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  May 4, 2001
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HOMEPAGE U.S. FEATURE
Wanted and Charged
FBI Searches for Principal Suspected of Kidnapping Sixth- Grader
The Associated Press

L A K E   S T A T I O N, Ind., May 4 — The FBI was searching for a former Baptist school principal who allegedly sexually abused and abducted an 11-year-old girl who has been missing for three days.

STORY HIGHLIGHTS
Suspicion Over Private Tutor Sessions

William A. Beith, 28, was charged Thursday with coercing and enticing a minor into sexual acts and transporting a minor across state lines for sexual purposes in connection with the disappearance of Gabrielle Grace Marshall.

Special Agent Doug Garrison of the FBI's Indianapolis office said today that documents related to the warrant were sealed to protect the privacy of those interviewed and to keep certain information 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 charges have come forth from that."

The sixth-grader from Gary was reported missing Tuesday after she had a spat with her parents at a Wal-Mart store. An employee told police that the girl was crying and seen running in the store parking lot. Her parents believe she may have telephoned Beith.

Steven E. Ibison of the FBI's office in Merrillville said authorities had received information that Beith was spotted Thursday in Knoxville, Tenn. Beith used a gasoline credit card in Troy, Ohio, on Wednesday, the FBI said.

"We believe at that time, the girl was in good heath," Ibison said. "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 began giving private, after-school tutoring lessons to the girl.

Beith was arrested in 1990, while still a teenager, and charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor for exposing himself to a 15-year old girl.

He became principal of Liberty Baptist Academy in 1998 when his father, William S. Beith, resigned after being arrested for soliciting a male undercover police officer for oral sex.

Charges against both men were dismissed after they received counseling under a deferred prosecution program, said Diane Poulton, a spokeswoman for the Lake County prosecutor.

The school sent a letter to parents this week saying that the younger Beith no longer is employed at the school.

Copyright 2001 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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