FBI searching for Boston-area man who has been fugitive for 18 years

Posted Feb. 27, 2012, at 4:24 p.m.
Last modified Feb. 27, 2012, at 6:45 p.m.
John Hartin in 1989
FBI photo
John Hartin in 1989
John Hartin, as he may look today, in an FBI age-enhanced image.
FBI image
John Hartin, as he may look today, in an FBI age-enhanced image.

BOSTON — The Boston Division of the FBI is asking for the public’s help in looking for a man it says has been a fugitive for 18 years.

The FBI is offering up to a $25,000 reward for any information leading to the capture of John Joseph Hartin, 42.

Hartin is wanted in connection with the abuse of two young children he befriended in the Boston area in the 1990s. After an investigation by the Boston Police Department, the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office charged Hartin in 1993 with five counts of statutory rape of a child, the FBI said in a press release. It said a federal arrest warrant was issued for Hartin in 1997, charging him with unlawful flight to avoid prosecution.

Hartin is white, stands 5 feet 8 inches tall, weighs 200 pounds, has brown hair and eyes, and had worked as a security guard at the time of his disappearance. He studied graphic and computer arts in college and was a lifelong resident of Dorchester, Mass., until he fled. The FBI said he should be considered armed and dangerous.

The FBI is using both social and traditional media to generate tips from the public. For the first time, it said, the Boston Division is using limited Facebook ads to search for a fugitive.

The FBI produced and distributed a “Wanted by the FBI” radio podcast that aired across the country. It was played on a Boston station, which led to a radio news story highlighting the FBI’s search efforts.

Hartin also was featured on a Boston “Most Wanted” television news program, the FBI said. Digital billboards featuring Hartin’s photo will be used in the Boston, Orlando and Tampa, Fla., areas. Both the Facebook ads and digital billboards began Monday and will run for one week, the FBI said.

Anyone with information regarding Hartin’s whereabouts is asked to call 800-CALL-FBI or the nearest FBI field office.

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