L A K E S T A T I O N, Ind., May 4, 2001 -- The FBI was searching for a formerBaptist school principal who allegedly sexually abused and abductedan 11-year-old girl who has been missing for three days.
William A. Beith, 28, was charged Thursday with coercing andenticing a minor into sexual acts and transporting a minor acrossstate lines for sexual purposes in connection with thedisappearance of Gabrielle Grace Marshall.
Special Agent Doug Garrison of the FBI's Indianapolis officesaid today that documents related to the warrant were sealed toprotect the privacy of those interviewed and to keep certaininformation secret until Beith is captured.
But in explaining why the charges were filed, Garrison said,"We became aware of a relationship between the two and the chargeshave come forth from that."
The sixth-grader from Gary was reported missing Tuesday aftershe had a spat with her parents at a Wal-Mart store. An employeetold police that the girl was crying and seen running in the storeparking lot. Her parents believe she may have telephoned Beith.
Steven E. Ibison of the FBI's office in Merrillville saidauthorities had received information that Beith was spottedThursday in Knoxville, Tenn. Beith used a gasoline credit card inTroy, Ohio, on Wednesday, the FBI said.
"We believe at that time, the girl was in good heath," Ibisonsaid. "Our main concern right now is to get her back safely."
Suspicion Over Private Tutor Session
Daniel Marshall, the girl's older brother, said Beith begangiving private, after-school tutoring lessons to the girl.
Beith was arrested in 1990, while still a teenager, and chargedwith contributing to the delinquency of a minor for exposinghimself to a 15-year old girl.
He became principal of Liberty Baptist Academy in 1998 when hisfather, William S. Beith, resigned after being arrested forsoliciting a male undercover police officer for oral sex.
Charges against both men were dismissed after they receivedcounseling under a deferred prosecution program, said DianePoulton, a spokeswoman for the Lake County prosecutor.
The school sent a letter to parents this week saying that theyounger Beith no longer is employed at the school.