PARIS – A suspected pedophile being hunted by Interpol is believed by police to have contributed to an online forum for teachers, writing under a pseudonym about the risks of catching HIV from oral sex and how to erase pornographic computer files "so no one will see."
Two teachers who knew and socialized with him told The Associated Press that the online pseudonym "Peter Jackson" belonged to Christopher Paul Neil, a 32-year-old Canadian schoolteacher now being sought for allegedly abusing young boys.
The worldwide manhunt for Neil is now centered on Thailand. Authorities say he flew into Bangkok on Thursday on a one-way ticket and is still at large. In Canada, his brother urged him to turn himself in.
Before he disappeared, more than 300 messages under the name Peter Jackson were posted on a forum for English teachers called Dave's ESL Cafe. The posts are a window into the mind of a man who comes off as dedicated to teaching, well-traveled and well-spoken — but with a sophomoric sense of humor. Sex is a recurring theme, though he never mentions an attraction to children.
"Jackson" complained about condoms in South Korea, talked about a nurse who bathed him in a Thai hospital and described rebuffing a man who hit on him in a sauna. He discussed how to delay or skirt police background checks needed for some teaching jobs.
He also wrote that he was "SO nervous" on his first trip to South Korea, where he taught English, because he had a couple of Penthouse magazines in his bag.
"I ended up tossing them in the bin at the airport washroom," he wrote in the posting on May 18.
In the same posting, part of an online discussion with several people about pornography, he also wrote: "If you're worried about any 'content' there are several ways to encrypt your drive."
"If you want to get rid of old files so no one will see, then simply deleting them will not work," he added.
A lead officer working the case also said investigators strongly suspect that postings by "Jackson" were Neil's, and have told police in Southeast Asia about the possible pseudonym. The investigator spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the case.
Neighboring Southeast Asian countries have placed border guards on alert, and Neil's arrival at Bangkok's international airport was caught on camera at the immigration counter.
That photo, released by Interpol, shows a man with a cleanly shaved head and eyeglasses dressed in a white button-down shirt. Authorities believe it is the same man whose digitally blurred image had appeared in about 200 Internet photos that allegedly showed him sexually abusing young Vietnamese and Cambodian boys.
Kim Scanlan of the Toronto police child exploitation unit said Neil will be extradited to Canada once he is arrested.
"The paperwork has been put place for that to happen," Scanlan said. "When he's located, he'll be returned to Canada. We have travel and sex offender offenses so he'll be prosecuted in Canada."
Matthew Neil, his younger brother, said the family hopes he will turn himself in.
"My mother is devastated and the family is in shock," he said from the family home in Maple Ridge, British Columbia.
Interpol issued an unprecedented global appeal for help in identifying and tracing the suspect on Oct. 8 after their own efforts to track him down failed.
Investigators had been hunting for the man for three years, since German police discovered online photographs of him allegedly abusing underage boys. He was allegedly shown sexually abusing 12 Vietnamese and Cambodian boys, apparently as young as 6.
The man's face was initially disguised behind a digitalized swirl but German police unblurred the images of him and released four reconstructed photos last week.
On Monday, after receiving hundreds of tips, Interpol announced it had identified the suspect. Thai and Cambodian police revealed the man's age, name and nationality, saying their information came from Interpol.
Amy Bowler, a Canadian teacher who socialized with Neil when he lived in the South Korean city of Yongin, said she contacted Interpol after seeing its photos, as did two other acquaintances. Neil often went out with her circle of expatriates, and he loved to sing karaoke, she said. None of her friends suspected anything sinister about him, she said.
"He had a number of close friends. He came out regularly for drinks. He was certainly not a pariah," Bowler said in a telephone interview.
Bowler described him as "a little awkward. ... I think he was outgoing, but he wasn't very smooth," she said.
Another teacher, Kia Pearson, said he taught with Neil at the Kwangju Foreign School in the city of Gwangju. Neil went there in August to work, and the two communicated online before he arrived.
"When he got here, he said, 'Hi, here I am, I'm Peter Jackson,' I distinctly remember him telling me he was Peter Jackson," Pearson said.
Pearson said he recognized Neil in one of the Interpol photos. After those photos were released, Neil did not show up for class on Thursday.
"Jackson" has not made any posts since disappearing. In one past online message, he said he liked having cameras in the classroom: "If a student or parent makes an accusation of some sort, it is extremely easy to prove or disprove if the lesson is on film," he wrote. "Think of it as safety."
He also posted original poems, including one called "Shelter me," from the point of view of a Bangkok street child. The narrator asks for protection from "the hookers and the trannies ... from my mommy, and the pimps."