US indicts pedophile for sexually assaulting Vietnamese boys

By Nguyen Quy   February 22, 2020 | 04:53 pm GMT+7
US indicts pedophile for sexually assaulting Vietnamese boys
An American man has been indicted for having sex with boys as young as 11 or 12 years old in HCMC. Illustration photo by AFP.

A 64-year-old man is being prosecuted in San Francisco for engaging in illegal sexual conduct with Vietnamese minors.

Paul Marshall Bodner, a former substitute teacher, is alleged to have traveled to Vietnam multiple times between July 2015 through August 2016 for the purpose of engaging in illicit sexual conduct with minors in Ho Chi Minh City, the U.S. Embassy in Hanoi said in a Friday release.

The indictment filed on February 13 followed an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in partnership with Vietnam’s Ministry of Public Security.

Details of Bodner’s arrest was not revealed.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Bodner met Vietnamese boys as young as 11 or 12 years old and had sex with them at a hotel in HCMC.

A U.S. federal grand jury has charged Bodner with three counts of travel with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct and one count of engaging in illicit sexual conduct in foreign places.

If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 30 years imprisonment for each count, a life term with supervised release, and a fine of $250,000, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

"Strong collaboration between the Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) office in HCMC and Vietnam’s Ministry of Public Security have brought multiple child victims one step nearer to finding closure," said U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam Daniel Kritenbrink.

"This arrest also underscores how the U.S. and Vietnam can work together effectively to combat child exploitation."

The investigation and prosecution of the case is part of Project Safe Childhood, an initiative launched in May 2006 by the U.S. Justice Department to combat child sexual exploitation and abuse.

The project brings together federal, state and local agencies as well as international law enforcement partners.

Last August, special agents from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) arrested Christopher Edwin Day, 49, of St. Petersburg, Florida after he tried to entice two Vietnamese minors to engage in sex.

Vietnam is a destination country for child sex tourism with perpetrators arriving from several continents, according to the United Nations Action for Cooperation Against Trafficking in Persons. An increasing demand for virgins and children in prostitution has also resulted in rising levels of child sex tourism, it said.

Vietnam recorded 1,547 child sex abuse cases in 2018, down 2.8 percent from a year ago, according the Ministry of Public Security. Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, two Vietnam’s largest cities, took the lead in terms of reported child molestation cases.

 
 
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