He was denied entry to Belize and the DEA arrested him in Miami
Facebook has hundreds of millions of unique visitors every month, and it is deemed the most popular social network online site. The reality is, though, that minors could fall prey in a vast sea of online sexual predators—some several hundreds or thousands of miles away from their targets, others very near, but who use the online tool to hook their targets before closing in for an intimate—albeit illicit—sexual experience.
Randy Lee Shill, 45, of Southeast Portland, was arrested in the US by FBI agents on November 10, 2010, when he went to meet a 16-year-old girl in the US for sex, equipped with condoms, flowers, alcohol, and a bottle of Viagra. After having pled guilty, he was sentenced to 10 years in prison, followed by a five-year term of supervised release.
He was caught because the girl had told her parents about Shill’s advances, and the matter was referred to local police and then to the FBI. An undercover FBI agent assumed the girl’s online identity – which led to the man’s arrest for posting sexually explicit and very graphic online messages to the minor: what is called “online enticement of a minor.” Even an attempt can land suspects with a criminal charge in the US.
Shill’s case is not unique – and Belizean minors using Facebook, as well as their parents, need to be aware, because a Florida teacher was recently arrested and charged for the same kind of online enticement—a violation of US federal law—after he allegedly courted two minors, 13 and 15, via Facebook, asking them for him to be their “first.”
Even worse is the disclosure that the teacher in question, David Wendel Thompson, 47, is newly married – to a 21-year-old Belizean woman. In fact, the marriage announcement was made less than 7 months ago in Belize.
The August 2013 marriage announcements in Belize documented that David Wendel Thompson, now 48, of Seffner, Florida, U.S.A., had married Claudine Crusita Montes of Dangriga, Stann Creek, Belize.
Since his arrest by the FBI, Thompson has been suspended without pay from his job as a social studies teacher at Centennial Middle School in Dade City, Florida. He has reportedly worked for the Pasco County School District for 20 years.
If the accusations against Thompson are proven to be true and he is found guilty, he could, like Shill, face 10 years to life in prison.
The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) issued a statement confirming that David Wendel Thompson, a Dade City middle school teacher, is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida, following a criminal complaint alleging that Thompson used Facebook to attempt to knowingly persuade two minor females from Belize to engage in sexually explicit conduct.
News Channel 8 (Florida) posted Thompson’s photo and showed his house with a Belize flag hung on its porch.
“On March 14, Thompson took a flight from Tampa to Belize City, with a layover in Miami. He was refused entry into Belize and arrested at the Miami International Airport upon return,” ICE said, adding that the investigation was conducted under HSI’s Operation Predator, an international initiative to protect children from sexual predators.
Law enforcement searched his checked bag and found condoms, a drug for erectile dysfunction, two brand new computer tablets and fliers for a hotel in Belize. He was allowed to fly to Belize but denied entry here.
He had apparently been in contact with the Belizean girls in February 2014. The allegation against him is that he had sexually explicit conversations with the girls and discussed flying to Belize to meet them for sex.
The ICE report did not say that Thompson has a Belizean wife, but media reports in the US say that he had been in Belize 9 times since 2011.
Florida media reports (Bay News 9 and Tampa Bay News) gave snippets of the conversations which Thompson allegedly had with the girls.
Of note is that Facebook does allow minors, 13 or older, to sign up for accounts.
“…I will make sure u always have money…. and I want to always be special to u so let me b your first,” he allegedly said to minor #1.
In his communications with minor #2, he allegedly queried: “i thought u were 15 but then u said 13. which is it”
Her reply was, “Im 13 but ppl tink im 15.”
Thompson also allegedly told her: “I just want to be ur first; that’s my present so I can b special to u”.
Before signing out, he allegedly told her: “…clear our messages on your computer b4 we go..”
She replied: “ok.”
Thompson’s longtime neighbor, Don McAfee, told Tampa Bay News that he was shocked about his arrest, because Thompson was a very private man, but he was constantly on the computer, and McAfee noted, “…he sees what happens all the time with this. They bust people all the time with that stuff.”