Paul Bodner, a US citizen and substitute teacher was sentenced in the US District Court on March 31 in the northern district of California to 11 years in federal prison 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, for sexual abuse committed against Vietnamese boys in HCMC.
According to a report by Vietnam News Agency, the Homeland Security Investigations office at the US Consulate General in HCM City successfully worked on the investigation jointly with Homeland Security Investigations San Francisco International Airport and the Vietnamese Ministry of Public Security.
Between approximately 2010 and 2019, Bodner made yearly trips to Vietnam to meet underage boys, the repord said.
During a border search interview upon returning from Vietnam in late 2016, Bodner acknowledged being attracted to underage boys but denied having sexual contact with them.
The Homeland Security Investigations in HCM City identified, located, and interviewed multiple minor males who Bodner had victimized.
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 to hang out, where he would photograph and abuse 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 executing 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 pleaded guilty to the four charges 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 US criminal justice system will help them evade prosecution,” said Acting Consul General Robert Greenan.
“Luckily, law enforcement officers now have a global reach, and through diligence and cooperation with international partners, Homeland Security Investigations was able to provide justice for these young victims.”
Source: Vietnam News