MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — An investigation into a nanny charged with molesting a 10-year-old boy in Vermont is broadening after police discovered he may have looked for nanny and summer camp jobs in 12 other states.
Donald Shepherd, 23, who told police he lived in Fort Myers, Fla., sought work as a nanny across the country and could have had other victims, Vermont State Police Detective Benjamin Katz said Thursday.
“This guy is a sexual predator and he actively sought employment around young boys and girls, which makes this very scary,” said Katz, of the Northwest Unit for Special Investigations, which investigates sex crimes.
Shepherd also used a half dozen aliases on online nanny sites — Douglas Shepherd, Jonathan Shepherd, Jonathan Fields and Parker Wilder — making him hard to track, Katz said.
Shepherd was charged last week after he went to a Vermont hospital and told doctors he had suicidal thoughts caused by his contact with a boy in his care, according to court records. He told police he had cared for children and worked at camps in California, Florida, Michigan, Texas and New York but never had sexual contact with any other children in his care.
Shepherd, who does not have a criminal record, also could be charged with child pornography when police complete their examination of his computer and other electronic devices, Katz said. From the computer, police also expect to learn more about where he worked.
Katz said Shepherd may have sought work in the following 19 communities: San Diego, Calif.; Washington; Atlantic Beach, Jacksonville, and Orange Park, Fla.; Kingsland and Saint Marys, Ga.; Plainwell, Mich.; Elizabeth City, N.C.; Freehold, N.J.; New York City; Cincinnati, Springdale and Zanesville, Ohio; Pittsburgh; Galveston, Texas; Draper, Utah; and Oak Harbor and Coupeville, Wash.
Shepherd’s grandmother said Shepherd, when he was in high school, had told her he had feelings toward children, but she thought they would change.
“In a sense, I guess we all had it on our minds, but it was one of those things you pushed aside and hoped that it remains a ghost in the coffin,” said his grandmother, Lois Shepherd, of Fort Myers, Fla.
She said Shepherd was raised by his mother and had lived in Jacksonville, Fla., Georgia and Ohio.
A message left for Shepherd’s father was not immediately returned.
Shepherd advertised his services as a nanny on eNannysource.com. CEO Steve Lampert did not immediately return a phone call or e-mail message seeking comment.
Ernie Allen, president of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, warned parents to do their due diligence when hiring someone to care for their children. Seek background checks and interview candidates, he said.
“Generally, we know that the people who prey upon children seek easy and legitimate access to them,” he said. “Overwhelmingly, the people who are molesting our kids are not some evil stranger standing behind a tree. They’re people who try to be baby sitters or nannies or coaches.”


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