American national and orphanage director Daniel Stephen Johnson was tried on Friday at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on charges that he sexually abused five boys last year.
The court heard that Johnson, 36, the director of the Hope Transitions Christian orphanage in Phnom Penh’s Meanchey district, abused the boys after they were brought to stay at the orphanage. All were under 15 years of age at the time of the alleged assaults.
Kim Rath Narin, the presiding judge, told the court that Johnson had told the boys to give him massages before he sexually assaulted them.
“But while the boys were doing massages for him, he [abused them],” he said.
Johnson was charged with “indecent acts against a minor under 15,” Narin added, which would see the defendant sentenced to a maximum of three years in prison if found guilty.
He denied the charges.
“I asked these boys to do massages for me inside my room, but I did not commit any sexual abuse on them,” he told the court. “I am innocent. I would like to ask the court to drop the charges against me.”
He was arrested in a joint operation involving the Anti-Human Trafficking and Juvenile Protection Unit at the Ministry of Interior, the US Federal Bureau of Investigation and local NGO APLE Cambodia late last year.