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Court hears charges against alleged pedophile

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Suspected pedophile Ian Paul Bower gestures to reporters at the court yesterday. Photograph: Pha Lina/Phnom Penh Post

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court tried British national Ian Paul Bower yesterday on charges of sexually abusing five boys aged 11 to 15 at a pagoda in Phnom Penh City’s Sen Sok district last year.

Bower, 46, a former English teacher, was arrested and charged last November with “indecent acts against a minor under 15” based on the statements of five victims.

Hor Lina, a deputy prosecutor with the court, said Bower had often visited Wat Prasat, in Ponhear Poan commune, where he had allegedly played pornographic clips on his smartphone for children while fondling them.

If convicted, Bower could face three years in prison and fines of up to five million riel (US$1,250).

One alleged victim, 12, said Bower had visited Wat Prasat almost every weekend, where he played “videos of toys on his mobile phones”.

“After [that], he played sex videos for us,” he said. “And then, he . . . touched my penis. He gave me 1,000 riel for touching my penis.”

Peng Maneth, a lawyer for the NGO Action Pour Les Enfants, said an APLE investigation had revealed Bower had sexually abused at least 10 boys in Cambodia and had been arrested for sexually abusing children in Cambodia and Britain.

“Ian Paul Bower is a dangerous man for children,” Peng Maneth said.

Bower denied the allegations, saying he had only shown the boys clips of motorcycle racing.

Dun Vibol, his lawyer, said his client was not a pedophile, and had a wife and two children.

A verdict is due on July 16.

To contact the reporter on this story: Buth Reaksmey Kongkea at reaksmeykongkea.buth@phnompenhpost.com

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