Jon Savarino Schillaci (born December 14, 1971) is a convicted sex offender and a former fugitive who was added to the FBI's Top Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list on September 7, 2007. Schillaci is the 488th fugitive to be placed on the list. He was captured on June 5, 2008 in San José de Gracia, Michoacán, Mexico after almost nine years on the run. On December 22, 2009 Schillaci was sentenced to 20 to 50 years in prison. He is currently incarcerated in Northern New Hampshire Correctional Facility and will be eligible parole in December 2019.
Schillaci was born in Oklahoma in 1971 and had been given up for adoption as an infant. Most of his childhood, which has been described as "turbulent", was spent in Texas. During his first prison term, Schillaci told officials he had been abused by a relative as a child. He attended Clements High School in Sugar Land, Texas from 1987 to 1988. Prior his arrest in 1989 he frequented the Neartown area of Houston.
Crimes and incarceration
In 1989, then 17-year-old Schillaci and a 20-year-old man were accused of having sex with two 11-year-old twin brothers. Schillaci and his friend befriended the brothers, who lived in an apartment with their single mother. They took the boys out for dinner and to screenings of The Rocky Horror Picture Show several times.
Later, they invited the boys to Schillaci's home, showed them a film of child pornography, then forced them to engage in sexual acts while he filmed them. After filming them, he sexually assaulted both of the boys. He was arrested days later on January 29, 1989, when he tried to sell the video to an adult bookstore for $500. He pleaded guilty to two counts of sex performed by a child and four counts of aggravated sexual assault and was convicted on April 26, 1990 and was sentenced to 10 years in prison. Schillaci has friends and family in Houston and Dallas, but never received any visitors in prison.
While incarcerated, Schillaci taught himself French and German; he was already fluent in Spanish. He completed a bachelor's degree and two master's degrees in humanities and literature. Additionally, Schillaci has educational background in behavioural sciences, computer science, drafting, philosophy, religion and politics. He has also been described as a computer savvy, an accomplished pianist, and an adequate guitarist.
Correspondence with the Deerfield family
Schillaci, who won first prize for poetry with his poem Americans in PEN American Center's prisoner writing contest in 1998, submitted his poems to a now-defunct New Hampshire literary magazine called The Fishwrapper, a quasi-underground student-run publication in University of New Hampshire. A Deerfield, New Hampshire family had a connection with the magazine and they started correspondence with Schillaci by mail. They developed a pen pal relationship, which lasted throughout his incarceration, over seven years.
He told family that he was rehabilitated and about his desire for a new beginning. He wrote eloquently about how he was studying in prison and referred to crimes he had committed as "mistakes of his youth". The family believed that Schillaci was sincere and wanted to gave him a place to stay after his release. Another reason for the family's trust was that Schillaci had gained acceptance to a Ph.D. program in Tufts University.
Schillaci was employed at Ted Herbert's Music Mart and Art Center in Manchester. He was a salesperson at the store where hundreds of children took music lessons. He also worked as a computer operator. He was studying at nearby college and he later enrolled to Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts, where he studied philosophy as a non-degree student in a graduate special student program for six weeks, until he fled sex crime charges.
Sex crime charges
In late October 1999, when Schillaci was returning from Tufts University, the couple's five-year-old son informed his parents that they "had a secret": Schillaci had sexually abused him. The family alerted authorities and police served Schillaci with a restraining order. Schillaci reported to work the next day and he fled in the afternoon, leaving behind his computer and car, which he abandoned near a bus station. He gave his car keys to a coworker and told him to get rid of his truck and everything inside of it.
After speaking with the boy, officials were able to determine he had been molested between three and seven times in a seven-week period Schillaci had stayed in Deerfield. During the assaults, Schillaci showed child pornography to the victim.
Schillaci was indicted on sexual assault charges on November 4, 1999 and a bench warrant was issued for his arrest a month later for failing to appear in court. The Boston field office of the FBI also issued a warrant for his arrest. In September 2000, Schillaci was also charged with 23 counts of possession of child pornography, when approximately 300 images of child pornography were found on the family's computer he used. According to authorities, those images contained "every type of sexual act imaginable".
Schillaci was seen boarding a Greyhound Lines bus and heading south. After crossing the Mexico – United States border illegally, he was seen in Rosarito, Baja California, Mexico in March 2000. Before U.S. Marshals could arrive, Schillaci had fled, leaving behind allegations of improper sexual relationships with children in the town. It was believed he was working in a pediatrician's office in 2000. Schillaci used several aliases including Jon Willis, Christopher Keegan and Cody Keegan.
