by Ivette Leyva Martinez (Café Fuerte)
HAVANA TIMES — The famous painter and sculptor Agustin Bejarano, convicted of sexually abusing a minor, returned to Cuba this month after spending three years in prison in the United States.
Bejarano, 49, was released on April 11 after serving 85 percent of his sentence for lewd conduct with a child.
Ed Griffith, spokesman for the State Attorney in Miami-Dade, told Café Fuerte that the artist had been placed in custody of the authorities of the Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement on April 7th.
On the official website of the Florida Department of Corrections Bejarano is now listed as deported. Given the nature of his case, Bejarano was placed in expedited removal proceedings.
At the same time, his name will be included on the list of sex offenders in Florida.
A photo has been widely circulated on social networks and was sent to Café Fuerte from Havana, showing Bejarano’s arrival in Havana, in the company of one of his children and in-laws, reportedly on April 14.
His release and return to Cuba ends a thorny case that sparked family tensions and provoked harsh reactions from friends and admirers of his art in Cuba and abroad.
The Cuban press has not mentioned his return to the island.
Bejarano was arrested in March 2011 and pleaded guilty in October 2012. By plea deal he was sentenced to 42 months in prison plus 10 years of probation, but given his status as a foreigner without legal residency, his deportation would occur on a fast track as soon as he was released.
Recognized as one of the most talented figures in contemporary Cuban painting, he was arrested in an apartment in the Brickell area on March 28, 2011, after the little boy confessed to his parents that the painter showed his genitals and touched him during a family party in Hialeah. The child was evaluated by a team of psychologists to check the veracity of his story.
Bejarano and his wife Aziyadé Ruiz had traveled to the US to participate in an Arte Américas fair in Miami Beach between March 25-28 of that year.
In November 2012, Hialeah police released the recording of the initial interrogation, where Bejarano admitted lewd conduct with a child, which he attributed to alcohol abuse