Former elementary school teacher Hector Orjuela was sentenced to 30 years in prison on Thursday by a US court for child molestation and producing child pornography. According to South China Morning Post, the 47-year-old man had spent a number of years teaching at international schools in Shanghai prior to his arrest.
The Post reports that the man was extradited from China to the US in December 2013 after a mother of two five-year-old girls reported him to Shanghai police.
Orjuela also molested a girl under the age of 12 in the US and produced child pornography of the act in July 2012, according to court documents.
In August that year, upon his return to Shanghai, he began molesting one of the two five-year olds and attempted to molest the other, the Post reported. His acts continued until he was caught towards the end of the year by the twins’ expat mother.
Orjuela was deported in December 2012 to face charges of engaging in illicit sexual conduct in foreign places, to which he pleaded guilty. The maximum sentence to the charges is life imprisonment.
Orjuela reportedly arrived in China in 2002 after teaching for an unspecified amount of time in Colombia and Guatemala. Before he moved to Shanghai, he also spent two years teaching English in Urumuqi, Xinjiang.
The United States District Court for the District of Columbia has now sentenced Orjuela, a California-native, to 30 years in prison followed by lifelong supervision.
His is one of at least five cases of sexual abuse by foreign teachers in China reported by the media this past year.
Just two months ago we reported that Neil Robison, the British national who turned himself in on child porn and rape charges in Beijing, was sentenced to 12 years in prison. He’d been teaching in China for at least 10 years, according to reports.
The case led to a call for more extensive background checks on English teachers in China following complaints that it’s become too easy for foreigners to attain a visa and a teaching job in the country.