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'Most wanted' pedophile suspect arrested

BANGKOK, Thailand (CNN) -- Erik Franklin Rosser, an admitted American pedophile and one of the FBI's Ten Most Wanted fugitives, was arrested in Bangkok Tuesday.

He has been charged with child sex crimes in the United States and Thailand.

Rosser, a 49-year-old professional jazz and concert pianist, was arrested in the Thai capital by FBI agents and the Royal Thai police acting on a tip from a U.S. television show and was in Thai custody.

He once played keyboard for rock musician John Mellencamp but has lived in Thailand for years. Asia
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Officers surrounded Rosser as he was walking into a school where he was enrolled to learn how to teach English.

The FBI and Thai police late Tuesday served a searched warrant on Rosser's home in Bangkok.

TV show leads to arrest

The arrest came after Rosser was featured on the television show "America's Most Wanted" which resulted in leads from 53 countries, a U.S. Embassy spokeswoman said.

It is the second time in less than a week the show has led to an arrest of a suspect wanted by the FBI after U.S. police captured a teenager, accused of murder, in a Nevada hotel-casino.

The FBI Web site said Rosser "is being sought in the United States in connection with the international production, distribution and exchange of child pornography between Bloomington, Ind., and Bangkok.

He is also wanted for his alleged molestation of a number of young girls in Thailand."

Rosser jumped bail

He was originally arrested in Bangkok on February 2000 on charges of lewd behavior and possession of pornographic materials.

Rosser jumped bail

Police had raided his apartment and found hundreds of explicit photographs and videos of girls who appeared to be younger than age 15.

He jumped bail two months later -- before his trial had been due to take place -- and was believed to have fled Thailand, according to Thai authorities.

While on the run from Thai authorities, Rosser supposedly was in several European countries -- including the Netherlands, Britain and France.

He often traveled back to Thailand on a false passport, Thai authorities said.

In March 2000, he was indicted by a federal grand jury in Indianapolis on six counts of producing child pornography.

He was charged with the production, distribution, receipt and transportation of child pornography.

Rosser was also charged with conspiracy to transport, ship, distribute and receive child pornography.

According to an April FBI press release Rosser has been "wanted for his alleged involvement in numerous offenses, including the production of a videotape in Thailand which depicts sexually explicit conduct between himself and an 11-year-old female.

"Rosser later distributed that videotape to a Bloomington, Ind., resident.

He also allegedly conspired to transport, distribute and receive videotapes, photographs and magazines containing child pornography involving female children between the ages of 9 and 11 years," the FBI said.

"Some of these photographs and visual depictions were placed on the Internet as a direct result of being smuggled, allegedly by Rosser, from the United States to Thailand."

$50,000 reward offered

The FBI was offering a reward of up to $50,000 for information leading directly to Rosser's arrest, describing him as an admitted child molester who may have suicidal tendencies.

The FBI Web site listed this description of Rosser: "Rosser is an admitted child molester who may have suicidal tendencies. He wears prescription glasses and is completely bald on the top of his head. He may have shaved his head and grown a goatee. He may have a pierced left ear.

"Rosser was last known to be traveling through Europe on an 'Apollo' brand red moped with a piano attached to it. Rosser has an aptitude for languages and may speak some French, German, Spanish and Thai." The FBI did not describe the piano or how it was attached to the moped.

Rosser had worked as a pianist at Bangkok's luxury Oriental Hotel and ran a music school at his home where he gave lessons to children from prominent families.

-- CNN's Tom Mintier and Kirsty Alfredson contributed to this report


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