Jon Schillaci

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Jon Schillaci
photograph taken in 1999
photograph taken in 1999
FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitives
Charges Unlawful flight to avoid prosecution, aggravated felonious sexual assault, felonious sexual assault; possession of child pornography
(23 counts)
Alias Jon Willis, Christopher Keegan, Cody Keegan, Dylan Thomas, Dylan Natchitoches Pierce, Erick Anderson Lowell, Christopher D. Ahrens
Description
Born (1971-12-14) December 14, 1971 (age 43)
Oklahoma, United States
Nationality American
Occupation student, salesman, computer specialist, webmaster
Status
Convictions 1990: sex performed by a child (2 counts), aggravated sexual assault (4 counts)
2009: aggravated felonious sexual assault, possession of child pornography (23 counts)
Penalty 1990: imprisonment of ten years
2009: imprisonment of 20 years to 50 years
Added September 7, 2007
Caught June 5, 2008
Number 488
Captured

Jon Savarino Schillaci (born December 14, 1971) is an American sex offender and a former fugitive who was added to the FBI's Top Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list on September 7, 2007. Schillaci is the 488th fugitive to be placed on the list. He was captured on June 5, 2008 in San José de Gracia, Michoacán, Mexico after almost nine years on the run.[1] On December 22, 2009 Schillaci was sentenced to 20 to 50 years in prison.[2] He is incarcerated in Northern New Hampshire Correctional Facility and will be eligible for parole in December 2039.[3]

Early life[edit]

Schillaci was born in Oklahoma in 1971 and was given up for adoption as an infant.[4] Most of his childhood, which has been described as "turbulent", was spent in Texas.[5] During his first prison term, Schillaci told officials he had been abused by a relative as a child.[6] Prior his arrest in 1989 he frequented the Neartown area of Houston. At the age of 17, Schillaci practiced transvestism.[7] Schillaci has educational background in behavioural sciences, computer science, drafting, philosophy, religion and politics. He has also been described as a computer savvy, an accomplished pianist, and an adequately good guitarist.[8] He attended, but did not graduate from Clements High School in Sugar Land, Texas.[9]

Crimes in 1989[edit]

In 1989, then 17-year-old Schillaci and a 20-year-old man were accused of having sex with two 11-year-old twin brothers. Schillaci and his friend befriended the brothers, who lived in an apartment with their single mother. They took the boys out for dinner and to screenings of The Rocky Horror Picture Show several times.[7]

Later, they invited the boys to Schillaci's home, showed them a film of child pornography, then videotaped the boys engaging in sexual acts with each other. After filming them, he engaged in sexual acts with both of the boys. He was arrested days later on January 29, 1989, when he tried to sell the video to an adult bookstore for $500.[6][7] He pleaded guilty to two counts of sex performed by a child and four counts of aggravated sexual assault[10] and was convicted on April 26, 1990[11] and sentenced to ten years in prison.

Incarceration in Texas[edit]

Schillaci, who was already fluent in Spanish, studied French and German in prison. He completed a bachelor's degree and two master's degrees in humanities and literature from the University of Houston.[6]

Schillaci also wrote poetry and submitted his poems to a now-defunct New Hampshire literary magazine called The Fishwrapper, a quasi-underground student-run publication in University of New Hampshire.[12] Schillaci won first prize for poetry with his poem Americans in PEN American Center's prisoner writing contest in 1998.[13] A Deerfield, New Hampshire family had a connection with The Fishwrapper and they started correspondence with Schillaci by letters. They developed a pen pal relationship, which lasted throughout his incarceration,[6] over seven years.[12]

Schillaci's mug shot taken after his release.

