Who are the 22 'most wanted' men accused of sexually assaulting and exploiting children?closeVideo
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They are school teachers and pastors, computer professionals and truck drivers. Some are in their 30's, and others are well into their 70's.
But these 22 men have one thing in common: all are fugitives accused of unspeakable violence against children.
The FBI has put them on their "most wanted" list.
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A push by federal investigators across the country has put a renewed spotlight on the FBI's Crimes Against Children Most Wanted offenders page, of which there are 22 men at-large.
"The page is an awareness tool the FBI uses to ensure that the victims are not forgotten, and the perpetrators know the FBI continues their efforts to find and arrest them, so they are accountable for their criminal actions," an FBI spokesperson told Fox News. "Each of our 56 field offices uses this site to focus public attention on specific cases in their area."
(Left): Gustavo Cruz, 54, a Mexican national and a migrant worker, is wanted for allegedly repeatedly molesting an 11-year-old and recording the attacks on his cell phone in Indianapolis. (Right): Franz Dieudonne, 50, a chemist and nursing assistant from Haiti, is sought for his alleged involvement in sex crimes with a minor, after being indicted in Illinois and Utah. (FBI)
Individuals depicted on the site are all criminals who have committed "some of the worst crimes against a most vulnerable population."
"Each of the criminals was federally charged with various crimes against children and chose to flee before appearing in court to answer their charges or violations," the FBI representative said. "As such, each is now wanted for unlawful flight to avoid prosecution, as well as their original charges of violence against a child."
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The bureau currently leads 85 Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking Task Forces throughout the United States with representation from over 400 state and local law enforcement agencies, as well as over 850 task force Officers. Their mission is to provide a "rapid, proactive, and intelligence-driven investigative response to the sexual victimization of children and other crimes against children."
"Law enforcement spends a lot of effort in this area. In some states, up to 40 percent of those incarcerated are in prison for sex crimes against children," said David Finkelhor of the Crimes Against Children Research Center in the Department of Sociology, University of Hampshire. "There are a lot of special units in local and federal law enforcement that work specifically on child sexual exploitation. This is important work."
But despite all the resources, including the Violent Crimes Against Children International Task Force – which enables the real-time transfer of information between the FBI and task force members from other countries – many alleged perpetrators have escaped justice.
So who are the 22 "most wanted"?
1 – Erik Kristian Moller, 52: The convicted child molester failed to appear for sentencing in San Luis Obispo in 2003. Between 1997 and 2000, he gave alcohol and drugs to a young relative prior to molesting the victim. Moller worked in the aviation fuel business.
2 – Elby Jessie Hars, 76: The convicted child sex offender is wanted for his alleged involvement in sexually abusing a girl. The crime occurred in Richland County, S.C., in 2000. Hars was a licensed commercial truck driver.
(Left): Gerard Boguslaw Zalewski, 35, is wanted for failing to appear at his March 29, 2006, sentencing hearing for committing involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with a 13-year-old girl in June 2004, in Bucks County, Penn. (Right): Erik Kristian Moller, 52, is a convicted child molester who failed to appear for sentencing in San Luis Obispo in 2003. (FBI)
3 – Franz Dieudonne, 50: Dieudonne, a chemist and nursing assistant from Haiti, is sought for his alleged involvement in sex crimes with a minor, after being indicted in Illinois and Utah. From November 2001 through May 2002, he allegedly traveled across state lines from Pennsylvania to Utah to engage in sex with a 15-year-old.
4 – Roger Dale Parham, 73: The computer industry employee was arrested for an alleged rape involving a minor in November 1998. After being released on bond in Fort Smith, Arkansas, he failed to appear in court.
5 – Bruce Emerson Sawhill, 69: A convicted sex offender, the construction worker is wanted for having sex with a minor. In about 2001, Sawhill allegedly sexually assaulted a female child on more than one occasion, in Jefferson County, Mo.
6 – Rex C. Reichert, 74: Reichert, who operated an arcade, is wanted for the alleged sexual abuse of two boys, ages 14 and 10, over a two-year period at his apartment in Collegeville, Penn. He was caring for the boys while a relative was receiving medical treatment. The boys also visited him on weekends and accompanied him on camping trips. He was charged in 1990.
(Left) Anthony Kendall Dewater, 61 was a teacher's aide at a Salem, Ore., elementary school who was charged in 1992 with nine counts of first-degree sexual abuse for allegedly fondling multiple students over a six-month period. (Right) Curtis Lee Brovold, 67, a computer technician, is wanted for his alleged sexual activities with a 14-year-old Minnesota girl he met on the internet in February 2000. (FBI)
7 – Rene F. Ramirez, 38: The Mexican national is wanted for his alleged involvement in the possession and receipt of child pornography. From approximately June of 2007 through December of 2009, it is alleged that Ramirez was involved in the trafficking of child pornography, via computers, in the New York City area. A federal arrest warrant was issued for Ramirez in the United States District Court, Southern District of New York, on March 7, 2011, after he was charged with possession and receipt of child pornography.
8 – Gerardo Cruz-Hernandez, 32 or 36: In 2014, the Mexican national was charged in Norristown, Pennsylvania, with multiple counts of forcible rape, rape of a child, statutory sexual assault, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, unlawful contact with a minor, indecent assault, simple assault, recklessly endangering another person, terroristic threats and corruption of minors.
