A few bad men: Where are they?
It's been many months since school shootings splashed headlines across the front pages of major newspapers, but in place of such horrors has come another terrifying– if less visible– crime trend: pedophilia.
Tales of priests victimizing innocent members of their flock have vied for headlines with a flurry of stunningly brazen kidnappings. Perpetrators have sneaked into homes to steal sleeping children from their beds, or have ripped them screaming in broad daylight from their own front yards.
While the Charlottesville area has not suffered any child murders in recent times, it has not been immune to crimes against children. Two men, now fugitives, have left indelible marks on a group of young men and their families in our community.
Can law enforcement bring Frederick Stiles Wanamaker and Gregory A. Moyer to justice?
Alleged Yogaville child molester still on lam
BY LISA PROVENCE
Frederick Stiles Wanamaker admired the writings of Carlos Castenada, the father of new age mysticism. In particular, according to a former friend, he espoused Castenada's teaching that a warrior must be impeccable in all aspects of life.
Wanamaker moved to Buckingham County from California in 1984 to be near the spiritual community of Yogaville. To avoid the appearance of improper behavior in front of kids, he told a female friend, he wouldn't take her on camping trips alone. But over the course of a dozen years, in his tent at night, he allegedly raped three of that friend's four sons on those trips.
In 1999, Wanamaker fled before he could be arrested on 21 counts of felony molestation involving five boys between the ages of 7 and 14. Authorities concede that Wanamaker, 55, a former ship's captain, could be anywhere in the world.
His former friend and the mother of three of the molested boys, whose name is being withheld to protect their identities, remembers the day in the mid-'80s when Wanamaker pulled into Yogaville in his fancy conversion van. He said he wanted to buy land near a spiritual community, and during the time when he wasn't captaining a cargo ship, he wanted to work with kids in the Boy Scouts.
"Polished" is a word she uses several times to describe Wanamaker, who soon became a part of the Yogaville community. He bought property across the road from the compound, built a house, and worked on becoming friends with young boys.
"He had a computer when they first came out," recalls the mother. "He befriended my son and another boy when they were 8 or 9 and taught them how to use it." Wanamaker found out what the boys liked and took them biking, surfing, and boogie-boarding.
The mother, a health professional, never felt uneasy around Wanamaker. They became friends and often had lunch and discussed spiritual matters. She invited him over for dinner.
When he offered to take her son and a friend camping at Cape Hatteras, she had no qualms at all about entrusting her child to Wanamaker, whom she'd already known for two years at that point and who seemed a mentor to her sons. She'd been on camping trips with him and his parents, who lived at the beach, and her sons thought of them as surrogate grandparents.
When her oldest son reached 13 or 14 and didn't want to go camping with Wanamaker anymore, the mother attributed it to normal teenage behavior. Besides, she had younger sons whom Wanamaker invited to go.
It was her middle son who finally told her. In 1999, after he'd graduated from high school and moved away, he came back to talk to his mother.
"He was trembling when he said, 'I can't go on living like this; I have to tell you something,'" she recounts.
By that time, Wanamaker had already taken the boy's 8-year-old stepbrother camping at the Outer Banks.
"Manipulation and intimidation" is how the mother explains Wanamaker's ability to prey on her children for so long. "He had a lot of authority as the captain of a ship," the same authority that allowed some Catholic priests to get away with molesting children for so long. The boys, thinking it was their fault, she adds, were too embarrassed to say anything.
"That men-on-men thing holds such shame," says the mother. "They don't come forward."
When she informed other parents of boys who knew Wanamaker about what had happened, one said to her, "You can't possibly be right. Fred Wanamaker is a saint."
As authorities were investigating charges in 1999, the alleged saint got wind of what was coming. According to investigators, Wanamaker sold his vehicles, boarded a plane to Florida and then the Bahamas, and hasn't been seen since.
Wanamaker's attorney, Dan Warman in Norfolk, declines to comment on when he last saw his client. And he denies the criminal allegations.
So why did he flee?
"I can't answer that," says Warman, "even to confirm that he fled. Don't take that as acquiescence to your statement that he fled."
On May 5, 2001, the same day a fugitive from a neighboring county, Greg Moyer, the Fork Union Military Academy spanker, disappeared, America's Most Wanted ran a segment on Wanamaker.
The television show quickly netted a tip from a former shipmate, who claimed Wanamaker had been caught with a small boy in Sri Lanka, according to State Police Sgt. Kenneth Bumgarner, who investigated the case. The shipmate, according to the officer, believes Wanamaker bought his way out of those charges, something he also tried to do with the mother and her three sons.
"I got a letter from his lawyer offering me $5,000 not to talk," says the mother.
Her sons received an offer totaling $100,000 never to discuss the subject with anyone, according to Bumgarner.
"It was broken down," he says. "The boy molested the longest got the most money. That was very telling to the FBI and me."
Warman declined to discuss the terms of the offer.
The mother thinks Wanamaker could be in Thailand or the Philippines, countries where it's easy to procure young boys.
"God knows how many kids he's molested overseas," she says. And she's convinced he's changed his appearance with plastic surgery.
