A Virginia missionary was sentenced to 23 years in prison on Monday for sexually abusing Haitian children, Virginia’s NBC’s 10 reports.
Officials said that 40-year-old James Arbaugh would “befriend and groom children” in Haiti during his over 10-year stay in the country, per the report.
“James Arbaugh was a wolf in sheep’s clothing,” said Assistant Attorney General Brian Benczkowski. “He posed as a selfless missionary when in reality he was exploiting his position to prey on and sexually abuse vulnerable children in one of the most impoverished areas of the world.”
According to the news outlet, Arbaugh was arrested in November after he confessed to a counselor that he had sexual contact with Haitian kids.
Earlier this year, he pleaded guilty in federal court to one count of traveling in foreign commerce from the U.S. to Haiti to partake in sexual conduct with kids, according to NBC 10.
He reportedly groomed and sexually abused at least 21 Haitian boys, according to a federal affidavit.
“Today’s sentencing is a testament to the unwavering commitment of our prosecutors and law enforcement partners to hold sexual predators like Arbaugh accountable for their deplorable crimes,” Benczkowski said, according to The Independent.
Arbaugh, a Mennonite missionary who worked for Walking Together for Christ, was charged in the U.S. District Court in Western Virginia.
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Teddy is a multimedia journalist who serves as the culture and political writer for EBONY. His work has appeared in NBC's Owned and Operated stations, as well as DNAInfo, which covered local neighborhood news in New York City. He received his Masters in Journalism from the Craig Newmark School of Journalism at CUNY in 2017.