A girl cycles across a billboard saying "child sexual abuse is a crime!" in Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu Province. Photo for illustration. — AFP/VNA Photo
HÀ NỘI — A US federal grand jury has charged a 64-year-old man from of San Francisco, California, with repeatedly traveling to Việt Nam in order to engage in illicit sexual conduct, US Embassy in Hà Nội announced in a press release on Friday.
The indictment was filed on January 30 following an investigation by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), in partnership with Việt Nam’s Ministry of Public Security.
According to the indictment unsealed on February 13, Paul Marshall Bodner who had worked as a substitute teacher in the San Francisco Unified School District, allegedly travelled to Việt Nam multiple times between July 2015 and August 2016 to engage in illicit sexual conduct with minors in HCM City.
“US law enforcement agencies, in collaboration with foreign law enforcement partners around the world, work tirelessly to protect children and to bring their abusers to justice. In this instance, strong collaboration between the Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) office in HCM City and Việt Nam’s Ministry of Public Security have brought multiple child victims one step nearer to finding closure,” said US Ambassador to Việt Nam Daniel J. Kritenbrink.
“This arrest also underscores how the United States and Việt Nam can work together effectively to combat child exploitation.”
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, an initiative launched in May 2006 by the US Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse.
US Embassy encouraged anyone with information about Bodner or his alleged sexual interest in children to contact the HSI Tip Line at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE and ask to be directed to the case agent. Tips may also be submitted at https://www.ice.gov/webform/hsi-tip-form. — VNS