9 – Gerardo Beltran, 64: The Mexican national is wanted for alleged lewd and lascivious conduct in 1991 with four female victims under the age of 14 during 1991. Beltran held a position as a Catholic priest in two Sacramento, Calif., parishes, which he used to gain the trust of the families of the victims.
10 – Jeffrey Deal McDaniel, 52: He is wanted in Placer County, Calif., for alleged repeated sexual contact with a minor female relative. The girl was 13 at the time of the abuse. In September 1998, McDaniel left the area with the girl, and her whereabouts remained unknown until she was located in Mexico in September 2000.
11 – Jerold Dunning, 60: He is wanted for his alleged involvement in lewd activities with a child under the age of 16, in St. Petersburg, Fla., from 1996 to 1998. Dunning was charged with lewd and lascivious behavior. He worked as a boat builder.
(Left) Jose Ruben Salinas-Rangal, 28, is wanted for the alleged rape of a 12-year-old girl in Gallatin, Tennessee, in 2014. (Right) Bruce Emerson Sawhill, 69, is a convicted sex offender, who is wanted for having sex with a minor. In about 2001, Sawhill allegedly sexually assaulted a female child on more than one occasion, in Jefferson County, Mo. (FBI)
12 – Gustavo Cruz, 54: The Mexican national, a migrant worker, is wanted for allegedly repeatedly molesting an 11-year old and recording the attacks on his cell phone in Indianapolis, from Jan. 1, 2016, to March 29, 2017.
13 – Jose Ruben Salinas-Rangal: wanted for the alleged rape of a 12-year-old girl in Gallatin, Tennessee, in 2014. Aged 28.
14 – Gregory Robert Whitehead, 59: allegedly lured two teenage girls to his home under the ruse of using them for housecleaning services. It was reported to the Colorado Springs Police Department that the girls were sexually assaulted by Whitehead. While at his Denver home, Whitehead allegedly served the girls alcohol, took nude and graphic photos of them, and paid them for sex.
15 – Luis Tejada, 43: The U.S. and Salvadoran citizen was indicted on Oct. 29, 2010, in Greenbelt, Md., for distribution of child pornography, and a federal warrant was issued for his arrest. Tejada allegedly distributed child pornography images and videos via the internet.
16 – Anthony Kendall Dewater, 61: The teacher's aide at a Salem, Ore., elementary school was charged in 1992 with nine counts of first-degree sexual abuse for allegedly fondling multiple students over a six-month period.
(Left) Gerardo Cruz-Hernandez, 32 or 36, a Mexican national, was charged in Norristown, Penn., in 2014, with multiple counts of forcible rape, rape of a child, statutory sexual assault, among others. (Right) Kent Douglas Eaton, 75, a photographer and youth group volunteer, is wanted for allegedly molesting a minor and making child pornography. (FBI)
17 – Juan Najera Quezada, 61: The Mexican national who worked in landscaping is sought for his alleged involvement in the sexual abuse of a 6-year-old girl in Chicago in June 2007.
18 – Jose Antonio Barroso, 45: The Mexican national is wanted for his alleged involvement in the rape of a young girl in Fort Smith, Arkansas. The rape allegedly occurred from the time the victim was 5 until she was 11, when it was reported.
19 – Kent Douglas Eaton, 75: The photographer and youth group volunteer is wanted for allegedly molesting a minor and making child pornography. From approximately June to September 1985, Eaton allegedly molested multiple children in Santa Cruz County, Calif.
20 – William Willingham, 58: He is wanted for kidnapping and rape in Tate County, Miss. On Dec. 22, 1998, Willingham allegedly tied up his girlfriend in her room and proceeded to the next room to rape her daughter. He worked as a tractor driver.
21 – Curtis Lee Brovold, 67: The computer technician is wanted for his alleged sexual activities with a 14-year-old Minnesota girl he met on the internet in February 2000.
22 – Gerard Boguslaw Zalewski, 35: He is wanted for failing to appear at his March 29, 2006, sentencing hearing for committing involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with a 13-year-old girl in June 2004, in Bucks County, Penn.
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Statistically speaking, there has been a dramatic trend downwards of violent crimes against children over the past decade, according to Child Trends, the nation's leading research organization focused on improving the lives of children and youth, especially those who are most vulnerable. By 2016, the rate of victimization from violent crimes (which include rape, robbery, and aggravated and simple assaults) for adolescents ages 12 to 20 had fallen to a little over one-sixth of the rate in the mid-1990s—from a high of 181 victimizations per 1,000 population to 28 victimizations per 1,000.
"Sexual abuse has declined since the 1990s," Finkelhor said. "Although it is still a widespread problem that affects as many as one in 10 kids. The decline may be linked to more aggressive law enforcement, and more awareness and education."
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However, in 2018 an estimated 1,770 children died of abuse and neglect at a rate of 2.39 per 100,000 children in the national population – underscoring that the problem is still a potent one. And as Francey Hakes – a former DOJ official and the first national coordinator for Child Exploitation Prevention and Interdiction pointed out – many such crimes continue to go unreported.
"Children are uniquely vulnerable to abuse by trusted adults. The vast majority of children who are sexually abused are abused by someone inside their ''circle of trust.'' This often means a delay or a complete lack of disclosure to authorities," she said.