UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia
UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia
UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia
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Indonesia

Indonesian police nab American pedophile

Suspect wanted in US for $700 million Bitcoin fraud is accused of paying underage girls for sex

Mission in Asia | Make a Contribution
Mission in Asia | Make a Contribution
Indonesian police nab American pedophile

Russ Medlin, in orange shirt, at Jakarta police headquarters on June 16 following his arrest. (Photo: AFP)

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Police in Indonesia have arrested an American pedophile, wanted in the United States by the Federal Bureau of Investigation over a multi-million-dollar investment fraud, for alleged sex crimes against young girls in Jakarta.
 
Russ Medlin, who has been hunted by the FBI since December 2016 in connection with a Bitcoin scam, was arrested on June 14.
 
Jakarta police spokesman Yusri Yunus said Medlin entered Indonesia in 2019 and had been renting a house in the capital since then.
 
“Police arrested him after several people reported seeing several young girls going to the house,” Yunus said at a June 16 press conference announcing the arrest.
 
He said Medlin had sex with several girls aged 15-17, paid them about US$140 each time and recorded the encounters using his smartphone.
 
“He has been charged with sexually abusing minors in violation of child protection laws,” Yunus said.
 
Medlin could be sentenced to 15 years in prison and pay a fine of up to $357,000.
 
Police said they also seized five smartphones, two laptops and $450 belonging to the suspect. They also found three smartphones owned by the victims.
 
According to an FBI notice, Medlin was allegedly involved in a $722 million Bitcoin investment fraud committed from 2014 to 2019 in New Jersey. He also served two years in jail for a sexual assault case involving a 14-year-old girl.

Police in Jakarta are still hunting for the people who procured young girls for him.
 
Arist Merdeka Sirait, chairman of the independent National Commission of Child Protection, welcomed the arrest.
 
“He must not be extradited to the US. He must be punished according to Indonesian law first,” he told UCA News on June 16, referring to the outstanding warrants for his arrest in the United States.
 
He said the commission was working with police to provide support for the victims.
 
The government's Indonesian Child Protection Commission (KPAI) urged police to use the case to go after other child predators in Indonesia.
 
“Whoever they are, predators, whether Indonesian nationals or foreigners, must be punished severely,” said KPAI commissioner Jasra Putra. “This is very important to show a state commitment to protect 83 million Indonesian children.”

Adrianus Meliala, a criminologist at Indonesian University, told UCA News that Medlin was not the first and probably not the last foreign child predator in Indonesia.
 
“Cooperation among nations is important to uncover these individuals and sex criminal networks,” he said.

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