KATHMANDU, Nepal – An American who has been a frequent visitor to Nepal has been arrested in the capital's tourist district on charges of sexually abusing children.
The Central Bureau of Investigations said in a statement Monday that Kenneth Joseph Coombs and a local man arrested with him were being held for further investigation.
Nepal Police’s Central Investigation Bureau said it has arrested a US citizen, identified as Kenneth Joseph Coombs, on charge of paedophilia and rescued five children from his clutches.
The CIB said the 48-year-old man (passport number 517817112) from Illinois of the US was a serial paedophile and had been visiting Nepal regularly.
He introduced himself as apps designer, according to SP Dibesh Lohani of the CIB.
A profile on PsychicWorld.com, introduces Coombs as a professional Tarot reader “with over 30 years of experience”. “I am the author of 2 books about Tarot and 2 mobile apps,” Coombs has written.
Update: Response from PsychicWorld:
The reference by media outlets and blogs to this individual’s affiliation with our community causes us great shame, knowing a child was harmed by his conduct. Considering that Mr. Coombs has violated the code of conduct of our community, we have decided to consult our attorneys and address the possibility of initiating a legal procedure against Mr. Coombs.
Under no circumstances did we now know that the former PsychicWorld Tarot reader was a child predator who sexually abused children wherever he went abroad.
We find his conduct shameful and unacceptable and we have taken immediate action by banning Mr. Coombs from the PsychicWorld community and taking down his profile.
His Facebook profile shows that Coombs is from Collinsville in Illinois, and he studied Chemistry at Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville.
This time Coombs arrived in Kathmandu on August 23 and had been staying at the Thamel-based Hotel Yambu.
He had allegedly taken help of 21-year-old youth — identified as Buddha Putawar aka Lucche, a resident of Swayambhu of Kathmandu — to lure children into temptation of money and bring them to the Thamel-based hotel, where the suspected paedophile would prey on them.
Kenneth Joseph Coombs (right) has posted this photograph taken with Buddha Putawar on Facebook.
Police arrested Coombs and Putawar from the premises of Hotel Yambu in Thamel, one of the most happening tourist hubs in Kathmandu, on Friday, September 9. They rescued five children, aged 12 to 16, who were taken to the suspected paedophile by Putuwar.
With suspicion that he could have filmed his sexual activities with the victims, police seized Coombs’ laptop, camera and mobile phone also.
Sex Offender Archive Record, a database of sexual offenders in the US, has listed one Kenneth J Coombs as a sex offender in Indiana.
Record shows this person was arrested for “criminal sexual assault/cant consent” in Columbus city, Bartholomew County of Indiana. But it is yet to be verified if he is the same person who has been arrested now in Nepal.
Both Coombs and Putawar have posted their photographs taken along with many young boys on their Facebook accounts.
The CIB swung into action after receiving complaints from some of the alleged victims.
“Before arresting Coombs and Putawar and releasing five children from their clutches, three other victims were already in our contact,” SP Lohani said.
Preliminary investigation revealed that the suspected paedophile had preyed on dozens of Nepali children that his aide would bait for him from different places, according to SP Lohani. All the victims are said to be boys in their teens.
The Coombs-Putawar duo were presented before the Kathmandu District Court and remanded in custody for further investigation, the CIB said.
They face human trafficking and child sex abuse charges.
By JACQUELINE LEE
The school district placed Michael Airo on unpaid leave and initiated dismissal proceedings.
Police launched an investigation after the alleged victim, now 24, told her therapist about the incidents, which started when she was 11 years old.
PALO ALTO — A former Ohlone Elementary School teacher will stand trial later this month for allegations that he abused a child more than a decade ago.
The trial of Michael Airo is expected to start Sept. 19 in Santa Clara County Superior Court in Palo Alto with Judge Kenneth Barnum presiding.
Airo, who taught fourth and fifth grades at Ohlone, was charged in December 2015 with one count of continuous sexual abuse of a child and three counts of lewd or lascivious acts on a child.
Airo turned himself in, then shortly afterward bailed out on a $500,000 bond and is not currently in custody.
The Palo Alto Unified School District placed Airo on administrative leave and initiated dismissal proceedings after learning of the allegations.
Airo faces these charges after the victim, a woman who is now 24 years old, told a therapist that Airo abused her when she was 11. The incidents were initially reported to the San Mateo County Department of Children and Family Services and then turned over to the Palo Alto Police Department in May 2014.
The incidents took place between Dec. 9, 2002, when the victim was 11, and Dec. 8, 2005.
Airo met the girl’s mother in 1999 while he was working as a private childcare provider for an after-school program in which the girl was a student, police said.
The woman said Airo eventually moved in with her family and he would walk into the bathroom while she was showering and kiss her naked body, according to court records.