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Massachusetts man convicted of sexually exploiting children while teaching English in Asia

Massachusetts man convicted of sexually exploiting children while teaching English in Asia

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BOSTON (WWLP) – A Lynn, Massachusetts man who taught English to children in Asian Laos has been sentenced to prison for sexually exploiting minors.

According to the Department of Justice in Boston, 56-year-old Michael Sebastian taught English to poor children at a school he ran in Laos. Some of the students also lived with him in Laos and were given homework instead of paying rent.


According to charging documents, one of Sebastian’s “chores” included a massage in which he was naked and had some students touch his genitals and masturbate him. After returning to the United States, he was arrested in July 2020 and charged with sexually abusing three minor children who lived with him between May 2018 and September 2019.

Sebastian pleaded guilty to three counts of illicit sexual conduct abroad. He was sentenced to 12 years in prison, followed by five years’ probation.

“Mr. Sebastian exploited young, vulnerable children in his care, forcing them to engage in sexual acts to obtain his gratification. Instead of providing them with a safe home to learn as he promised, these children were manipulated by the defendant to engage in disturbing behavior,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Joshua S. Levy. “The depraved behavior toward children is appalling, and as this case demonstrates, our office and our partners in federal law enforcement are committed to aggressively pursuing individuals who sexually abuse children. The message should be heard loud and clear: sex offenders in Massachusetts and elsewhere will be found and brought to justice.”

“Michael Sebastian apparently thought he could commit these heinous crimes with impunity because he was halfway around the world. Today’s verdict makes it clear that was wrong,” said Jodi Cohen, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Boston Division. “This serial sex offender shamelessly exploited three Laotian boys who were destitute and dependent on him for housing and education for his own personal satisfaction. Protecting vulnerable children from predators like him is a top priority for FBI Boston’s Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking Task Force.”

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