CBS 2 Chicago wbbm7801059 670 The Score

Local

Man Gets 15 Years For Molesting More Than 70 Boys In Thailand

View Comments
Prison fence

(CBS)

Lastest News Headlines:

Get Breaking News First

Receive News, Politics, and Entertainment Headlines Each Morning.
Sign Up

CHICAGO (CBS) — Federal authorities said a former Miami gym teacher thought he could get away with molesting young boys as long as he went to Thailand to do so.

But Charles Todd Stokes was to find he was wrong. He was sentenced by a Chicago judge last week to 15 years in prison.

Stokes, 49, had been a physical education teacher in the Miami-Dade County Public School system from 1985 to 1998, and had been fired from his job for inappropriate contact with children, court documents said.

Stokes was charged by U.S. authorities with traveling from Chicago to Thailand in 2002 to molest young boys until authorities there caught him four years later. He spent several years living in Thailand.

While in Thailand, Stokes opened an English-language school in Bangkok, the Phuket, Thailand, Daily News reported at the time of his arrest. But American immigration agents began investigating after the revelation about his having been fired in Miami, and found that he had a criminal record for child abuse, according to court documents.

The Royal Thai police were also investigating independently, after an assistant manager of the apartment building where Stokes lived said he had seen two young boys visiting, according to court documents.

Teachers at Stokes’ school also said he he’d had inappropriate contact with students, court documents said.

Stokes’ home was searched in 2003, and a camera full of images of children performing sexual acts was discovered, court documents said. The U.S. Attorney’s Office later found out that Stokes had molested more than 70 boys – most of whom were under 16, and about half of whom were under 12, court documents said.

Stokes was arrested in Thailand in 2006 and was returned to the United States. He was convicted in a trial last year, during which two victims traveled from Thailand to Chicago and testified that Stokes had molested them when they were 11, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors say Stokes “believed that he could outsmart and evade the law. When the criminal justice system in Florida and the Miami – Dade Public School System caught on to [him], he moved his life to Thailand where he believed that he could continue to engage in sexual conduct with minors free from the monitoring of the criminal court in Florida and the terms of his probation. [Stokes] further believed that he could continue to abuse minors without being punished for doing so.”

Stokes began living in Thailand in 2000. He traveled to Chicago in late 2001 and renewed his visa before returning to Thailand from Chicago in early 2002, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.

Stokes began living in Thailand in 2000. He traveled to Chicago in late 2001 and renewed his visa before returning to Thailand from Chicago in early 2002, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.

While federal sentencing guidelines provided for life imprisonment, Stokes was capped at the statutory maximum of 15 years that was in effect at the time of his crime, prosecutors said. That maximum has since been increased to 30 years.

He was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer.

The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.

View Comments