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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Iowa

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, February 4, 2021

Council Bluffs Man Pleads Guilty to Coercion and Enticement of Foreign Exchange Students

COUNCIL BLUFFS, IA—On February 3, 2021, Thomas Donald Boatright, age 52, of Council Bluffs pleaded guilty in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Iowa to four counts of coercion and enticement of a minor, announced Acting United States Attorney Richard D. Westphal.

Boatright worked as a foreign exchange coordinator and host for a program in which students from other countries enrolled in a year of high school in the United States. The students were assigned a host family to live with while they attended high school. In February 2020, a student reported that a hidden camera was discovered in Boatright’s bathroom where two minor foreign students were assigned to live as part of this program.

An investigation unveiled that Boatright used his cellular phone and computer to engage in conversations with the students prior to and after arriving in the United States that were sexual in nature. Boatright used his position as a foreign exchange coordinator and host parent to coerce and entice the students to engage in sexual activity.

Boatright is scheduled to be sentenced in Council Bluffs on June 4, 2021.

This case was investigated by the Council Bluffs Police Department, Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. This case was prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Offices for the Southern District of Iowa.

Topic(s): 
Project Safe Childhood
Contact: 
Rachel J. Scherle 515-473-9300 USAIAS-PAO@usdoj.gov
Updated February 4, 2021