NGOs say the 75-year-old American is a serial offender - four
under-15 victims have so far come forward, with the possibility of more
Paedophilia sentences have shrunk under Cambodia's 2008 Law on Anti-Human Trafficking, according to some rights groups, who say reclassifications in the law are responsible for a recent series of successful appeals by convicted offenders. SIEM Reap provincial court has charged an American national with committing indecent acts against two underage boys, as government investigators claim more young victims may be involved.
charged American Jack Louis Sporich, 75, with indecent acts against two
boys, and he is now being questioned by the investigating judge," court
prosecutor Nuon San told the Post Wednesday.
Under new Cambodian sex crimes legislation, each charge of "indecent acts" carries a penalty from one to three years in prison.
Bunthorng, chief of the provincial bureau of Anti-Human Trafficking and
Juvenile Protection, said that police arrested Sporich on Monday at his
house in Siem Reap town on suspicions that he had sexual relations with
at least four boys aged under 15 years.
"We are continuing to
investigate the case," he said. "We have now received complaints from
four victims, and we believe there might be more boys involved in the
SunBunthorng said that Sporich, who is retired, entered Cambodia in 2005 and was married to a Cambodian woman.
Seila, executive director of anti-paedophile group Action Pour Les
Enfants, that helped in the arrest, said his team had been watching the
man since late 2007 and that the suspect had toys at his villa which he
used to attract children aged between nine and 13.
Ny Ty, 36,
the mother of one nine-year-old boy involved in the case, who runs a
street stall close to the American's villa, said Sporich had lured
children to his house with gifts and sweets and that she had never
suspected his intentions.
"My son told me that he always bathed
him, bought nice clothes and a new bicycle for him, and asked whether
he could come and live with him," she said, adding that the request
seemed innocent enough at the time.
"I agreed to allow my son to
live with the American for almost a year after seeing his generosity to
the other boys, giving them cakes and money frequently."
her son went missing February 2, Ny Ty said she searched for him at
local NGOs, eventually coming across him at a local shelter, where he
had been taken by staff working for Action Pour Les Enfants after
"Now I feel relieved knowing he is now being
taken care of," she said. "I am coming here to seek compensation for my
son like the other three boys' mothers would do as well."
recent years, the Kingdom has struggled to shed its reputation as a
haven for child molesters, putting dozens of foreigners in jail for
child sex crimes.