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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Keeler case goes to cyberspace

Keeler case goes to cyberspace

WHILE Jon Keeler may insist that his case has not been fairly heard in Cambodia, his predicament has aroused heated debate in the shadowy world of internet pedophile activism.

A letter to the "editor" of www.ageofconsent.com, which under the guise of a "research resource" offers cultural and historical justifications for pedophilia, posed the question "After the Jon Keeler case, how safe is it for men seeking underage sex in Cambodia?"

The letter is just part of a flurry of on-line interest and concern sparked by Jon Keeler's arrest and conviction and its implications for pedophiles considering Cambodia as their next sex vacation spot.

The Keeler case has also attracted interest of a distinctly non-humanitarian type in news groups frequented by individuals concerned about how Keeler's case might impact Cambodia's reputation as a destination for "easy child sex".

One such apparently frustrated commentator stated that "...there is no other reason for tourists to go to Cambodia other than for sex."

Another Keeler supporter went so far as to suggest that Phnom Penh's British Embassy "...should have informed this British citizen..." that child sex in Cambodia entailed "risks".

To take some measure of the scope of the interest that the Keeler case has generated on-line, a successful e-commerce company offered the Post the use of its in-house research services.

The results were disturbing.

The average number of references with a very good top search engine for information about Angkor Wat yielded approximately 7700 documented references. A search for references to Jon Keeler's case yielded approximately 600 references. The implications are obvious - on the Internet, Jon Keeler has nearly 10 percent the saturation of Angkor Wat.

It should be noted that these are precise matches for the Jon Keeler in question and not just references to individuals with similar names.

The Internet search's results suggest that the Keeler case has generated concern among pedophile networks accustomed to treating Cambodia as a refuge and playground for child sex.

A step inside the smug Internet underground of networked child abusers is a nauseating and numbing experience.

These are not standard adult pornography sites with titillating photos, but a congregation of rationalized evil where the complete utter disrespect for innocence hides carelessly behind practical advice, travel directions and the pursuit of "damn good value" for child sex.

Like ageofconsent.com, these sites feature databases of local laws, customs and locations for pedophiles keen to satisfy their desires abroad.

And through the on-line indignation and bluster about the implications of the Jon Keeler case is a simple but sinister subtext: have "fun", take precautions - but don't get caught.

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