South Hero, Vermont - June 18, 2009
Disturbing new details have come to light in the nanny sex abuse case in the Champlain Islands. Police say the case could go federal and that the nanny's name is not what they originally thought.
Wednesday the accused was identified as Douglas Shepherd. Thursday police said his name is DONALD Shepherd. The suspect has numerous aliases and we've confirmed M More..ore.. through his grandmother in Florida that his name is in fact Donald and that his attraction to kids has been going on for years. He's known on the internet as a pedophile activist.
"The suspect is an admitted pedophile," Vt. State Police Det. Ben Katz said.
Police say Donald Shepherd, 23, owned up to his attraction and sexual abuse of a 10-year-old boy in his care.
Shepherd was hired to be the nanny of three kids in Grand Isle County. The kids' mother found Shepherd through the online nanny service eNannySource.com.
"The fact that he was actively seeking young children is what's most disturbing about this," Katz said.
And what else is disturbing is that Shepherd, who goes by several aliases, including Douglas, Jon, and Parker Wilder, worked at similar jobs across the country, including boys' summer camps.
He was also approved to be a substitute teacher in Grand Isle County. That has outraged some parents.
"It's a horrifying thought that in this day and age that with all we know that the information sources and agencies involved that this could happen," said Darla Clain, a mother of students.
Grand Isle County School Superintendent Richard Taylor says Shepherd never actually worked in any classrooms in Grand Isle County because no one knew him. He did, however, visit the community library attached to the Folsom School. Taylor said he was never alone with students.
"As soon as these allegations came to light I advised all schools to have that name removed from the sub teachers list," Taylor said.
Shepherd passed a criminal background check as Donald Shepherd. His name and fingerprints turned up nothing. That's why he was added to the substitute teaching list.
"His report when it came back gave no indication that he had a record in Vermont or the country or FBI records at all," Taylor said.
Police say that does not mean he hasn't abused before. He may never have been caught. And he's young-- just 23-- so if he abused kids when he was a juvenile, that wouldn't show up on his record.
But WCAX News found online blogs and websites from around the U.S. warning people about Shepherd, calling him a well-known online pedophile activist pushing for changes to age of consent laws.
Police say the blogs and Shepherd's personal electronics are now being analyzed. Shepherd admitted they contain child porn-- a lot of it.
"There's a high likelihood this will turn into a Federal case," Katz said.
His grandmother in Florida, where Shepherd is from, confirmed his name is Donald Jonathan Shepherd. She would not go on camera and did not want her name used, but she said her grandson has always been fascinated by children.
"He did have a tendency toward little girls," she said. "We tried to steer him away. We hoped he was straightening up but we knew in our hearts."
Police say it could take months but Shepherd will likely face child porn charges too. Right now he faces a long list of other charges, including aggravated sexual assault on a child. He's in jail tonight. Background checks and finger printing continue with all of his aliases to see if Shepherd has a criminal past. And police are trying to find out if he has other victims.
Darren Perron - WCAX News
Tags: nanny, accused, child, molester, sex abuse, internet, pedophile, activist
Location: South Hero, Vermont, United States (load item map)
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