A 79-year-old U.S. man involved in charity work with children was arrested by police in Siem Reap province last week on charges of sexually abusing an 11-year-old boy, officials said on Sunday.
Lao Lin, head of the juvenile protection office in the Interior Ministry’s anti-human trafficking department, identified the suspect as John Paul Zollbrecht.
A Facebook page of a man from Washington state with the same name says that he operates a school in Siem Reap, and that he founded a school there called Avondale, though that could not be confirmed.
Duong Thavry, head of the provincial juvenile protection unit, said the suspect did not run a proper school.
“He just helped the kids in the village study English,” she said.
Samleang Seila, director of anti-pedophile NGO APLE, said the group was tipped off by a concerned tourist about the suspect’s “ongoing relationship with underage boys.”
When the group received information that Mr. Zollbrecht had gone into a hotel room with an 11-year-old boy, they informed authorities who took the two in for questioning.
Mr. Seila said the boy’s testimony was strong enough to pursue charges of child sex abuse.