The Kandal Provincial Court yesterday convicted Frenchman Phillipe Lauwers of committing indecent acts with a minor under 15 and sentenced him to 14 months in prison, including the time he had already spent in detention since arrest last January.
Judge Phong Van also ordered Lauwers, 52, to pay four million riel ($1,000) to his now 13-year-old victim, called for his deportation after the sentence’s completion in March and forbade him from re-entering Cambodia for five years after that, said Hong Sambath, the victim’s lawyer from Action Pour les Enfants (APLE).
Lauwers was arrested last January after Kandal’s Anti-Human Trafficking and Juvenile Protection police were tipped off by APLE.
According to APLE project officer Khoem Vando, Lauwers initially lured his then 6-year-old victim in with cookies and candy and sexually abused him in 2006.
To keep the boy quiet, Lauwers bought him gifts, including clothes, a bicycle and a mobile phone, Vando said.
Lauwers initially was accused of having molested three boys between 2006 and 2011, but two of them, now 16 and 17, later dropped charges.
APLE claims the boys were threatened into retracting their statements.
Lauwers’ defence lawyer, Seng Monpunlork, said his client would not appeal. But Sambath said the victim’s family would. Although the family would be unable to land Lauwers a longer term, they could be given more compensation, he said.
Vando said the government should have charged Lauwers with purchasing the services of a child prostitute and handed down a much harsher jail term.
To contact the reporter on this story: Chhay Channyda at [email protected]
With assistance from Danson Cheong