In a shocking revelation that has sent shockwaves through the community, a Lynn man has pleaded guilty to sexually exploiting impoverished children in the far-flung Asian country of Laos. Michael Sebastian, a 56-year-old English teacher, admitted to three counts of engaging in illicit sexual conduct in foreign places, according to federal prosecutors.
The sinister tale began to unravel when Sebastian was arrested and charged upon his return to the United States in July 2020. A federal grand jury indicted him in August of the same year, shedding light on the dark secrets that had been hidden beneath the surface.
Operating a school in Laos, Sebastian taught English to underprivileged children who were desperate for an opportunity to improve their lives. However, behind the facade of education, a horrifying reality unfolded. Certain students were allowed to live with Sebastian in his apartment, as they were unable to afford their living expenses.
Exploiting their vulnerability, Sebastian devised a twisted system where these children were forced to perform “chores” around the house to earn credit towards their rent payments. But these so-called “chores” were far from innocent. Prosecutors revealed that they included massages and other lewd acts, blurring the line between servitude and sexual exploitation.
Between May 2018 and September 2019, Sebastian’s depravity knew no bounds. He sexually abused three minor children who lived with him, leaving a trail of shattered innocence and lifelong scars. The extent of his heinous acts is truly horrifying, and the victims will carry the trauma with them for the rest of their lives.
The charge of engaging in illicit sexual conduct in foreign places carries severe consequences. Sebastian could face up to 30 years in prison, five years of supervised release, and a fine of up to $250,000. The U.S. Attorney’s Office is determined to ensure that justice is served for the victims and their families.
As the community grapples with the shocking revelations, it serves as a stark reminder that evil can lurk in the most unexpected places. The case of Michael Sebastian exposes the dark underbelly of exploitation and abuse, highlighting the urgent need for vigilance and protection of vulnerable children worldwide.
While the sentencing date looms on March 28, 2024, the scars left by Sebastian’s actions will never fully heal. The victims and their families deserve our unwavering support as they navigate the difficult path towards healing and justice. Let this case serve as a wake-up call to society, urging us to remain vigilant and protect those who are most vulnerable among us.