Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Appeals Court slashes sentence of child sex offender to one year

Appeals Court slashes sentence of child sex offender to one year

Appeals Court slashes sentence of child sex offender to one year

Victims' lawyers express disappointment as jail term is cut by more than half for American convicted of indecent acts with teenage girl

THE Phnom Penh Appeals Court has slashed the jail sentence of an American national convicted in April of engaging in indecent acts with a 13-year-old Vietnamese girl, citing a lack of evidence.

In a ruling Thursday, presiding Judge Thou Mony upheld the charge against Thomas Wayne Rapanos, 55, but reduced his jail term from two and a half years to one year, saying there was not enough evidence.

In the same ruling, the judge also dismissed charges that Rapanos had sexual intercourse with a 16-year-old Cambodian girl.

Rapanos was arrested when police raided his room at a Phnom Penh guesthouse on March 5, where he was found with the two girls. Keo Thea, deputy police chief at the anti-trafficking and juvenile unit, told AFP after the arrest that one of the girls was naked at the time of the raid.

In Thursday's appeal hearing, lawyers for the two girls wanted judges to charge Rapanos for having sex with the Cambodian girl, while Rapanos appealed to reduce the sentence handed down by the Municipal Court on April 17.

The girls' lawyer, Peng Maneth, provided by the French child protection NGO Action Pour Les Enfants (APLE), said that the one-year sentence was the lowest possible for an indecent act.

"The victims are not so happy with the trial, but this is the judges' ruling," she said.

APLE director Samleang Seila said the organisation has followed Rapanos' whereabouts since November 2006, adding that he was glad that the perpetrator was being sentenced, but that judges should have considered more evidence in the case - including a claim the older girl had witnessed sexual penetration.

"We still congratulate the fact that he was sentenced, but we wanted the judges to consider evidence not only from the night of the arrest," he said.

The Appeals Court hearing was closed to the public to protect the underage victims' privacy after a joint request from both the lawyers of the victims and the perpetrator.

MOST VIEWED

  • Angkor Wat named as the top landmark for the second year

    Travel website TripAdvisor has named Cambodia’s ancient wonder Angkor Wat as the top landmark in the world for the second year running in their Travelers’ Choice Award 2018, an achievement Cambodian tourism operators expect will attract more tourists to the Kingdom. The website uses traveller

  • Hun Sen detractors ‘will die’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday said those who curse or insult him would eventually die without a plot of land to bury their bodies after being killed by lightning, suffering the same fate as those who recently died in Thmar Baing district in Koh

  • New US bill ‘is a violation of Cambodian independence’

    After a US congressmen introduced bipartisan legislation that will enact sanctions on Cambodian officials responsible for “undermining democracy” in the Kingdom, government officials and the ruling Cambodian People’s Party on Sunday said they regarded the potential action as the “violation of independence and sovereignty

  • NOCC to contest petanque, tennis axe

    The National Olympic Committee of Cambodia will lobby hard over the next few weeks for the inclusion of the Kingdom’s most productive medal-earning sport, petanque, along with vovinam and tennis after the disciplines were left out of the initial list of 30 preferred sports for