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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Dad of two denies child sex charge

Dad of two denies child sex charge

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American James Allan Morrow (right) enters Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday.

I absolutely could not have committed
this crime

An American father-of-two stood trial at Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday on charges of child prostitution involving a 12-year-old girl and the possession and abuse of drugs.

James Allan Morrow, 46, denied charges of purchasing child prostitution and indecent acts with a child aged under 15, but admitted to drug possession and the abuse of drugs.

Morrow’s translator Say Sareth, 26, and 22-year-old Chamroeun Chanthan also face charges of being accomplices to child prostitution.

Morrow was arrested on March 11 at a guesthouse in Phsar Thmey III commune in the capital’s Daun Penh district by anti-human trafficking and juvenile protection police.

Police have previously said that following the arrest they confiscated several sexually explicit DVDs, a video camera containing two of Morrow’s personal sexual encounters with women, as well as 0.9 grams of amphetamines and 4.2 grams of marijuana.

Morrow’s alleged accomplices were arrested on the same day, based on statements that Morrow gave to police during questioning.

Chamroeun Chanthan denied charges in court that she was an accomplice to child prostitution, but admitted that she had brought Say Sareth and a 12-year-old girl to Morrow’s room at the guesthouse on the day of his arrest. She said that the reason for the visit was strictly to seek financial support from Morrow.

“I have known James Morrow for more than four years before I was arrested. However, I would like to reaffirm that I have never brought a child or woman to his guesthouse for him have sex with,” she said in court.

Municipal deputy court prosecutor Heang Spheak said in court yesterday that Morrow had visited Cambodia as a tourist on six separate occasions and  his most recent visit had begun in January this year.

Heang Spheak alleged that the court’s investigation uncovered that Morrow had previously been involved with child prostitution, child pornography and drugs during his visits to Cambodia.

“He is a man who prefers to have sex with minors and he is addicted to drugs. His actions have violated Cambodian law. I would like to keep all charges against him and ask the court to punish him in full accordance with the law,” he said.

Morrow denied the prostitution charges in court yesterday, but claimed that he suffered from mental health problems and was guilty of using drugs.

“I came to Cambodia as a tourist only to gamble in the casinos in Phnom Penh and Poipet. But I have no interest in sex with children, I have two children of my own. As a good father, I absolutely could not have committed this crime,” he said.

Presiding municipal court judge Kor Vandy said yesterday that the trial would resume on September 2.

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