must have sparkling pasts. And no guts to post these comments without your real names and invented email addresses.

loshi19
loshi19

What good? Exploiting students and charging top dollar for a barely third rate education. There are plenty of pictures of him with politically influential people but how many pictures are of him with the very students he exploits. This is the typical characteristic of a narcicist who feeds his ego yet does nothing to listen to the very people that pave (pay) his expensive road to fame. Why not interview the very students that he avoids when they request meetings with him. Instead he hides behind the administration of these schools who does little for their students once the checks are cashed. I don't believe this is smearing, it's calling a spade a spade and not a saint. If you have any doubts check the review of his schools for yourself.

AbhesLuvr
AbhesLuvr

I think the "true crime" here is that the band actually sang a song that started with "she sells seashells by the seashore" and said la di da di da numerous times. That band really sucked. Almost as much as the schools do. Shame on you Slesnick. Why would you be on the payroll of a third rate school?

om142753869
om142753869

Move along, nothing to see here, just a pedophile running a school. Good luck to Xavier Suarez and Don Slesnick as they are on Perez's payroll. Bovo, Ruiz, Gonzalez, Garcia, Bateman you should be ashamed of yourselves.

om142753869
om142753869

Move along, nothing to see here, just a pedophile running a school. Good luck to Xavier Suarez and Don Slesnick as they are on Perez's payroll. Bovo, Ruiz, Gonzalez, Garcia, Bateman you should be ashamed of yourselves.

soflasol
soflasol

This article should be considered "chusmeria" more than anything else. MNW should be embarrassed for this piece. Mr. Perez has provided opportunity to the people of this state and simply because of some post rock show scandal, his name is smeared. People tend to forget how rock bands like Led Zeppelin & Poison partied post shows. Young Turks isnt the only Rock Band in history to be involved in a scandal with an underage groupie. 1990 was a long time ago, and disputing this story now is  pointless.

Raulito
Raulito

Oh Sylvia's boy err I mean Tommy. Your rhetoric is unmistakable. Let's play the mini violin. We all know that you have no remorse according to your prior comment. 

Tommy
Tommy

Seriously all, this was indeed a serious incident that I am sure has caused a great deal of pain for all parties involved. We can go back and forth sparing but truth is the article was written to smear. There is no doubt this guy has done good since and I am sure is very sorry this ever happened. Whether or not you like him, he has indeed provided lots of jobs and opportunity to folks locally. Lets not judge him for an event that occurred well over twenty years ago. I am not for or against the school but quite frankly find it unfair to judge based solely on this so called story. I see no story here just a writer out to poop on a successful business entrepreneur. Last I checked according to article he pleaded to a misdemeanor and served his sentence. Dont think he's done wrong since otherwise it be included.

heatfan3
heatfan3

@bleach5 funny how you know so many details about the incident. Almost as if you were there? Though this does appear to be a smear campaign, I wonder how quickly ties will be severed by their friends and "politico" affiliations.

nclexluvr
nclexluvr

Blaming the victim? Not cool. Btw I believe that the "5" yr school that you mention is not on academic probation. I would rather a longer course just to know my diploma is valid. 

bleach5
bleach5

@menkinflon  Are the other reputable schools that you speak of the ones that not only have a 5 year waiting list but also hand pick who attends their institution leaving the average non traditional student with nothing but shattered hopes. The one that stretches a 2 year program to 5 years as where your tuition being the "concern" here ends up being about the same if not more in addition to graduating 5 years older. If you Google any school there will be hundreds of students complaining about something that did not necessarily go there way. I highly doubt that any of these consenting adults are forced to attend this "pricey" institution. @muchachon As far as the hundred years ago assault sappy story goes, the only thing I see here is that a 20 years old  rock band member might of messed around with a not so "innocent" minor who got caught by her parents being a sleazy groupie at an age where she should have been at home in her pig tails watching sponge bob as per society's view of a 15 year old. The one thing that is being done here is tainting the reputation of a good man that has not only given opportunities to the minority but brought hundreds of jobs to our community, shame on you.

menkinflon
menkinflon

Hey "eric", you sound like if you are on payroll. If you google DMC you will come across hundreds of dissatisfied students that feel they got ripped off. Why does this school charge $50 -$60k for a nursing career when other more reputable schools charge a third of that? Good things for the community? Perhaps. Better things for his pockets?  

eric
eric

Lets get this straight...we are talking about misdemeanor charges from over twenty years ago??  WTF? Are you kidding me?  What kind of sensationalized border line reporting is this?  This college has graduated hundreds upon hundreds of healthcare professionals over the last 15 years changing lives and making a significant economic impact in our state.  This gentleman made a mistake and paid for it.  What relevance does this story have?  It is shocking that the editor for this organization would allow for this to run when it serves no purpose but to smear Mr Perez personally.  His college is indeed a for profit school that has done a magnificent job in educating our community while contributing many dollars and man hours to many great causes across all of the community.  Where is the fair and balanced reporting??  Oh wait I forgot that isn't interesting or juicy but rather smear tactic reporting is.  I was an avid reader of this weekly that is totally embarrassed for this piece.  And I repeat was a reader....

hy5x311
hy5x311

It's embarrassing that the MNT is making everyone involved relive this almost a quarter century later.  Shame on you!!!

Mills17
Mills17

This is what readers must deal with when a mediocre reporter has nothing better to write about... OUT WITH THE OLD PLEASE!!! People need to stop being so gullible. It's the internet... Not everything you read is true or portrayed the way it actually happened.

muchachon
muchachon

So if you raped or assaulted someone 22 yrs ago it makes it okay? What about the minor's life that he probably ruined. He is sitting pretty while her life is forever ruined. And to think that big politicians like Rene Garcia and Rebecca Sosa are endorsing him, and Hospital's like Miami Children's are doing business with him. 

mcegables
mcegables

And the purpose of  22 year old news is.... oh wait a minute...this is the New Times...no purpose is required!!!!

Alexander Fernandez
Alexander Fernandez

The guy's been in business for years and the school has been successful in producing students who get jobs. He did his time and he moved ahead. Way to dig up a 23 year old story, MNT.

Amanda Drewniak
Amanda Drewniak

What happened to the background checks? Or is it more profitable to creat a scandal?

Orlandito
Orlandito

@evm217 Perhaps not sparkling but never, ever would I commit these atrocities.

rmkay1
rmkay1

@Tommy  He raped a fifteen year old girl and received a paltry sentence and undeserved political and economic power while she suffers for the rest of her life. How can you implore people to forgive and forget unless you think woman are innately fuck dolls and "that little slut deserved what she got". Of course any woman or girl who displays or seems to display sexual desire now classifies as a disposable fleshlight. Maybe I'm being unreasonable but it's hard to be even handed with rape apologists. 

rmkay1
rmkay1

@Alexander Fernandez 

So as long as a rapist makes lots of money, he's absolved of blame. If he were a homeless drifter would you be so forgiving? If he instead raped a man or a young child would you decry this article? 

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