Thursday, April 12, 2007

Fugitive dentist arrested in Mexico

David Edgardo Fuster was convicted of raping teenage patient

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A dentist convicted of raping a teenage patient in his Bethesda office was arrested on Tuesday in Mexico after spending nearly four years as a fugitive, according to the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office.

David Edgardo Fuster, 51, was arrested at a resort on the Yucatan Peninsula near Meridia, Mexico, about an hour away from Cancun, said Chief Deputy Darren Popkin, sheriff’s office spokesman.

Fuster, formerly a Damascus resident, went missing from Montgomery County in May 2003 after he was convicted for raping a sedated 15-year-old girl in his Old Georgetown Road office, according to the sheriff’s office.

On May 7, 2003, Fuster was convicted for second-degree rape, child abuse, third-degree sexual offence and second-degree assault. At the time he went missing, Fuster was free on bond awaiting a sentencing hearing scheduled for July 2003, the release said.

Deputies in the Sheriff’s Office Fugitive Section have been working for nearly four years with federal law enforcement authorities to find Fuster, a citizen of Peru, who was believed to be in South America or Mexico with his family.

He was found at a beach resort with his five sons and his wife, Popkin said.

‘‘He did acknowledge his identity and he did say he would fight extradition,” Popkin said.

The Sheriff’s Office is working with authorities in Mexico City, Mexico, to bring Fuster back to Maryland, a process that could take anywhere from two to six months, Popkin said.

‘‘We’re ready to get him and bring him back,” he said.

According to Gazette reports, Fuster had been facing a 55-year sentence for the conviction.

In 2003, when he went missing, detectives found his Moxley Road house unlocked with boxes inside.

His five children, who were elementary school-aged at the time did not return to school after May 8, 2003, one day after his conviction.

During the two-week trial, the female patient said Fuster administered nitrous oxide, an anesthetic commonly called laughing gas, and raped her on a couch in the basement of his office on Oct. 10, 2001. She was 15 years old at the time.

She said Fuster then drove her to a Mexican restaurant for lunch, even though she did not want to be there with him. After lunch, she said he drove her to the Rockville Metro Station and gave her a kiss good-bye. She said she met a friend there, and told the friend what happened at the dental office.

The Gazette does not identify rape victims.

Fuster was arrested the next day, and charged with second-degree rape, third-degree sex offense, child abuse and second-degree assault. He posted a $250,000 bond shortly after his arrest. His bond was reduced to $100,000 in December.

At least four additional patients came forward after news of Fuster's arrest was made public, alleging he also abused them. As a result, he faced additional charges of child abuse and third-degree sex offense. Those charges were combined into a separate case, which was delayed until the May rape case was resolved.

The four additional patients are female, and were between the ages of 14 and 21 at the time they allege they were abused, between 1992 and 2001.