Accused Child Molesters Caught
To make her dream become a reality, The Oprah Winfrey Show launched Oprah's Child Predator Watch List to show the world faces of fugitives accused of sex offenses against children. "I plan to work with law enforcement officials, and if they tell me that one of you turned in one of these fugitives that we are exposing today, and that information leads to the capture and arrest of one of these men, I will personally give a $100,000 cash reward."
"I am gratified to announce," Oprah says, "that in just 48 hours, two of those wanted men were captured!"
Soon after confirming Mark's true identity, Karie went back to her duplex, where she crossed paths with Davis. "I had his picture folded up that I had printed off the website in my pocket. As I was walking up the steps [of the duplex], he's coming out his door." Karie, afraid Davis would sense her fear, tried to maintain her composure and didn't object when Davis followed her inside her home for a meal of macaroni and cheese. Davis had no idea FBI agents were on their way to make the arrest.
Davis continued a pattern of befriending mothers with young children. Kids knew him as "the rubber band man" for his ability to make toys out of rubber bands—toys prosecutors say he used to lure his victims.
Last year, children started coming forward. Three boys claimed he had molested them, one said he had been raped repeatedly. Once Davis learned police were looking for him, he fled to Fargo, North Dakota. He shaved his head and began using an alias—his brother's name, Mark. And, like so many others, he failed to register as a sex offender. The families Davis befriended had no knowledge of his sinister past.
Karie's 11-year-old daughter, Kassie, says Davis gave her a weird feeling. Once, when Davis went shopping with the family, Karie remembers, "he got down on his knees in this bin of little girls' underwear. He held [a pair of underwear] up to Kassie. He said, 'Looks like those would fit.'" "I looked at my mom," Kassie remembers, "And I was, like, 'Mom, get me away from him!'"
Larry also found Davis a little too close to his children for comfort. "My kids were swimming in the pool, just a little kids' pool," he remembers, "and I looked out the kitchen window and he was sitting in my pool with my boy on his lap. I thought it was strange and I made my boy get off his lap."
"These guys are good at their job," Oprah says, "and their job is to fool you into thinking that they are nice people. There are thousands of people right now who are listening to you and they've had that little feeling [of suspicion]. Child molesters don't deserve the benefit of your doubt."
If you feel any unease about someone around your children, Karie says, "Listen to it!"
Jeanne says she was scared to make the call, fearing that she would accuse an innocent man. "I [didn't] want to send the FBI to somebody's house if they're not [a suspect]," she says. "But I just had to take the chance, and I wish more people would take the chance."
"This is why I say you were so courageous," Oprah says, "You know what courage is? It's being scared but doing it anyway."
Presenting a $50,000 check to each woman, Oprah says, "I am doing this for parents across America. This is the best money I ever spent."
Machelle met Davis when she was a volunteer at the Youth Service Bureau crisis line. Davis also worked at shelters and food banks in their community, and Machelle, who was a single mother struggling to get by, trusted Bill with her children, including her two mentally delayed sons.
Soon after meeting Machelle, Bill offered to help her around the house and began taking her sons fishing, on bike rides and on walks. Machelle was thankful for the break…until she says she began noticing changes in her 12-year-old son's behavior.
She claims that her son became withdrawn, depressed and stopped eating or playing with his friends. Eventually, Machelle says her son broke down and told her that Bill had molested him. A police investigation revealed that Bill had allegedly molested Machelle's 12-year-old and 7-year-old son. The abuse allegedly occurred in Bill's RV—and even in Machelle's own bedroom.
Before Bill could stand trial, he fled Indiana. "My one wish was that he would be caught," Sharrie, the grandmother of the two young boys, says. "And I prayed every day that he would."
"If it wasn't for you two, he wouldn't have been captured," Sharrie says to Jeanne and Karie. "We thank you."
After six hours of deliberation, the jury found William C. Davis guilty on three counts of child molesting—and sentenced to 52 years in prison. Davis is facing more child molestation charges in a neighboring county.
The night The Oprah Winfrey Show aired a photograph of Niles Scott, Thelma's friend Patricia says she felt a chill go through her. She immediately contacted Thelma. "I was fearing for my friend's life," Patricia says. "Mr. Scott is her friend, and she has a little girl."
"It was hard for me to believe," Thelma says, "because he was nice to me." The two women knew they had to act fast and contact the police with Scott's address and information on his daily routine. Just a few hours later, Scott was captured at his home.
Niles Scott, a former Naval reservist, was going by the alias "James Berry" and making his living driving taxicabs. His home was only steps from the United States Embassy—where American agents hunting fugitives are based.
"We considered Mr. Scott a dangerous fugitive," Scott Wilson, an FBI special agent, says. "He was wanted for rape and kidnapping and for unlawful flight to avoid prosecution."
"I [felt like I] had died right then and there," says Sheila, who was with Scott for 30 years. "No child should experience anything like that."
After learning of the accusations, Sheila called police. Then she had to break the shocking news to their sons. "Telling my sons was the most difficult thing a parent would ever have to do. They grew up protecting this little girl and for them to find out something like that, oh, my God, the devastation," she says. "He was [their] dad. Dads don't do things like that."
Scott was arrested on four counts of rape and four counts of kidnapping. Without Sheila's knowledge, Scott put their house up for bond and posted his $10,000 bail. Then on the day of his trial, Scott vanished. "The system failed by leaving him out on such a low bond," Joseph Marche, a detective on the Scott case, says.
"When he fled, we lost our home. I lost my retirement. I lost my lifestyle. The kids lost their dad," says Sheila. "It's been hell."
"I feel very gratified that everybody has responded so beautifully and that we caught three. But really, this is just the beginning … I know that this is what I'm supposed to do in my life.
This is a full circle moment for me. For me to have been raped at 9 years old … this is so big and so gratifying that I now get to put people behind bars who did to me what they've been doing to other children. This is it. And so I am going to spend my own resources, and I am going to work with law enforcement, and I'm going to change, with your help, the laws in this country state by state by state by state.
We are not going to be a country that talks the talk about how we care about children, and then we let these people back out on the street. It's Joseph Duncan all over again. We have got to let Shasta Groene and all the others be the last children. Let their lives not have been in vain. Let's stand up, and change the laws."