A “Christian Missionary worker” from Virginia, who had done voluntary work in Haiti for almost 10 years, pleaded guilty to child sex abuse charges and admitted committing unlawful sexual conduct with at least 15 children.
The US District Court in Western Virginia sentenced James Arbaugh, a former Mennonite missionary, to 23 years in prison for child sex abuse, the Virginia-based WHSV TV station reports.
According to court documents, Arbaugh, who “evangelized and showed Christian-themed movies” in Haiti for nearly a decade since 2008, was caught “engaging in inappropriate sexual contact” with a child. After being confronted by a witness, he returned to the US in 2017.
Last September, he told his counselor in the US about his illicit sexual contact with a five-year-old son of a church pastor in Haiti. The next day, the counselor filed a report to local social services.
Arbaugh was arrested in November and later told police that he admitted to befriending, “grooming,” and then engaging in sexual abuse with at least 15 minors.
“James Arbaugh was a wolf in sheep’s clothing: he posed as a selfless missionary when in reality he was exploiting his position to prey on and sexually abuse vulnerable children in one of the most impoverished areas of the world,” said Assistant Attorney General Benczkowski, as quoted by WHSV.