Teacher accused of abusing boys in Africa; Charges: Winona man admitted to sexual abuse in 2012 interview

Published 10:26 am Thursday, October 1, 2015

ST. PAUL — A teacher from Minnesota is charged with having sex with young boys while teaching in Africa.

Thomas R. Page, 50, of Winona, was charged Tuesday in U.S. District Court in St. Paul with illicit sexual conduct while overseas, the Star Tribune reported.

Page was arrested the same day at the Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta and appeared in federal court in Georgia. Online court records do not list a defense attorney who could speak on Page’s behalf.

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According to the charging document, Page admitted to having sex with two boys in Cameroon during a 2012 interview with U.S. investigators.

For the past 25 years, Page has taught in Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burkina Faso, Mali, Sudan and Togo, the criminal complaint said. He taught science and math in schools that catered to Western students. He would return to Winona, in southeastern Minnesota, for summer break and vacations.

From 2007 to 2011, Page taught at the American School of Yaounde in Cameroon and then in 2011-12 at the British School Lome in Togo. In June 2012, U.S. Homeland Security began investigating Page and learned that he was charged in Cameroon with sexually assaulting boys while teaching there.

In July 2012, Page was arrested in Lome, Togo, on suspicion of abusing boys. Homeland Security agents interviewed him at the police station, and he initially denied all allegations.

Page said he knew children from the beach and some would visit his house, sometimes staying overnight. He said he would swim with them and have the boys sit on his lap. He added that he would buy the boys food and give them money for taxi rides home, and once paid a boy’s school fees.

When Homeland Security agents mentioned charges against him in Cameroon, Page admitted to having oral sex with two boys. He said he gave money to one boy and to the other boy’s mother.