NORTHEAST MIAMI-DADE (CBSMiami) — Miami-Dade Police say a music teacher accused of sex battery on a 14-year-old student may have additional victims. They are urging people to come forward if they know of others who may have been victimized.
“If there is anyone out there, such as a student, who feels that something did not seem right or feel right, please contact your parents so they can call us right away,” said Miami-Dade Police Det. Argemis Colome.
Colome told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench, “It was really important that this child talked to her parents right away and what’s important is to establish an open line between kids and their parents. That’s what we believe.”
Joseph Michel, 57, is charged with sexual battery on a minor by an adult.
He was arrested March 22 after an incident that reportedly happened February 26 at his house in the Townhomes of Monterey at N.E. 10th Ave. and 210th Terrace.
According to a police report, the girl was taking a private lesson in Michel’s living room when she was assaulted.
“She told her parents she was touched inappropriately in her private areas,” said Colome.
An arrest affidavit says the victim said her breast was fondled.
The affidavit says Michel denied the allegations, saying, “I only touched the victim’s pants zipper and maybe I touched her panties.”
At a bond court appearance on March 23, Michel was ordered to have no contact with the victim and to surrender his passport. It was stated in court that Michel was a citizen of Haiti but he denied that, saying he is a U.S. Citizen.
Bond was set at $25,000 and he was ordered to have no contact with the victim, whose initials were listed as “m.f.” He was ordered to neither possess nor use a firearm.
At his home, D’Oench knocked on the front door and when a front window was raised, he asked, “Is there anything you can tell us.”
“No, no, no,” said the person inside. Another family member drove away as CBS4 tried to talk to her. She later returned and said the family had hired an attorney and planned to fight the charges.
CBS4 News learned in court that even though police say Michel has not been arrested before, he could face up to 30 years behind bars if convicted.
Neighbors said they were stunned by the charges.
“This is not very good at all. It is not very good at all. For a neighbor, my neighbor you are not aware. I have seen children coming in and out of that home. It is not good at all,” said neighbor Dawn Yorrick. It is very important that kids come forward so we know what is going on in our neighborhood. I think anyone who knows anything else about other victims should come forward.”
No additional victims have come forward so far, according to Colome.
However, anyone with information that can help police should contact Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at (305) 471-TIPS (8477).
“You will remain anonymous,” said Colome. “And we can always use your help.”