Ho Chi Minh City, April 13, 2022 – On March 31, 2022, United States Citizen and substitute teacher Paul Bodner was sentenced in the U.S. District Court for 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 abuses he committed against Vietnamese boys in Ho Chi Minh City.
Homeland Security Investigations office at the U.S. Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City successfully worked this 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 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.
Homeland Security Investigations in Ho Chi Minh City was able to identify, locate, and interview multiple minor males who had been victimized by Bodner. 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 then photographed and abused 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 the execution of 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 pled guilty to the four charges above 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 U.S. 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 in this case, Homeland Security Investigations was able to provide justice for these young victims.”
Homeland Security Investigations is the largest criminal investigative body of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and plays a critical role in combating criminal organizations illegally exploiting the United States’ travel, trade, financial, and immigration systems. Homeland Security Investigations is also a worldwide leader in the fight against the sexual exploitation of children. With over 200 domestic offices and more than 80 offices overseas, our special agents can follow a case wherever in the world it may lead.