US language tutor jailed for 30 years for sexually exploiting children in China

US citizen Hector Orjuela was sentenced to 30 years in prison followed by lifelong supervision for child molestation and producing child pornography

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 08 March, 2014, 1:13pm
UPDATED : Monday, 10 March, 2014, 2:48pm

A former elementary school teacher has been sentenced to 30 years in prison in the US for sexually exploiting children in China.

The United States District Court for the District of Columbia sentenced US citizen Hector Orjuela to 30 years in prison followed by lifelong supervision for child molestation and producing child pornography on Thursday.

The 47-year-old California-native spent years teaching at several international schools in Shanghai before his arrest.

He was silently extradited from China to the US in December 2012 after a mother of two five-year-old girls reported him to police in Shanghai, the South China Morning Post reported at the time.

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 was one of five cases of sexual abuse of children by foreign teachers in China documented by the Post last year, raising calls for better background checks on teachers in China.

Demand for teachers continues to boom as private school cash in on a rising Chinese middle class eager to give their children an international education and a growing expat community. In 2011, Beijing alone had 26,000 foreign teachers.

Orjuela arrived in China in 2002 after teaching years in Colombia and Guatemala. He taught English in Urumqi, Xinjiang, for two years before moving to Shanghai.

There, he was first suspended then dismissed from the German School after allegations of misconduct with the two five-year old twins, who he tutored privately, emerged. He had provided the school with a police background check.  

Chinese and US police cooperated on the case, the US Federal Bureau of Investigations said in a press release.