Some of the assaults on her sons took place in North Carolina in a federal park. Yet Wanamaker is wanted by the FBI only for unlawful flight to avoid prosecution.
Buckingham County has indicted him, and the case is under investigation by the Virginia State Police– who have no authority in North Carolina, where Wanamaker's parents live.
Sgt. Bumgarner drove down to North Carolina to talk to Wanamaker's parents, whom he describes as "totally uncooperative."
"This has been a difficult matter for all involved," says attorney Warman, returning a call The Hook made to Wanamaker's elderly parents, who declined to comment.
That frustrates the mother of the three molested boys. "I've been through the stages of anger," she says. "Now I just want him caught."
Bumgarner sees Wanamaker as "a classic pedophile," befriending a single mother to get at her children.
The mother, like her sons, will never be quite so trusting again after betrayal by someone she thought of as a close friend. And she'll look for things that never would have struck her as unusual before.
For example, Wanamaker told her he'd worked with Boy Scouts and organized baseball teams in other places he lived. "In retrospect, I was so naïve I could just throw up," she says.
"If somebody looks too perfect, be suspicious," she warns.
She urges parents to trust their instincts, but cautions that pedophiles are very good at disguising their intentions.
"I imagined a pedophile would look like Aqualung in a famous Jethro Tull song unkempt, scary, sitting on a park bench drinking," she confesses. "That's not what we have to fear. It's that well-dressed, responsible guy urging kids to become Eagle Scouts."
Impeccable warrior, indeed.
Frederick Stiles Wanamaker, who disappeared in 1999, is wanted for aggravated sexual battery.
FUMA spanker still loose
AWOL over indecent liberties
BY LISA PROVENCE
Gregory A. Moyer was a well-respected eighth-grade science teacher at Fork Union Military Academy until school officials became aware of his interest in an unorthodox extreme sport: nude spankings. And in that arena, Moyer liked to give as well as receive.
On May 10, 2001, Moyer was scheduled to appear in court and begin serving three-and-a-half years for his conviction on 14 counts of taking indecent liberties with cadets. He never showed up, skipping out on a $50,000 bond posted by the family of one of the cadets he had spanked.
A year later, police are still wondering how he managed to disappear so completely and why tips are nonexistent. "It's like he disappeared off the face of the earth," says Reed Shields in the Virginia State Police's fugitive division.
Perhaps it was the scientist in Moyer that led him to meticulously document his activities, with photos, in his diary: the secret society with its nude initiation rites, the nude Olympics, nude wrestling, and Moyer's particular favorite, whipped cream whackings.
In the latter activity, Moyer would tie up a cadet on a crossbar in his apartment, cover his body– including genitals– with shaving cream, and hit him with a newspaper. Moyer, too, would be tied up, covered with shaving cream, and smacked with a paper.
During one shaving cream incident, a minor testified in court, Moyer had an erection at the time. In his diary, Moyer wrote, "The night was fantastic and one that I will never forget."
It may have been a dream for Moyer, but for FUMA officials, the discovery of photos of nude cadets in Moyer's on-campus apartment was a nightmare.
Academy officials called police, and Moyer was arrested in March 1997. He was convicted of taking indecent liberties with two cadets in August of that year. Police suspect others were involved.
Fork Union Military Academy's president, General John Jackson, declines to comment on events that "happened over five years ago."
Moyer admitted that his relationships with the two cadets were "bizarre" and "wrong," but he denied any sexual intent. The prosecution, calling the games "sadomasochistic," said Moyer's documentation was "self-made erotica." A psychologist for the prosecution called the defendant impotent. Moyer was sentenced to 25 years in prison, with all but three-and-a-half years suspended.
He appealed the case. In October 1999, a three-judge appeals panel ordered a new trial on the grounds that even with a search warrant, the use of Moyer's diaries violated his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, and that buttocks, as defined in the Virginia legal code, aren't sexual parts.
A further appeal in July 2000 upheld the original trial judge.
While Moyer was appealing his convictions, he lived with the family of one of the cadets in Richmond that he had spanked. Even though they lost the $50,000 they'd posted in bond when Moyer didn't come back from a camping trip before he was supposed to be incarcerated, the boy's father says he would support Moyer again.
"Greg is certainly eccentric," adds his supporter. "There's no question he used poor judgment."
The man's son testified that the spankings were not sexual.
So why the nudity? So that it would "hurt more," answered the boy at trial.
Meanwhile, police are frustrated with the lack of information coming in on Moyer. Not only did he disappear, but his red Chevy Cavalier with vanity license plate number 94 MLS hasn't been seen, either.
Moyer, 47, is 5' 9", weighs 130 pounds, and has brown hair and blue eyes. His wanted poster notes that he's an outdoorsman and avid camper.
"I'm concerned he might be somewhere living under another name teaching at a private school," says Shields. He asks that anyone with information about Moyer call 800-552-0962.
The Hook reported on Moyer's disappearance in June, but the trail is still cold.
"We haven't heard any more," says Fluvanna Investigator Harold Craig. "We're still looking for him."