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Frenchman charged in child sex case

Frenchman charged in child sex case

Suspect is accused of committing indecent acts with a 13-year-old boy in P Sihanouk province.

A FRENCH national was charged Thursday with committing indecent acts with a minor in Preah Sihanouk province after being seen having sex with a 13-year-old boy in public, courts officials said.

Bou Bun Haing, chief prosecutor at Preah Sihanouk provincial court, confirmed that 61-year-old Jean-Marie Beranger had been charged by Preah Sihanouk deputy prosecutor Ream Chan Mony.

“We have already forwarded the case to the investigating judge,” Bou Bun Haing said.

If convicted, Beranger faces one to five years in prison, investigating Judge Kim Eng said.

“But the accused has denied any wrongdoing,” he added.

Kim Eng said that he would have to collect further evidence before proceeding with the case, but that he had heard from Beranger’s alleged victim and had issued a detention warrant for the Frenchman.

Beranger, who entered Cambodia last Friday as a tourist via Phnom Penh, was arrested on Tuesday, said Suon Sophann, deputy director of Preah Sihanouk province’s Anti-human Trafficking Police. This arrest, he added, followed a tip from Action Pour Les Enfants (APLE), a child rights group.

APLE Director Samleang Seila said his staff alerted provincial police after seeing Beranger having sex with the boy on Tuesday evening in a public area near a beach.

“Since he arrived, he has been persuading boys on the beach to have sex with him for money,” Samleang Seila said. “He is also suspected of the sexual harassment of other underage boys on the beach.”

Samleang Seila added that 13 foreigners convicted on paedophilia charges in Cambodia have been removed from the country, including Belgian national Philippe Dessart last week. Others have remained in Cambodia to serve their prison terms.

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