Search

Search form

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Canadian gets 11 years for sex with children

Canadian gets 11 years for sex with children

Canadian gets 11 years for sex with children

A JUDGE has slapped a Canadian sex tourist with an 11-year prison sentence for having sex and producing pornography with girls in Cambodia and Colombia as young as 8, media reports said.

Kenneth Klassen, a 59-year-old father of three and an art dealer in the western city of Vancouver, pleaded guilty to charges related to having sex with underage girls, and of one count of importing his own DVDs of the acts.

According to the Montreal Gazette, Klassen came under suspicion when a package containing child pornography that he had sent to himself from the Philippines was intercepted by customs officials at Vancouver International Airport. He was arrested in September 2004 when he attempted to pick up the package.

Klassen had argued in court that Canadian laws against sex tourism did not apply to him, because the acts had taken place in other countries.
Justice Austin Cullen of the British Columbia Supreme Court dismissed the argument and in the sentencing hearing called Klassen’s behaviour “intensive, intrusive and degrading”, local media reported.

Rosalind Prober, president of the Canada-based anti-human trafficking organization Beyond Borders, applauded the jail term, which she said had sent “a message to Canadians and people around the world that child sex tourism harms children”.

But she said the fact that the final sentence came six years after police first discovered the package underscored the difficulty in stopping sex tourists. Most countries have passed laws against sex tourism, she noted, but most cases are difficult to prosecute because they take many years and countless hours of police time.

“To get someone convicted of this crime is an enormous burden,” Prober said. Only a handful of people have been convicted since Canada amended its laws in 1997 to make sex tourism a crime.

Samleang Seila, director of the local child protection NGO Action Pour Les Enfants, said yesterday that the “harsh” sentence should act as a deterrent to sex tourists who target children.

“Sentencing in foreign countries is still very rare,” he said. “The sentence under their child trafficking laws should now be the model sentence for other cases.”

“It is a harsh sentence, and should set an example,” he added.

Local media reported that, prior to being sentenced, Klassen told the court: “I’m sorry for what I’ve done with all my heart.”

RECOMMENDED STORIES

  • Breaking: PM says prominent human rights NGO ‘must close’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has instructed the Interior Ministry to investigate the Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR) and potentially close it “because they follow foreigners”, appearing to link the rights group to the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party's purported “revolution”. The CNRP - the

  • Rainsy and Sokha ‘would already be dead’: PM

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Sunday appeared to suggest he would have assassinated opposition leaders Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha had he known they were promising to “organise a new government” in the aftermath of the disputed 2013 national elections. In a clip from his speech

  • Massive ceremony at Angkor Wat will show ‘Cambodia not in anarchy’: PM

    Government officials, thousands of monks and Prime Minister Hun Sen himself will hold a massive prayer ceremony at Angkor Wat in early December to highlight the Kingdom’s continuing “peace, independence and political stability”, a spectacle observers said was designed to disguise the deterioration of

  • PM tells workers CNRP is to blame for any sanctions

    In a speech to workers yesterday, Prime Minister Hun Sen pinned the blame for any damage inflicted on Cambodia’s garment industry by potential economic sanctions squarely on the opposition party. “You must remember clearly that if the purchase orders are reduced, it is all