PHNOM Penh Municipal Court yesterday heard the case against an American man charged with buying sex from three underage girls and producing child pornography during a trip to Cambodia in January.
Craig Thomas Carr, 59, was arrested January 21 and charged with purchasing sex from three 14-year-old girls in Phnom Penh and Kandal province. He was deported in May to the United States through Operation Twisted Traveller –an arrangement by which Americans suspected of committing sex crimes overseas can be tried in the US – and charged in a district court in Washington State.
But because proceedings in Cambodia had already commenced at the time of his deportation, the domestic case has gone ahead, said Samleang Seila, head of the child protection NGO Action Pour Les Enfants. “The prosecution started here before [he was deported], so it must continue, and there has been no instruction from the American courts to terminate it,” he said.
During a hearing in Washington state on July 27, Carr pled guilty to having sex with underage girls in Cambodia. He faces a sentence of 15 to 30 years in prison in the US.
The Municipal Court yesterday also heard the cases of Mey Sovan and Sek Savy, both 37, who have been charged with soliciting and procuring child prostitution for allegedly finding victims for Carr.
Both suspects originally denied the charges before confessing in court yesterday.
All three suspects face between seven and 15 years in prison if found guilty.
A verdict is expected September 22.
Also yesterday, the Municipal Court charged Briton Michael Leach, 50, with purchasing child sex following his arrest from a guesthouse in Kandal’s Kien Svay district on Sunday.