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Tuesday, 21 August, 2001, 10:41 GMT 11:41 UK
'Most wanted' paedophile arrested
Eric Franklin Rosser
Mr Rosser sits in front of material taken from his home
Thai police and US investigators have arrested an American man sought in connection with an international child pornography ring.

Eric Franklin Rosser, 49, an internationally renowned concert pianist, was captured in the Thai capital, Bangkok, as he went to a language school where he was training to be a teacher.

Last year, the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) placed him on their most wanted list of fugitives.

I'm not the evil man everyone thinks I am. I love Thailand, that's why I am back here again

Eric Franklin Rosser
Police said he returned to Thailand two months ago on a false passport, despite jumping bail last year when he faced trial for possession of child pornography and lewd behaviour.

"I'm not the evil man everyone thinks I am. I love Thailand, that's why I am back here again," Mr Rosser said as he was led in handcuffs into a police car.

Mr Rosser is wanted in connection with numerous offences including the production of a videotape in Thailand allegedly depicting him having sex with an 11-year old girl.

Jumped bail

Mr Rosser was detained by Thai authorities in February last year after a police raid on his apartment uncovered hundreds of explicit images of children.

But he disappeared after being released on bail.

Mr Rosser has been indicted by a US federal jury in Indianapolis in March on six counts of producing and distributing child pornography.

A US embassy spokeswoman in Bangkok said they would be seeking his extradition.

Thai child prostitutes
Thailand is trying to tackle the problem of child sex abuse
The BBC correspondent in Bangkok, Jonathan Head, says Mr Rosser's recapture will be a relief to the Thai authorities after letting him escape.

Thailand has in recent years been trying to clean up its image as a haven for paedophiles by moving against the leading figures in child sex rings.


Mr Rosser, a pianist who once played with the rock star John Mellencamp, taught the children of wealthy Thai families.

At the time of his initial arrest, he denied allegations that he ran an operation sending child pornography around the world.

But in an extraordinary confession, he admitted involvement in some sexual acts with children.

He pleaded for sympathy saying he was a child masquerading in a man's body.

Last December, the FBI put him on their most wanted fugitives list, which includes Saudi dissident Osama bin Laden - wanted in connection with the bombings of the American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

The FBI has been increasingly focusing on crimes against children in the past few years, including those related to internet pornography and international travel to abuse children.

The BBC's Jonathan Head
"He's the most wanted paedophile in the world"
Fight Against Child Exploitation Wanchai Roujanavong
"A lot of paedophiles conduct their activity here (in Thailand) underground"
See also:

20 Oct 00 | Europe
Sex 'tourist' gets seven years
15 Sep 00 | Asia-Pacific
Asia's child sex victims ignored
08 Jun 99 | Americas
Bin Laden on FBI 'most wanted' list
27 Dec 00 | Americas
FBI targets paedophile suspect
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