William George Barney

At the start of Oprah's 20th season, we launched Oprah's Child Predator Watch List, challenging viewers to catch some of America's most wanted fugitives—men charged with heinous sex crimes against children. Within just 40 hours, viewers helped the FBI capture two of them. The following month, a third fugitive was captured...and now we've caught another!

Former scout leader William George Barney is a repeat offender charged with crimes dating back to 1988. After being charged with sexually abusing six young boys in California, Barney pled guilty to one count of lewd and lascivious conduct with a child and served less than 12 months in jail. A few years later, Barney moved to Las Vegas where he allegedly seduced his next young victim. The child said Barney molested him as many as three times a day for six years. When the boy finally told police his terrible secret, Barney vanished before Nevada authorities could question him.

William George Barney's life on the lam recently came to an unexpected halt after one of his friends discovered his identity.
Taken into custody

Roberto Sanchez, a resident of Ensenada, Mexico, was at an Internet cafe when he happened to come upon a familiar face online, a man he knew as "Bill." Roberto says he met Bill Barney two years ago and they grew close. Roberto saw his American friend several times a week, but Barney revealed little about his past.

"He [seemed] like a normal guy," Roberto says. "Like [any] retired guy in Ensenada."

Roberto says Barney mostly kept to himself, but some of his friend's behavior struck him as strange—especially the fact, he says, that Barney had young men over to his house in the evenings.

As soon as Roberto realized Barney's true identity, he contacted the FBI, who, in turn, contacted Mexican authorities. Within 48 hours, Barney was captured. After five years on the lam, Barney was returned to the United States to stand trial.

Jan Caldwell, a Special Agent with the FBI, thanks Oprah viewers for Barney's capture. "This is a man that very well might have gone underneath the radar for the rest of his life," she says, "and we have him off the streets. Children are safe now."
Roberto Sanchez

Now Oprah gets to keep her promise! Roberto Sanchez, the man responsible for bringing William George Barney to justice, tears up when Oprah announces his $100,000 reward. "What a gift you've given to the children of Mexico," she tells Roberto. "We're all very grateful to you."

Barney has been charged with three counts of lewdness with a minor. After pleading guilty, he was sentenced to 18 years in jail, but could be released after just six.