An elderly Canadian man notorious for promoting pedophilia in his home country was sentenced on Friday to seven years in prison following the sexual exploitation of four underage boys in Siem Reap.
Pierre Deslauriers, 70, from Montreal, was found guilty of purchasing child prostitution from children under 15 years of age, said presiding judge Duch Sok Sarin of the Siem Reap Provincial Court.
“The court sentenced him to seven years in jail and ordered him to pay compensation to four underage boys who were the victims,” Sok Sarin said.
Child prostitution charges are punishable by seven to 15 years imprisonment in Cambodia, but the Canadian national received the minimum sentence after the court cited his old age and the children’s lack of severe physical injuries, said Khoem Vando, deputy director of field operations at Action Pour Les Enfants (APLE), which defended the minors.
“We welcome the punishment, but we are not satisfied with it because sexual abuse of children has nothing to do with physical injuries. It’s a lifelong trauma,” Vando said.
Deslauriers was arrested on February 23 after authorities raided his rental room in Siem Reap’s Slor Kram commune.
“He was arrested … after four boys told police that they had been victims of sexual abuse and police received a letter of complaint from their families,” said provincial anti-human trafficking department chief Doung Thavery.
According to Thavery, local villagers informed police that Deslauriers lured the boys to a forested area near his home to engage in sexual activities.
During the raid, police discovered the Canadian national in his room with multiple self-inflicted stab wounds, Thavery said.
APLE, Vando said, tracked down four more of Deslauriers’s alleged young victims and are considering bringing their cases to court.
The victims are receiving counselling and social support from APLE.
“This abuse could have an emotional effect on the children their whole lives … so it’s important they get the necessary help that they need,” Vando said.
In Canada, Deslauriers presented a pro-pedophilia lecture at a sexuality symposium at Collège de Maisonneuve. He also published an article defending his position in a banned magazine, according to Canadian newspaper La Presse.
Deslauriers, who works as a photographer, was convicted of indecent exposure in 1968 and received a suspended sentence for sexual assault in 1987. He was also punished with five years in prison in 1994 for the sexual assault of two girls aged 3 and 5 during a photo shoot, La Presse reported.