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American man jailed for sexually abusing Vietnamese boys

By Minh Nga   April 13, 2022 | 03:43 am PT
A U.S. court has sentenced a substitute teacher to 11 years in prison for the sexual exploitation of minors in Ho Chi Minh City.

The sentence was handed out to Paul Bodner on March 31 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on three counts of "travel with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct" and one count of "engaging in illicit sexual conduct in foreign places," the U.S. Consulate General in HCMC said in a statement Wednesday.

The verdict was passed following an investigation jointly conducted by the Homeland Security Investigations office at the U.S. Consulate General in HCMC, Homeland Security Investigations at San Francisco International Airport, and Vietnamese Ministry of Public Security.

Accordingly, between approximately 2010 and 2019, Bodner, 66, made yearly trips to Vietnam for the stated purpose of meeting underage boys. During a border search interview upon returning from Vietnam in late 2016, Bodner acknowledged he is attracted to underage boys but denied having sexual contact with them until they reached adulthood.

Homeland Security Investigations in HCMC was able to identify, locate, and interview multiple minor males who had been victimized by Bodner. Many shared similar stories in which Bodner, who used the fake name "Kevin," befriended them at a local sports complex and invited them, some as young as 10 years old, back to his hotel room where he then photographed and abused them. He bought the loyalty and silence of his victims, who were predominantly poor, with money and gifts to avoid detection and prosecution.

In January 2020, Bodner was indicted by a federal grand jury and later arrested in conjunction with the execution of a search warrant at his San Francisco Bay area residence the following month. During criminal proceedings, it was discovered through analysis of texts and social media communications with his victims that Bodner attempted to tamper with evidence and encouraged witnesses to lie about their ages.

He ultimately pled guilty to the four charges above in June 2021.

"This case is an unfortunate reminder child sexual predators continue to target vulnerable populations in Vietnam and countries across the region thinking their resources and distance from the U.S. criminal justice system will help them evade prosecution," said Acting Consul General, Robert Greenan.

With over 200 domestic offices and more than 80 offices overseas, Homeland Security Investigations is the largest criminal investigative body of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and plays a critical role in combating criminal organizations illegally exploiting the United States travel, trade, financial, and immigration systems.

Homeland Security Investigations is also a worldwide leader in the fight against the sexual exploitation of children.

 
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