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US court sentences man to 11 years for sexually abusing boys in Vietnam

US court sentences man to 11 years for sexually abusing boys in Vietnam

Thursday, April 14, 2022, 17:00 GMT+7
US court sentences man to 11 years for sexually abusing boys in Vietnam
A cartoon depicts a Vietnamese minor suffering the impact of child sexual abuse. Photo: Tuoi Tre

A U.S. court has sentenced a U.S. citizen, Paul Bodner, to 11 years in prison for child sexual abuses he committed in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, the U.S. Consulate General in the city has announced. 

Bodner, 66, received the sentence in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on March 31, the Consulate General said in a media release on Wednesday.  

The man was charged 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’ for sexual abuses he committed against Vietnamese boys in Ho Chi Minh City. 

The Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) office at the Consulate General, in conjunction with the HSI at San Francisco International Airport and the Vietnamese Ministry of Public Security, successfully completed the investigation into Bodner’s offenses. 

Bodner, a substitute teacher, made annual trips to Vietnam between 2010 and 2019 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,” according to the release.

The HSI in Ho Chi Minh City identified, found, and interviewed multiple minor males who had been victimized by Bodner, who used the fake name 'Kevin' to contact his victims, some as young as 10 years old.  

Many shared similar stories in which Bodner made their acquaintance at a local sports complex and then invited them to his hotel room where he photographed and sexually abused them.

Bodner offered money and gifts to his victims, most of them being poor, as a way to buy their silence so that he could avoid detection and prosecution.    

He was arrested after being indicted by a federal grand jury in January 2020, and his residence in the San Francisco Bay area was searched the following month. 

Through analysis of texts and social media communications between Bodner and his victims, investigators discovered that the man attempted to tamper with evidence and encouraged witnesses to lie about their ages. 

He eventually pled guilty to the four charges above in June last year.

“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.

As the largest criminal investigative body of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the HSI plays a critical role in combating criminal organizations that illegally exploit the U.S. travel, trade, financial, and immigration systems. 

With over 200 domestic offices and more than 80 offices overseas, the HSI is also a worldwide leader in the fight against the sexual exploitation of children.

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Vinh Tho - Nguyen Hanh / Tuoi Tre News


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