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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Rhode Island man, charged in molesting 3 girls, arrested in Spokane Valley

A Rhode Island man suspected of molesting three girls while working as a gymnastics coach was arrested Wednesday in Spokane Valley after more than 10 years on the lam.

James W. Bell, 61, was charged in 2003 with molesting three girls during his work at a YMCA in Middletown, Rhode Island, according to the FBI. The girls were 9 to 13 years old.

He was initially arrested in Allyn, Washington, in August 2003 and brought back to Rhode Island to be charged.

Bell was released on bail and disappeared before a pretrial conference in July 2004. The FBI arrested him Wednesday on a federal warrant.

Bell is listed as a top 10 fugitive on the Rhode Island State Police website, which reports his last known address in Providence. He was also featured on the TV show “America’s Most Wanted,” the website said.

FBI special agent Frank Harrill said Bell was in the Spokane area receiving medical treatment, but declined to say where.

Harrill said investigators believe Bell has been in the area for a while but don’t know if he had family or owned property locally. FBI agents will continue looking into how he was able to evade capture, Harrill said.

According to a  profile on the FBI’s website, Bell was born in Bremerton and has also worked as a computer repair technician and volunteer fireman.

Investigators in the FBI’s Boston division received a tip earlier this week that Bell was in the Spokane area.

The Seattle division confirmed his location.

He will be held in Washington pending extradition to Rhode Island to face state charges.

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