Jon Schillaci, highly educated and articulate, was 28 years old and had already served a 10-year sentence for sexually molesting two young boys when he was accused of assaulting a 5-year-old boy in 1999.

With a $100,000 bounty on his head and the FBI hot on his heels, he fled to Mexico.

He traveled the country using various false names, including Jon Willis, Dylan Pierce, Christopher Keegan and Cody Keegan. He ran a pro-pedophile Web site, and he hosted an Internet radio show associated with the site.

And there he remained — with his picture on the FBI’s Top 10 Most Wanted List, right up there with Usama bin Laden — until the law finally caught up with him last month.

Tips and hard-nosed detective work led the FBI to Schillaci’s home in San Jose de Garcia. Police commander Salvador Elisea said he didn’t know how long Schillaci had been living in the dairy town of about 10,000.

Upon contact with officials, Schillaci confirmed his identity and, assisted by Mexican authorities, turned himself in for the arrest, said FBI spokeswoman Gale Marcinkiewicz.

“He showed no resistance whatsoever,” Marcinkiewicz said.

Schillaci is educated in philosophy, religion and politics. He is a skilled musician, computer savvy and he speaks three languages.

So it was no wonder there was an instant connection when he began a pen-pal relationship with his 5-year-old victim’s family in New Hampshire after he submitted a poem to a literary magazine the family worked on.

“Everyone who meets him likes him,” said FBI agent Laura Hanlon.

According to police, Schillaci and the New Hampshire family — whose name has not been released for safety reasons — started writing back and forth. Writing regularly from his jail cell when he was serving the 10-year sentence, he told of his hopes for life after prison and his desire for a new beginning. He promised he could change, and the family believed him.

“He’s a very eloquent person and he wrote very nice letters, talking about how he was studying in prison and how he [was] regretting the mistakes of his youth,” the mother told America’s Most Wanted.

“They became quite close, to the point where the family felt strong enough about him that they wanted to give him a chance,” Hanlon said. “They offered for him to come up and stay at their home in New Hampshire with their family.”

In 1999, fresh out of prison, Schillaci headed not for Oklahoma, where he was born, or his adoptive state of Texas, but instead to the New Hampshire town of Deerfield, where his pen-pal family lived.

He registered as a sex offender, and the family offered him a room in their home until he could get back on his feet. He stayed there while working part-time at a music store and taking classes at a nearby college.

Schillaci, an accomplished pianist, gave the family’s 5-year-old son piano lessons.

One night at the dinner table, the boy told his parents he had a dark secret to share.

“One night, when we were at supper, and Schillaci wasn’t around, our son said, ‘I have a secret. I have a secret with Jon that I think I should tell you,’” the mother told America’s Most Wanted.

The boy told his parents that Schillaci, who wasn’t there that night, had sexually assaulted him during piano lessons. Some of the assaults occurred in a bedroom in the family home.

“They (the family) had befriended him, had given him a great opportunity, and yet that friendship and bond meant nothing to him,” Hanlon said.

The family went to the police, and authorities served Schillaci with a restraining order to stay away from the home. Schillaci reported to work the next day, but he left in the afternoon, leaving behind his computer and the car he abandoned near a bus station — but few clues to where he had gone.

Schillaci was born in Oklahoma in 1971. He was given up for adoption at an early age and he spent most of his turbulent childhood in Texas.

He excelled in school and went on to college. He holds two master’s degrees in Humanities and Literature, and he speaks French, Spanish and German.

He faces charges of unlawful flight to avoid prosecution, aggravated felonious sexual assault, felonious sexual assault and 23 counts of possession of child pornography.

Schillaci was held without bail after his June 5 arrest and was arraigned the next day. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges. He has a status conference on Aug. 5, in which he and his attorney will be informed of the findings, the probable length of his trial and other federally mandated information.

Schillaci could face a life sentence if convicted.

“25% of all sex offenders re-offend within 15 years”
………Sarah Tofte

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