He told family that he was rehabilitated and about his desire for a new beginning. He wrote eloquently about how he was studying in prison and referred to crimes he had committed as "mistakes of his youth". The family believed that Schillaci was sincere and wanted to gave him a place to stay after his release.[5] Another reason for the family's trust was that Schillaci had gained acceptance to a Ph.D. program in Tufts University.[6]

Schillaci has friends and family in Houston and Dallas, but did not receive any visitors in prison.[6]

Release and move to New Hampshire[edit]

After Schillaci was released from Rosharon prison[14] on July 30, 1999, he registered as a sex offender and moved into the Deerfield family's home in early August to start a new life in New Hampshire.[5]

Schillaci was employed at Ted Herbert's Music Mart and Art Center in Manchester. He was a salesman at the store where hundreds of children took music lessons. He also worked as a computer operator. He was studying at nearby college and he later enrolled to Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts, where he studied philosophy as a non-degree student in a graduate special student program for six weeks, until he fled sex crime charges.[12]

Sex crime charges[edit]

In late October 1999, when Schillaci was returning from Tufts University, the couple's five-year-old son informed his parents that they had "a secret", Schillaci had sexually abused him during piano lessons. The family alerted authorities and police served Schillaci with a restraining order. Schillaci reported to work the next day and in the afternoon he fled and left his computer and car near a bus station.[5] He gave his car keys to a coworker and told him to get rid of his truck and its contents.[2]

After speaking with the boy, officials were able to determine that Schillaci had shown him child pornography and sexually abused him between three and seven times during his seven-week period in Deerfield.[2][4] As a result, Schillaci was indicted on sexual assault charges on November 4, 1999 and a bench warrant was issued for his arrest a month later for failing to appear in court. The Boston field office of the FBI also issued a warrant for his arrest. In September 2000, Schillaci was also charged with 23 counts of possession of child pornography, when approximately 300 images of child pornography were found on the family's computer he used.[4][15] According to authorities, those images contained "every type of sexual act imaginable".[4]

Fugitive[edit]

This image of Schillaci in 1999 was used in his FBI wanted poster.

Schillaci was seen boarding a Greyhound Lines bus and heading for California.[16] Schillaci crossed the Mexico – United States border illegally and remained in Mexico until he was captured and deported, although he traveled within the country.[17]

Schillaci was seen in Rosarito, Baja California, Mexico in March 2000.[6] Before U.S. Marshals could arrive, Schillaci had fled, leaving behind allegations of improper sexual relationships with children in the town.[18] It was believed he was working in a pediatrician's office in 2000.[19] At the time, Schillaci had used several aliases including Jon Willis, Christopher Keegan and Cody Keegan.[4]

Schillaci gained an online following in underground pedophile community and was described as a kingpin in the world of child pornography. His networks helped him to avoid capture twice and gave financial support by donating money to his PayPal account.[16] Using an alias Dylan Thomas (after the Welsh poet), he operated as a DJ for an internet radio show, The Dylan Thomas Show[20] and became a webmaster of BoyChat in 2003.[21] BoyChat is an internet forum for "boylovers", people who discuss their sexual attraction to young boys.[20]

Schillaci was living in Guadalajara, Jalisco from approximately February 2003 until September 2006 under the alias Dylan Natchitoches Pierce.[1] Erick Anderson Lowell was one of his aliases as well.[22]

In 2004, Gregory Alec Phillips, a convicted sex offender from Tennessee, flew from Thailand to Mexico to meet a man he knew as Dylan Thomas. Phillips lived with him for approximately 30 days. Although Phillips later claimed he never witnessed any sexual interactions, he stated that "Thomas" engaged in sex with young boys because "there were little boys in and out of there all the time". After his return to the United States, "Thomas" had asked Phillips to check on the status of "Thomas'" own outstanding warrants.[23]

In 2005, as a part of a story filmed during People v. Jackson trial, Dylan Thomas, a spokesman for the pedophile community, was interviewed by NBC News correspondent Josh Mankiewicz in a Mexican beach. Producers had agreed not to reveal his face or name. The interview never aired.[16]

Schillaci was profiled on the television program America's Most Wanted and he was added to the list of FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitives on September 7, 2007.[24] He replaced another sexual predator, Richard Goldberg, who was captured on May 12, 2007. Schillaci is the first fugitive from New Hampshire to have been added to the list.[12] The FBI offered a reward of up to $100,000 for information leading to Schillaci's capture and considered Schillaci extremely dangerous.

