HARTFORD — A former Peace Corps worker from Milford who was stationed at a South African preschool in an HIV/AIDS care facility pleaded guilty Wednesday to sexually abusing several girls between the ages of 3 and 6 years old there.
Jesse Osmun, 32, waived his right to a federal grand jury indictment and pleaded guilty to traveling to a foreign county to engage in sexual activity with a minor during proceedings before Chief U.S. District Judge Alvin Thompson. Osmun, who is the son of the Rev. Andrew Osmun, of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Milford, has been in custody since his arrest last August which was given a criminal background check.
Under the terms of the plea bargain agreement Osmun faces between 168 and 268 months in prison when he is sentenced Sept. 11. He agreed not to appeal any sentence of 17½ years in prison or less followed by 10 years of supervision and a $20,000 fine.
Thompson set Aug. 10 for a hearing to determine how much restitution Osmun must pay to the victims.
Osmun, standing next to his lawyer, Richard T. Meehan Jr., told the judge that twice a week over five months he masturbated in front of one little girl. He also said he had sexual contact with three others.
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While stationed at the South African facility, Osmun helped write grants, redesign a website and assist in the day-care center where he said he was left alone daily with the children for up to 30 minutes.
“From the time of his arrest, he has been remorseful and amazingly candid with respect to his conduct and extraordinary distraught about the wrongs visited on the children,” Meehan said.
Rev. Osmun, who was seated in the courtroom, declined to comment.
A month after Jesse Osmun’s arrest, his brother, Seth Timothy Osmun, 32, was arrested by police in Austin, Texas, for alleged possession of child pornography. The pornography include a man having sex with a girl who appeared to be around 9 years old. Details of Seth Timothy’s case were not immediately available.
Seth Timothy Osmun had worked in a day-care facility and as a substitute teacher in the Austin area.
Shortly after his arrest last summer, Jesse Osmun admitted abusing several young girls at the Umvoti AIDS Center in Greystone, South Africa. He left the facility just days after a teacher reportedly caught him in the pre-school toy room with three young girls on May 24, 2011. The teacher said Osmun could be heard zipping up his pants. Later, the teacher questioned the girls and a 5-year-old said Osmun provided candy to one of the girls for performing oral sex on him.
Special Agent Rod Khattabi, of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement division, traveled to South Africa and interviewed the girls with a Zulu interpreter.
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Special Agent Joyce Shores, of the Peace Corps’ Office of Inspector General, said Osmun admitted that two of the children engaged in oral sex with him. The agent also said Osmun “admitted to regular sexual contact with a (fourth) child who is approximately 5 years old … twice a week for approximately five months,” as well as with a fifth child.
Osmun resigned from the Peace Corps and returned to the U.S. on May 26, 2011 just two days after being discovered.
Kathy Buller, the Peace Corps’ Inspector General, said a background check was performed on Osmun, as is done on all volunteers, and nothing showed up.
“The only way we would know if someone exhibited these tendencies is if a history is uncovered during the background check,” she said.
Osmun’s website, which contains a section titled “Helping Non Profits Understand Africa,” states he spent a year in South Africa with a non-governmental organization working to develop HIV/AIDS programming. Prior to that, his website says he spent 10 months in Kenya working with orphans and older school children
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