2009 Jun 29: Boskatt sentenced for forgery and theft from exchange student

Article written by Tasha Kates in 2006 about a town that takes responsibility for a host-mother’s theft and forgery of exchange student’s money. It shows just how very important it is for outsiders to keep an eye on exchange students while they stay with their host-families.

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

… Nigina Khamidova’s … an exchange student from Tashkent, Uzbekistan, … a victim of forgery and petit larceny at the hands of her host mother. … Ranelle Boskat … took a plea deal last week. …

Boskat was charged May 31 with two counts each of second-degree forgery and petit larceny. … The stolen checks came to light after one day when Khamidova was stranded at Lockport High School for five hours. The student said it wasn’t unusual for her to have trouble getting to and from school; Khamidova and the Boskats moved to North Tonawanda during the school year and she had to be driven to school each day. … After a call from Boskat, Champagne dropped by and got Khamidova that night. The neighbor learned that Khamidova had not seen any of the local sights during her months-long stay with the Boskats. … A few days later, she spoke to AYUSA and Khamidova came to live with her. She later revealed that she had only seen one of her pocket money checks during her entire time in the United States. … She was reportedly told that the checks never came. Without a contact number for a student exchange group or for the Uzbekistan embassy, Khamidova wasn’t sure who to tell about the checks. … After some prodding by Champagne, the exchange group sent a check for more than $900 to cover the money taken by Boskat.

Things have been looking up for Khamidova ever since. She and Champagne’s family have spent time trying different foods, shopping for clothes and presents for her family and visiting the county’s sites. Khamidova went to the prom with friends last week and went through a graduation ceremony with her fellow seniors. …

Read the entire article at Lockport Journal

2006 Jul 15: Host-mother gets away with theft and inappropriate behavior

Neither PAX nor the US State Department took responsibility for their failure in taking care of , from Ghana.

The Reporter

By Julie Kay//Staff Writer | Posted: 11/06/06, 12:01 AM PST

The 30-year-old Vacaville woman investigated on suspicion of stealing money from and behaving inappropriately with an exchange student she hosted last fall will not be charged with any crime, according to the Solano County District Attorney’s Office.

… the New York-based PAX will likely avoid penalty. … The young man spent last year as a student at Vacaville High School. He excelled in his classes and played on the school’s soccer team.

His first few weeks were tough. PAX originally placed the then-17-year-old in a Trower neighborhood home Rotary Club members describe as “dilapidated.” Within weeks, the young man told a teammate and a school counselor that his host mother there had stolen his money.

In October, the young man moved to the home of Michelle Dickey, who had volunteered to take him in. The Rotary Club also “adopted” him, taking him sightseeing and providing him a monthly stipend. … Dickey discovered inappropriate e-mails on her computer from the first host mother to the young man. She confronted the student, who … agreed to go to police to report the alleged theft and inappropriate behavior … officers videotaped interviews with the young man, Dickey, and the first host mother, obtained copies of bank records, and confiscated the original host mother’s computer for evidence. Officers made multiple unsuccessful attempts to locate the host mother again, they said. They eventually handed the case over to the district attorney for further investigation. Last month, district attorney officials said they had closed the case, lacking sufficient evidence to prosecute it. …

PAX President Libby Cryer … admitted this week she knew about the e-mails to the young man from the first host mother, but defended her decision not to report them to the State Department, despite federal law which requires the reporting of questionable behavior on the part of host family members.

“PAX staff, both the community representative and senior staff in the national office, spoke personally with [the exchange student] to confirm that he did not wish to pursue this matter,” she replied in an e-mail to Reporter staff last week.

… The law states clearly that all inappropriate behavior on the part of any host family member must be reported to the State Department, regardless of whether the student asks for it to be reported or not.

Read the entire article at The Reporter

2001 Jan 13: Gault convicted of sexual abuse

Robert Gault was sentenced for sexually abusing a foreign exchange student in what was clearly a repeat action. Another former exchange student also told her story of sexual abuse. Has this happened to even more of the 12 exchange students who had lived with Robert Gault’s family? Support for the perpetrator is common in sexual abuse cases.

The Chicago Tribune

By Art Barnum | 2001 January 13

A former Wayne village trustee convicted of sexually abusing a foreign exchange student was sentenced … after a second student testified that she also had been abused by the official.

Robert Gault, 58, also received 36 months’ probation … the 17-year-old girl testified that when she sat at a family computer, Gault sat behind her and inappropriately touched and rubbed her.

Gault … claimed they were “innocent accidental brushes.” … DuPage prosecutors questioned a Finnish foreign exchange student who had stayed at the Gault home about five years ago. …

She testified that one evening while she was watching television, Gault sat next to her, rubbed her back and started kissing her neck and placed his hand under her bra. … Gault’s defense attorney, placed six of Gault’s friends on the witness stand to testify to his “good character,” … about 40 letters of support for Gault from neighbors and friends were given to Judge George Bakalis.

Read the entire article at Chicago Tribune


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