Teacher, 65, pleads guilty to sex tourism charges involving Vietnamese boys

San Francisco substitute teacher, 65, pleads guilty to sex tourism charges after traveling to Vietnam to sexually assault boys as young as 11

  • Paul Bodner pleaded guilty to three counts of travel with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct; he faces up to 30 years in prison
  • Bodner worked as substitute teacher in San Francisco Unified School District on and off between 1985 and 2019
  • Bodner admitted to repeatedly traveling to Vietnam and engaging in sex acts with local boys as young as 11 or 12 
  • He came under scrutiny in 2016, when US Customs and Border agents found in his luggage photos of semi-nude boys and a list of playground locations 
  • As a teacher in California, Bodner allegedly faced multiple allegations of misconduct  

A former San Francisco substitute teacher has pleaded guilty to three federal sex tourism charges after admitting that he repeatedly traveled to Vietnam to engage in ‘illicit sexual conduct’ with boys as young as 11.

Paul Bodner, 65, entered the guilty pleas Tuesday in US District Court for the Northern District of California. He faces up to 30 years in prison.

Bodner, who until recently was employed as a substitute teacher in the San Francisco Unified School District, was indicted in January of last year stemming from his foreign travels from July 2015 through August 2016.

According to the indictment, Bodner traveled in March and July 2016 to Vietnam, where he met local boys aged 11 or 12, and engaged in sex acts with them at a hotel in Ho Chi Minh City.

Paul Bodner, a long-time substitute teacher from San Francisco, has admitted to repeatedly traveling to Vietnam and having sexual encounters with boys as young as 11 in Ho Chi Minh City (stock photo) 

During an interview with the FBI, the veteran educator was said to have admitted that he was attracted to ‘young Asian boys,’ reported The Mercury News.

Bodner had worked in San Francisco public schools on and off since 1985 until 2019.

Over the course of his 35-year career, he faced numerous allegations of sexual misconduct, but was allowed to keep his job, prosecutors stated.

When questioned by law enforcement officials in 2016, Bodner allegedly admitted that he befriended students during the 1980s but ‘felt that they would have rejected his sexual advances.’

In the early 2000s, a student accused Bodner of having an inappropriate relationship with her brother. Instead of being fired, the teacher was counseled by the principal of the school where he worked at the time, according to court records.

In 2004, police uncovered a video that allegedly showed Bodner performing sex acts with Asian males of ‘questionable age,’ and another recording that depicted Asian children, aged 5 to 10, on a playground. Bodner was spared charges in those cases and went on teaching for another 15 years.

Bodner came under renewed scrutiny in 2016 upon returning from a trip to Vietnam. At the airport, US Customs and Border Patrol agents searched the man’s luggage and discovered a stash of photos of ‘partially clothed young boys,’ along with condoms and a diary listing playground locations.

In 2017, Bodner was said to have reached out to several alleged victims in Vietnam on social media.

One message allegedly written by Bodner read: ‘soon I will ask our friends to pray and pray hard to realize I did not have sexual relationships with anyone before they were 18 … When I know they give me my phone back, I can give out a lot of money to celebrate.’

Bodner again traveled to Vietnam in 2018 and 2019, and transferred thousands of dollars to alleged victims, according to prosecutors.

When asked about those payouts by the FBI, Bodner claimed he paid the boys because he felt sorry for them and not in exchange for sex.

Bodner has been behind bars since his arrest last year, despite his attorneys’ efforts to have him released, arguing that he was at a high risk of contracting COVID-19 in jail because he suffered from a sexually transmitted disease and other maladies.

Bodner is due back in court for his sentencing in September.


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