CHICAGO

Dennis Catron, Fugitive Schools Chief, In Custody For Sex Abuse After 19 Years On The Lam

07/27/2011 11:19 am ET | Updated Sep 26, 2011

In 1994, Dennis Catron, the superintendent of the Ludlow, Illinois schools, was tried for sexually abusing a 13-year-old boy. He was convicted in Vermillion County Court and sentenced to 36 years in prison.

There was one unusual fact about the trial, though: Catron wasn't there. He had jumped bail two years earlier, and was being tried in absentia.

Nineteen years after his flight, authorities have arrested Catron -- in Thailand, where he has apparently been living for the last two decades. According to a report in the Thai paper The Nation, he had been living in a condominium in the northern suburbs of Bangkok, in the Chon Buri province. The arrest was the result of cooperation between Thai police and U.S. Marshals.

Those authorities returned the convicted sex abuser to central Illinois to serve his time. The Associated Press reports that he will have a local hearing to raise any issues about his conviction, but barring any compelling legal evidence, he'll begin serving his sentence soon.

Catron had served as the principal of Maple and Honeywell grade schools in Hoopeston, Illinois, according to the Danville Commercial-News, before serving a turn as the superintendent in Ludlow.

He jumped bail for the first time in 1991, when he was facing two charges of sexual abuse, one relating to the 13-year-old and one to a six-year-old boy. He was later acquitted of the second charge.

Catron disappeared for over a year, until he turned himself in to authorities in July of 1992, according to the Champaign News-Gazette. Not long after that, on August 19 of that year, he posted bail again, and wasn't seen again until his arrest three weeks ago.

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