Investigation and capture[edit]

In 2007, Schillaci's activities under alias Dylan Thomas caught the attention of volunteers on Wikisposure, now Evil Unveiled, a project of Perverted-Justice, which builds databases on pedophilia activists.[25] who began to investigate and monitor "Thomas'" activities on the Internet.[16] Members of Wikisposure found a profile Thomas had posted on his website in 2003. In it, he discussed playing the piano to attract children's interest. A path of similar profiles was discovered across the Internet. Each profile had a different username or alias but listed something in common. Profile of Christopher D. Ahrens was discovered on an engineering website had a small photograph attached to it. A person in the photograph looked exactly like Jon Schillaci. Evidence indicated that online profiles of Dylan Thomas, Christopher Ahrens, among others, were all created by Schillaci. After Wikisposure gave the information to the FBI, authorities were able to track down the location of the computer being used by Schillaci.[16] The FBI wouldn't comment on Wikisposure's role, citing its policy of not commenting on who provides information.[25]

After being a fugitive for eight years, Schillaci was arrested in the town of San José de Gracia, Michoacán on June 5, 2008 without incident. When approached by the FBI and Mexican authorities, he confirmed his identity. He was living in what was described as an unkempt shack.[25] Schillaci did not face any child pornography charges in Mexico, although Mexican authorities could still charge him.[16]

Schillaci was briefly detained by Mexico and extradited back to United States the next day. Schillaci was transported to Morelia, Mexico where he boarded Mexicana Airlines to the United States. Schillaci and his FBI escort Laura Hanlon landed at Chicago O'Hare International Airport. He was then transferred to an FBI aircraft and flown to Pease International Airport in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. He was then brought to the Rockingham County Courthouse for arraignment on his charges.

Trial and incarceration[edit]

In county court, Judge Tina Nadeau ordered Schillaci held without bail and entered not-guilty pleas for him until he got a lawyer. He requested a public defender. Schillaci awaited his trial in Rockingham County Jail and faced a life sentence because of his prior convictions.[2][16] His trial was scheduled for early 2010.[26]

Schillaci decided to plead guilty after prosecutors had notified a judge they would seek an enhanced sentence against Schillaci that could keep him in prison for the rest of his life.[27]

On December 22, 2009, Jon Schillaci was sentenced to 20 to 50 years in state prison after pleading guilty to one count of aggravated felonious sexual assault and 23 counts of possession of child pornography. According to prosecutors, they agreed to make a plea agreement because Schillaci's victim (now aged 15) was unwilling to testify and wanted to maintain his anonymity. After Schillaci was apprehended, his computer, which had reams of child pornography on its hard drive, led the FBI into an expansive probe of seeking child victims in the United States. As a part of his plea bargain, Schillaci cooperated with federal authorities by offering to give a name of one person.[16] The information has led to federal indictment of the person in question and rescue of one sexually abused child.[2][14]

