A 60-YEAR-OLD convicted American paedophile already serving a 10-year prison term now has an extra three years in jail after Phnom Penh Municipal Court found him guilty on Thursday of soliciting sex from a 16-year-old Cambodian girl.
Michael James Dodd was arrested last August in Phnom Penh’s Daun Penh district and subsequently charged with purchasing child sex in two different cases, one involving a 14-year-old Vietnamese girl and the other involving the Cambodian girl.
In the case of the Vietnamese girl, the court convicted him later that month under Article 34 of the Law on the Suppression of Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation, sentencing him to 10 years in prison and ordering him to pay 20 million riels (US$4,824) in compensation.
Presiding Judge Chhay Kong said Thursday that the new three-year sentence would be in addition to Dodd’s original 10-year sentence, and that he would not be asked to compensate the Cambodian girl. As part of his sentence, Dodd is prohibited from living in Cambodia after his release.
Under the human trafficking and sexual exploitation law, a person found guilty of engaging in sexual conduct with a minor older than 15 years of age faces a sentence of between two and five years. If the victim is younger than 15 possible sentences range from seven to 15 years. Dodd received a 10-year sentence in relation to the 14-year-old and a three-year term for the 16-year-old.
Samleang Seila, country Director for the child protection NGO Action Pour Les Enfants, said, after the verdict was read, that Dodd should be forced to pay compensation to the victim.
“The three years’ imprisonment is just, but the court should seek benefits for the victim as she comes from a poor family,” he said. The victim had originally asked for $5,000 compensation.
Dodd was not present for the reading of the verdict and sentence on Thursday. His lawyer, Meng Sotheary, said he was in poor health and had recently been admitted to the Cambodian-Russian Friendship Hospital.