Schillaci was placed on Oprah Winfrey's Child Predator Watch List and was profiled on the television program America's Most Wanted before he was added to the list of FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitives on September 7, 2007. He replaced another sexual predator, Richard Goldberg, who was captured on May 12, 2007. Schillaci is the first fugitive from New Hampshire to have been added to the list. The FBI offered a reward of up to $100,000 for information leading to Schillaci's capture.
Prior to his arrest, investigators determined that Schillaci was living in Guadalajara, Jalisco from approximately February 2003 until September 2006 under the alias Dylan Natchitoches Pierce. Later, he also used the alias Dylan Thomas (after the Welsh poet) while operating as a DJ for a internet radio show, The Dylan Thomas Show and being a webmaster of a website for "boylovers", men who discuss their sexual attraction to young boys. He is believed to have been in Mexico the entire time he was a fugitive, although he traveled within the country.
Internet watchdog group Wikisposure Project, which builds databases on pedophile activists, claims to have helped authorities after they discovered webmaster "Dylan Thomas"' real identity and Internet-connection address. FBI wouldn't comment on Wikisposure's role, citing its policy of not commenting on who provides information.
After being a fugitive for eight years, Schillaci was arrested in the town of San José de Gracia, Michoacán on June 5, 2008 without incident. When approached by the FBI and Mexican authorities, he confirmed his identity. He was living in what was described as an unkempt shack. Schillaci was briefly detained by Mexico and deported back to United States the next day. Schillaci was transported to Morelia, Mexico where he boarded Mexicana Airlines to the United States. Schillaci and his FBI escort landed at Chicago O'Hare International Airport. He was then transferred to an FBI aircraft and flown to Pease International Airport in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. He was then brought to the Rockingham County Courthouse for arraignment on his Rockingham County charges.
In county court, Judge Tina Nadeau ordered Schillaci held without bail and entered not-guilty pleas for him until he got a lawyer. He requested a public defender. Schillaci awaited his trial in Rockingham County Jail and faced a possible life sentence because of his prior convictions. His trial was scheduled for early 2010.
Plea bargain and conviction
Schillaci decided to plead guilty after prosecutors had notified a judge they would seek an enhanced sentence against Schillaci that could keep him in prison for the rest of his life.
On December 22, 2009, Jon Schillaci pled guilty to and was sentenced to 20 to 50 years in state prison after pleading guilty to one count of aggravated felonious sexual assault and 23 counts of possession of child pornography. According to prosecutors, they agreed to make a plea agreement because Schillaci's victim (now aged 15) was unwilling to testify and wanted to maintain his anonymity. After Schillaci was apprehended, his computer, which had reams of child pornography on its hard drive, led the FBI into an expansive probe of seeking child victims in the United States. Schillaci cooperated with federal authorities, turning over information on fellow pedophiles, and officials said that information has led to at least one other child being rescued from an abusive situation, and one person has been federally indicted as a result of that investigation.
Schillaci was incarcerated in New Hampshire State Prison for Men, but he was transferred to Northern New Hampshire Correctional Facility. He will be eligible for parole in December 2019. In order to be considered for parole, he would have to undergo a battery of sex offender treatment and other required programs. If Schillaci is ever released, he will also be on parole for life, and has to register as a sex offender for life.
- "TOP TEN CAPTURE - Most Wanted Fugitive Found in Mexico". Federal Bureau of Investigation. June 6, 2008. http://www.fbi.gov/page2/june08/topten_060608.html. Retrieved December 25, 2009.
- Kimble, James A. (December 22, 2009). "Former FBI 'Most Wanted' fugitive sentenced". Manchester, New Hampshire: New Hampshire Union Leader. http://www.unionleader.com/article.aspx?headline=Former+FBI+%27Most+Wanted%27+fugitive+sentenced&articleId=fc826656-4270-420a-89d7-9dad3b3e8b5f. Retrieved December 25, 2009.
- "Inmate Locator". New Hampshire Department of Corrections. http://www4.egov.nh.gov/Inmate_Locator/. Retrieved January 27, 2010.
- Spiner, Trent (September 8, 2007). "Deerfield case lands man on FBI list". Concord, New Hampshire: Concord Monitor. http://www.unionleader.com/article.aspx?headline=Deerfield+case+lands+man+on+FBI+list&articleId=44347b1f-0a51-4a18-94ce-a8cf5521f846. Retrieved December 25, 2009.
- Underwood, Melissa (January 21, 2008). "Jon Savarino Schillaci Wanted for Sexual Assault of 5-Year-Old Boy". New York City: Fox News. http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,324268,00.html. Retrieved December 25, 2009.
- Farrell, Joelle (September 8, 2007). "N.H. fugitive placed on most-wanted list". Concord, New Hampshire: Concord Monitor. http://www.concordmonitor.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070908/FRONTPAGE/709080351. Retrieved December 25, 2009.
