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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Pedophile suspect free on bail after hearing

Pedophile suspect free on bail after hearing

Accused child pornographer and alleged pedophile Pierre Guynot was released on bail

December 1 after a Sihanoukville court judge found no strong evidence against him

at the hearing held the previous day.

Despite the testimonies of several victims and the evidence of thousands of pornographic

photographs found in Guynot's computer, the judge ruled the investigation should

continue.

The ruling frustrated police and families of victims who feared the defendant might

try to escape.

A group of victims' families complained the judge's ruling was "useless"

and said it simply allowed him to walk free.

"Because the pre-trial detention period has expired, Pierre Guynot is allowed

to stay outside Sihanoukville prison from today until he recovers from his heart

problem," said Judge Huon Many. "Pierre Guynot has a heart disease that

needs to be checked urgently. I have difficulty drawing any conclusions [about the

charges] because there is insufficient evidence."

Guynot's lawyer Nou Tepirith said his client is receiving medical treatment in a

private clinic in Sihanoukville.

Police officer Chhrin Vanne, who led the investigation, said Guynot should remain

in custody to protect the victims. Vanne works for the Ministry of Interior's Law

Enforcement Against Sexual Exploitation of Children Project (LEASECP).

"Victims might receive threats," Vanne said. "They could withdraw

their complaints against Guynot, which would mean more evidence being destroyed."

Guynot, who is 44, ran a go-karting company called 'Obey Karting' since 1995 in Sih-anoukville.

He was arrested May 31 this year after a boy was detained in a container on his property.

His 21-year-old foster son, Ouk Savuth, was charged with the boy's illegal confinement.

Guynot was sent to preliminary trial on charges of debauchery and illegal possession

of a weapon. Prosecutor Mom Mith downgraded the charges. He said medical checks,

which had not been done, could have proved useful.

During the morning's legal proceedings, the judge read out the charges against the

two men. He concluded that Guynot was guilty on the charge of possession of an illegal

weapon as he had no license. Six youths aged between 11 and 16 testified against

him on the charges of debauchery. All said he had sexually abused them.

One 14-year-old victim, Sok (not his real name), said Guynot abused him last December

when he worked at his go-karting track.

"He asked me to wear short pants and had oral sex with me," Sok said. "I

found fluid inside me the next morning, so I knew he had anal sex while I was sleeping.

It was painful when I defecated. When I complained about a headache, [Guynot] gave

me water to drink, but I did not drink it because he put a tablet in the water."

The judge dismissed Sok's testimony as nonsense.

"You must know what Pierre Guynot did to you while you were sleeping,"

said Judge Many, "unless [he] drugged the water and to make you fall into a

deep sleep."

One by one the six youths testified against Guynot. One by one Guynot denied their

accusations. When Judge Many showed Guynot some of the 1,300 pornographic photographs

taken from his computer, he admitted to having taken them.

"I asked if they would allow me to take their picture," said Guynot. "They

agreed. I did not force them [to expose themselves] for my photographs when they

came to play at my swimming pool."

Guynot conceded he had sent some photographs to an overseas creditor who funded the

construction of his swimming pool.

Guynot was arrested after police raided his house May 31 after a report he had detained

a 14-year-old boy, Sao (not his real name) in a cargo container. Sao also used to

work at Obey Karting. Guynot claimed Sao had stolen a chicken from him and wanted

$20 compensation from Sao's parents. Sao had a different story.

"I clearly heard Pierre Guynot order me to be detained," said Sao. "They

took off my clothes and put me in the container from 6pm to midday the next day."

Sao testified in court that he was sexually abused by Guynot and told the Post he

was locked in the container because Guynot had tried to prevent him from reporting

the allegations of sexual abuse.

"I do not believe that I was detained because of stealing a chicken," Sao

said. "I stole his chicken because he did not pay my $30 salary."

Because several other people were involved in the confinement of Sao, Judge Many

said that the court would have to investigate the matter further.

In the village, the Post spoke to several people who are Guynot's neighbors; some

were angry, others sympathetic. The local tailor said Guynot had done good things

for the villagers, including building roads and bridges.

During the trial, the mothers of the six boys complained their children's health

had deteriorated. That was not their only problem, though - they were being

victimized by their classmates and other people in the village. Both Sok and Sao

have now quit school to avoid further pain.

"I am accustomed to people's mockery," said Sao. "Before I really

could not endure them looking down on me and their harsh words."

ï An Italian national was arrested in Poipet for alleged sexual exploitation of children.

Luigi Falchi, 28, was arrested November 26 after he allegedly paid for sex with three

boys aged between 7 and 12, said provincial court prosecutor, Nhuong Thol.

"He will be charged with debauchery," said Thol. "The representative

from the Italian embassy [in Bangkok] came to contact us and asked if we could transfer

him to Phnom Penh."

Thol said the investigation is continuing.

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