July 29, 2017
Dale Leary, of Cutler Bay had been married to his now ex-wife Claudia for more than 10 years when the couple decided to take in a high school exchange student from Spain.
They employed CCI Greenheart, a Chicago-based nonprofit that cleared students to live in the United States from numerous foreign countries.
The exchange student, Marta San Jose came from Spain to South Florida to live with the Learys in 2012, when she was 16 years old. She was enrolled in Miami Palmetto Senior High School.
These type of exchange programs are accredited by the U.S. State Department requiring the host to provide a “safe and secure environment,” as described on their website.
Mrs. Leary worked as a Miami-Dade schools administrator and her husband was employed in the entertainment computing industry, listed as the executive director of Steamwerx Inc., a company that is described as a leading creative innovation, technology integration firm, engaging in product development for its subsidiaries and worldwide clients, according to Mr. Leary’s LinkedIn page.
Mr. Leary’s claim to fame was being the director of a branded video game named The Lost Island of Alanna that was distributed by the Coca Cola Company and was aimed at teenagers that drank Cherry Coke, a product the company was stalwartly marketing in the late 1990’s. The game was distributed to Cherry Coke consumers at no charge.
Based on their references and stable employment, the Learys appeared to be exceptional candidates to host the young Spaniard, but apparently CCI Greenheart didn’t do much of a detailed background check on Mr. Leary.
If they had, a giant red flag should have been signaled, negating any possibility of allowing the teen to be placed under his stewardship.
It appears Dale Leary was a Svengali; a deviant master manipulator.
Leary, who is now fifty was arrested and convicted of a home invasion robbery in 1985 when he was 19 years old. During the robbery, Leary sexually assaulted a woman while she was tied up and held at gunpoint in a bathroom. He pleaded guilty to armed robbery, armed burglary, kidnapping, and lewd and lascivious behavior and spent sixty days incarcerated before being released to complete his sentence of 13 years’ probation.
Contemporaneously, after Marta completed 11th grade, Leary and the teen flew back to Spain to encourage her parents to allow her to stay in the U.S. for another year. The request was granted and Marta returned to South Florida to live with the Learys.
Although no suspicions were raised at the time, it appears an elaborate arrangement was ongoing including a consensual sexual relationship between Mr. Leary and the young student while Claudia was living in the house.
When Marta turned 18, Leary divorced Claudia and promptly married Marta soon thereafter. According to court documents Mrs. Leary still lived with the newlyweds in their Cutler Bay home after their divorce.
According to police, shortly after their marriage, Leary and his new wife lured her then 14-year old sister to join them in the US where she was allegedly sexually abused over a period of years.
With Marta’s alleged assistance, Leary convinced her younger sister that she was sexually abused by her parents at a very young age. Although the teen had no recollection of this occurrence Marta persuaded her to allow him to examine her genitals to be sure.
According to police, the younger sister, who’s named will be withheld told them that Marta and Leary had sex in front of her and in time asked her to join in, telling her it would help her deal with being a victim of sexual abuse. According to the teen, this took place at least seven times. She also told them that Leary took pictures of her while she was wearing nothing but high heeled shoes.
Leary and his young bride, now 21, were both arrested late last month on multiple charges including lewd and lascivious conduct with a child under 16, possession of child pornography, engaging in a sexual act with a familial child and contributing to the delinquency of a child.
Both pleaded not guilty to all charges earlier this month. Claudia Leary was not charged at that time.
In most cases, this would be the end of the article if not for an eerie twist.
Researching content for an interesting blog article; if it’s done correctly is always time consuming. It usually takes a few weeks to research all the facts, corroborate them and then put the story together.
Whenever I add a new blog post, after I’ve decided on the topic I try to first find the oldest content available on the Web or in actual available court documents.
For example if I’m writing an article about someone who was convicted or acquitted of a crime I try to find an article that tells me about the circumstances of their arrest. I then look for content about they’re bail hearing and how the case progressed from there, up until an outcome has been determined by plea deal, jury’s verdict or acquittal.
For this particular post I started putting the content together about three weeks ago. Since then, a lot has changed.
I thought this article was complete until I checked its most recent status.
It appears that the weight of the charges filed against Dale Leary caused him to panic along with his wife Claudia who at the time of her ex-husband’s arrest wasn’t even charged with a crime.
Soon after he posted bond, he and his ex-wife apparently formed a suicide pact.
The estranged couple was found unresponsive in their car just a few days ago.
Dale Leary was pronounced dead at the scene and his ex-wife who was unconscious was taken to a hospital.
Formal charges are now pending until Marta undergoes psychiatric evaluation.
Mrs. Leary, who survived the apparent suicide attempt, is now a suspect of the investigation.
As more details arise, I’ll continue to update this article.
Michael B. Cohen is a highly experienced criminal defense attorney with offices in Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach County.
To view all of his qualifications, listed on his Website click here. Follow him on Twitter @FlaCriminalLaw. His AV Preeminent Peer Review Rating by Martindale-Hubbell as well as many more acknowledgments can be found in his section of the Justia Lawyer Directory.