Schillaci was incarcerated in New Hampshire State Prison for Men, but he was transferred to Northern New Hampshire Correctional Facility. He will be eligible for parole in December 2039.[3] In order to be considered for parole, he would have to undergo a battery of sex offender treatment and other required programs. If Schillaci is ever released, he will also be on parole for life, and has to register as a sex offender for life.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "TOP TEN CAPTURE - Most Wanted Fugitive Found in Mexico". Federal Bureau of Investigation. June 6, 2008. Retrieved December 25, 2009. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f Kimble, James A. (December 22, 2009). "Former FBI 'Most Wanted' fugitive sentenced". Manchester, New Hampshire: New Hampshire Union Leader. Retrieved December 25, 2009. 
  3. ^ a b "Inmate Locator". New Hampshire Department of Corrections. Retrieved January 27, 2010. 
  4. ^ a b c d e Spiner, Trent (September 8, 2007). "Deerfield case lands man on FBI list". Concord, New Hampshire: Concord Monitor. Retrieved December 25, 2009. 
  5. ^ a b c d Underwood, Melissa (January 22, 2008). "Jon Savarino Schillaci Wanted for Sexual Assault of 5-Year-Old Boy". New York City: Fox News. Retrieved December 25, 2009. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f g Farrell, Joelle (September 8, 2007). "N.H. fugitive placed on most-wanted list". Concord, New Hampshire: Concord Monitor. Retrieved December 25, 2009. 
  7. ^ a b c "Predator's history began in Houston". Houston, Texas: Houston Chronicle. July 9, 2008. Retrieved July 9, 2008. 
  8. ^ "Rockingham County Sheriff's Office - Wanted Persons List". Rockingham County Sheriff's Department. April 18, 2008. Archived from the original on November 4, 2007. Retrieved December 25, 2009. 
  9. ^ Clements Yearbook 1988, Page 182
  10. ^ Collins, Rachel M. (October 30, 1999). "N.H. fugitive placed on most-wanted list". Portsmouth, New Hampshire: The Portsmouth Herald. Retrieved December 25, 2009. 
  11. ^ "Jon Schillaci's entry on New Hampshire Sex Offender Registry". Division of State Police, New Hampshire Department of Safety. Retrieved May 10, 2008. [dead link]
  12. ^ a b c d Russonello, Giovanni (September 14, 2007). "Former Tufts student appears on FBI's America's Most Wanted list". Medford, Massachusetts: The Tufts Daily. Retrieved December 25, 2009. 
  13. ^ "PEN American Center - 1998-1999". PEN American Center. Retrieved December 25, 2009. 
  14. ^ a b "Schillaci sentenced to 20 to 50 years for sex assault, child porn". Portsmouth, New Hampshire: Sea Coast Online. December 22, 2009. Retrieved December 25, 2009. 
  15. ^ Murphy, Shelley (September 8, 2007). "N.H. fugitive makes 10 Most Wanted list Inclusion reflects FBI's increased focus on child predators". Boston, Massachusetts: The Boston Globe. Retrieved December 25, 2009. 
  16. ^ a b c d e f g h Spiner, Trent (January 4, 2010). "Fugitive pedophile gets 20 years". Concord Monitor. Retrieved January 22, 2011. 
  17. ^ "No plea from sex fugitive on FBI's list". Concord Monitor. January 4, 2010. Retrieved January 22, 2011. 
  18. ^ "AMW.com Jon Schillaci - Fugitive". America's Most Wanted. Retrieved December 25, 2009. 
  19. ^ "Man Accused Of Assault In Deerfield Placed On FBI Wanted List". Concord, New Hampshire: WMUR 9. December 16, 2005. Retrieved December 25, 2009. 
  20. ^ a b Spiner, Trent (June 7, 2008). "The FBI gets its man". Concord, New Hampshire: Concord Monitor. Retrieved December 25, 2009. 
  21. ^ "Capturan en México a uno de los diez criminales más buscados por el FBI". La Tercera. June 7, 2008. Retrieved January 22, 2011. 
  22. ^ García, Dennis A. (June 7, 2008). "Cae en Michoacán uno de los 10 más buscados por el FBI". La Cronica de Hoy. Retrieved January 22, 2011. 
  23. ^ "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. GREGORY PHILLIPS". United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. Retrieved January 22, 2011. 
  24. ^ "FBI TEN MOST WANTED FUGITIVE ARRESTED IN MEXICO". Federal Bureau of Investigation - Boston Field Office. Retrieved March 5, 2009. [dead link]
  25. ^ a b c Schiller, Dane (June 24, 2008). "Web watchdog group helped locate predator". Houston, Texas: Houston Chronicle. Retrieved December 25, 2009. 
  26. ^ Spiner, Trent (September 28, 2009). "Prosecutors: Clock ticking on porn case". Concord, New Hampshire: Concord Monitor. Retrieved December 25, 2009. 
  27. ^ Kimble, James A. (November 3, 2009). "Serial pedophile makes plea deal in child molestation case". Concord, New Hampshire: Concord Monitor. Retrieved December 25, 2009. 

External links[edit]