Israel Romero, a 39-year old Plainfield man, fled to Honduras last year after he was accused of repeatedly sexually assaulting a 13-year old girl who later became pregnant as a result of the attacks. Authorities from the Union County Prosecutor’s Office revealed today that Romero (pictured to the left), was recently captured attempting to re-enter the United States through Texas. He is now in custody. It is believed that he has waived extradition and will be returning to New Jersey to face the charges against him. Upon his arrival, he will be held at the Union County jail. Bail has been set at $1.75 million.
According to reports, Romero assaulted the victim in his home when she was 12 and again after she turned 13. When she became pregnant, she told her parents about the attacks – they then alerted authorities. Romero fled the country in June of 2012, shortly before law enforcement arrived to arrest him.
Detectives with the Special Victim’s Unit of the Union County Prosecutor’s Office tracked Romero to a small village in Honduras and, working with the US Marshals Service, followed his movements until he made his way to the Texas border, where he was ultimately taken into custody.
Formal charges were filed against Romero last night – two counts of Sexual Assault, first degree, and two counts of Sexual Assault, second degree.
For more information, see the Star-Ledger article entitled, “Plainfield fugitive accused of raping and impregnating 13-year-old girl is caught.”
If convicted of the most serious offense, Romero faces between 10 and 20 years in New Jersey State Prison, 85% of which he would have to serve before becoming eligible for parole under the No Early Release Act (“NERA”) for violent offenders. He will also be subjected to a number of sex offender sentencing requirements, including community supervision for life and mandatory Megan’s Law registration.
Romero’s immigration status is unknown. If he is not a citizen of the United States, however, he will also likely face permanent deportation following the completion of his sentence.