- "Predator's history began in Houston". Houston, Texas: Houston Chronicle. July 9, 2008. http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/front/5851186.html. Retrieved July 9, 2008.[dead link]
- Collins, Rachel M. (October 30, 1999). "N.H. fugitive placed on most-wanted list". Portsmouth, New Hampshire: The Portsmouth Herald. http://archive.seacoastonline.com/1999news/10_30d.htm. Retrieved December 25, 2009.
- "Jon Schillaci's entry on New Hampshire Sex Offender Registry". Division of State Police, New Hampshire Department of Safety. http://www.egov.nh.gov/nsor/display.asp?offenderID=1879. Retrieved May 10, 2008.[dead link]
- "Rockingham County Sheriff's Office - Wanted Persons List". Rockingham County Sheriff's Department. April 18, 2008. http://web.archive.org/web/20071104023154/www.rockso.org/wanted.htm. Retrieved December 25, 2009.
- "PEN American Center - 1998-1999". PEN American Center. http://www.pen.org/page.php/prmID/558. Retrieved December 25, 2009.
- Russonello, Giovanni (September 14, 2007). "Former Tufts student appears on FBI's America's Most Wanted list". Medford, Massachusetts: The Tufts Daily. http://www.tuftsdaily.com/2.5511/former-tufts-student-appears-on-fbi-s-america-s-most-wanted-list-1.590811. Retrieved December 25, 2009.
- "Schillaci sentenced to 20 to 50 years for sex assault, child porn". Portsmouth, New Hampshire: Sea Coast Online. December 22, 2009. http://www.seacoastonline.com/articles/20091222-NEWS-912229970. Retrieved December 25, 2009.
- Murphy, Shelley (September 8, 2007). "N.H. fugitive makes 10 Most Wanted list Inclusion reflects FBI's increased focus on child predators". Boston, Massachusetts: The Boston Globe. http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2007/09/08/nh_fugitive_makes_10_most_wanted_list/?page=2. Retrieved December 25, 2009.
- "AMW.com Jon Schillaci - Fugitive". America's Most Wanted. http://www.amw.com/fugitives/case.cfm?id=45527. Retrieved December 25, 2009.
- "Man Accused Of Assault In Deerfield Placed On FBI Wanted List". Concord, New Hampshire: WMUR 9. December 16, 2005. http://www.wmur.com/news/5553129/detail.html. Retrieved December 25, 2009.
- "FBI TEN MOST WANTED FUGITIVE ARRESTED IN MEXICO". Federal Bureau of Investigation - Boston Field Office. Archived from the original on October 3, 2008. http://web.archive.org/20081003085513/boston.fbi.gov/pressrel/2008/fugitivearrest060608.htm. Retrieved March 5, 2009.[dead link][dead link]
- Spiner, Trent (June 7, 2008). "The FBI gets its man". Concord, New Hampshire: Concord Monitor. http://www.unionleader.com/article.aspx?headline=The+FBI+gets+its+man&articleId=2e7f44b5-0f1a-4590-8441-a15e390ce531. Retrieved December 25, 2009.
- Schiller, Dane (June 24, 2008). "Web watchdog group helped locate predator". Houston, Texas: Houston Chronicle. http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/metropolitan/5854704.html. Retrieved December 25, 2009.
- "Dylan Thomas - Wikisposure". Wikisposure. http://www.wikisposure.com/Dylan_Thomas. Retrieved December 25, 2009.
- Underwood, Melissa (July 15, 2008). "Pedophile Jon Savarino Schillaci Back Behind Bars". New York City: Fox News. http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,377962,00.html. Retrieved December 25, 2009.
- Spiner, Trent (September 28, 2009). "Prosecutors: Clock ticking on porn case". Concord, New Hampshire: Concord Monitor. http://www.unionleader.com/article.aspx?headline=Prosecutors%3a+Clock+ticking+on+porn+case&articleId=1616fcff-ae7e-4aa7-983e-bd520093157b. Retrieved December 25, 2009.
- Kimble, James A. (November 3, 2009). "Serial pedophile makes plea deal in child molestation case". Concord, New Hampshire: Concord Monitor. http://www.unionleader.com/article.aspx?headline=Serial+pedophile+makes+plea+deal+in+child+molestation+case&articleId=267430e8-cad5-47cb-b177-67341b36ccd5. Retrieved December 25, 2009.
- "Man Sentenced For Assaulting Boy 10 Years Ago". Brentwood, New Hampshire: WMUR 9. December 22, 2009. http://www.wmur.com/news/22035691/detail.html. Retrieved December 25, 2009.
|40x40px||Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Jon Schillaci|