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After 23 years on run from sexual assault charges, Dorchester man arrested

Federal agents in North Carolina have arrested a former Dorchester man accused of sexually assaulting two young boys in Boston in 1993, authorities said.

John Joseph Hartin, 46, fled Massachusetts after being charged with five counts of statutory rape of a child. He allegedly assaulted two boys, ages 8 and 9, whom he “befriended” in the Boston area, according to a news release from the Boston Division of the FBI.

A federal warrant was issued for his arrest on December 18, 1997, and he was charged with unlawful flight to avoid prosecution, the release stated.

Hartin was living in Walkertown under the assumed name of Jay Matthew Carter, the FBI said.

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“John Hartin thought by changing his name and moving out of state, he could avoid prosecution,” Harold Shaw, the special agent in charge of the FBI in Boston, said in the statement. “However, he underestimated our resolve to track him down. The FBI hopes the victims of this alleged crimes will find some comfort in knowing that he will now have to answer for his actions.”

Hartin is in the process of being returned to Boston to face the assault charges, officials said.

The arrest came four years after Hartin was the subject of a multi-state media campaign launched by the FBI that offered a reward of up to $25,000 for his arrest, the release stated.

The FBI and Boston Police recently received information about his whereabouts. He was arrested Wednesday afternoon at his home without incident, the release stated.

Boston Police Commissioner William B. Evans praised the “great work and collaboration” by federal and local officials to track down Hartin after 23 years on the run.

“Our commitment to justice has no time limit,” Evans said in the statement. “This outcome should serve as a reminder that we never give up and we will find you.”

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Evans added that the he hopes Hartin’s arrest “brings some comfort to all affected by this crime.”


Kathy McCabe can be reached at Katherine.McCabe@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @GlobeKMcCabe.