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American faces new charges

American faces new charges

An American national is facing new charges over child sex crimes in Phnom Penh, officials said,  following his extradition to the United States last year.

Michael James Dodd, 60, was arrested in 2006 and later sentenced to 10 years imprisonment in August 2009 for purchasing child prostitution services from a 14-year-old Vietnamese girl in Phnom Penh.

He was sentenced to an additional three years in jail for purchasing child prostitution from a 16-year old girl in a separate case in January 2010, said presiding judge at Phnom Penh Municipal Court Ker Sakhorn yesterday.

Ker Sakhorn added that Dodd was extradited to stand trial in a US federal court in February 2010.

NGO Action Pour Les Enfants said yesterday that he is now facing new charges, involving the same victims, of having sex with two minors.

Yesterday, a hearing – the majority of which was closed to the press – was held, with Dodd in absentia.

Rous Phalla, Dodd’s lawyer, said: “According to testimonies of the two victims, one said that my client had not raped her yet.

“He had just touched her vagina and breasts, and the other girl said she had accepted to have sex with my client.”

“I would like to ask the court firstly, to change the accusation against my client to sexual harassment and secondly, I would like to ask the court to reduce his sentence,” he said.

The lawyer for the victims, Peng Maneth, however, asked the court to set a precedent for foreign sex offenders.

“To prevent them, as well as other foreign people, from committing such acts in the future, I would like to ask the court to sentence them strongly and bring them to jail in Cambodia,” she said.

She has also asked Dodd to pay a total of US$3,000 in compensation to the alleged victims. A seperate case regarding British national David John Fletcher was also heard in closed court yesterday.

Ker Sakhorn said yesterday he was found in Thailand in January, after he allegedly fled Phnom Penh after accusations surfaced that commited a rape in 2009.  

He was arrested in January this year and charged with raping a 17-year-old, said Ker Sakhorn.

Fletcher is still in the custody of Thai police, said APLE, and they are ready to send him back to Cambodia.

The Post could not contact a lawyer acting for Fletcher yesterday.

Verdicts in both cases are expected on Monday.

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