FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – Fort Lauderdale Police say they have taken a sexual battery suspect off the streets — Bernardo Olarte — but they are deeply concerned that there are other victims out there.
“Based on information that we’ve collected throughout this investigation we believe there may be additional victims,” said Fort Lauderdale Police Spokesperson Casey Liening.
Fort Lauderdale Police arrested Olarte on Wednesday night at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. Olarte was returning from Colombia. He is charged with sexually battering a woman on June 16 and detectives believe he may have found the victim in the city’s entertainment district, which Olarte is known to frequent.
Olarte was charged in a similar case in 2017 and court documents in that case obtained by CBS 4 News reveal why detectives believe there may be additional victims. In the 2017 case, a woman told police that she drank heavily at Dicey Riley’s in the Fort Lauderdale Entertainment District. She said she was approached by a Hispanic male and doesn’t remember anything after that until she woke in a strange car with Olarte.
The woman fled and contacted police. She said she received a private message on Facebook from Olarte saying, “You broke my heart” along with a photo of them kissing.
Police arrested Olarte in that case and court documents show Olarte “admitted” having sex with the victim. Investigators say Olarte showed them a video of the victim performing a sex on him to prove that the sexual encounter was consensual. Ultimately, prosecutors determined that the video of the encounter could show that the sex was consensual. Even though they did not pursue that case, a close-out memo from the Broward State Attorney’s Office shows that prosecutors were concerned about Olarte. They wrote, “This seems to be his MO. He waits for women downtown who walk out of the bars intoxicated. He then asks if they want a ride, gets them in his car, films them, takes them to a hotel and gets away with it because they don’t remember.”
Prosecutors said on Olarte’s phone they found “there are many videos of women passed out in his car.”
Prosecutors wrote that it “Seems like he rapes them when they are under the influence, then makes contact with them in an effort to make like they had consensual sex so they don’t prosecute.”
Olarte went before a Broward County judge on Thursday on the 2019 charges. A judge called the charges “egregious” and ordered Olarte held on a bond of $200-thousand dollars. Prosecutors said the current case against Olarte and the 2017 case are very similar. Olarte’s defense attorney said Olarte is homeless and is unemployed, unlikely to make bond.
On Himmarshee Street on Thursday night, CBS 4 News asked a number of people if they’d ever seen or encountered Olarte. One man, Yoel Ortega, a bartender at Dicey Riley’s said he had a disturbing encounter with Olarte a few months ago.
“Girls are talking to me and say, ‘This guys touching me,’” Ortega said. “So I gotta call security and then we kick him out of the place.”
When told of the criminal charges against Olarte and the details in the close-out memo, Olarte said he was not surprised.
“He’s gotta be a sick guy. I don’t know anybody who would do that to anybody,” Ortega said.
Fort Lauderdale Police say they want information on Olarte and they have a specific reason for releasing details of his Olarte’s arrest.
“Get his face out there so if someone feels they’ve been a victim of Bernardo Olarte they can call our detectives,” said Liening.
If you have any information about Olarte or believe you may be a victim, contact Fort Lauderdale Police Sergeant Martinez at (954) 828-5510 or Crimestoppers at (954) 493-TIPS.