Sex Abuse Victim Finds Justice after Years of Waiting

In the afternoon of the 1st of October, 67-year old Briton David John Fletcher has been extradited from Thailand to Cambodia. On May 9, 2011 Presiding Judge Ke Sakorn at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court sentenced Fletcher to 10 years in prison for rape and ordered Fletcher to pay 20 million riel compensation (approx. US$5,000) to his 16 year old victim. Fletcher was returned, along with 13 others wanted by the Cambodian justice system, more than three years after his extradition was requested.

Fletcher became subject of investigations by child protection organization Action Pour Les Enfants [APLE] in 2009. Investigations revealed that he was running a charity at the Phnom Penh garbage dump site, providing food and fruit to the families. He used the charity to groom the underage victim for sex.

Late June 2010, police brought two minor girls for questioning to the police station; one of them, who was known as Fletcher’s bride-to-be, admitted to have been abused by Fletcher on numerous occasions. In the meantime, Fletcher had fled to Thailand after a British tabloid had published an article about his charity and had disclosed his involvement in child sexual crimes in the UK. Fletcher was arrested in Thailand later that year and the Court of First Instance allowed his extradition, but Fletcher appealed.

Samleang Seila, Director of child protection NGO [APLE] said: “This is a great day, as justice is now served for the victim after she has waited for years. This hopefully will deter others from committing similar crimes. Extraterritorial cooperation is key in bringing Fletcher to justice and it has increased exponentially over the years. As a result, we have seen that more and more child sex perpetrators have been arrested and prosecuted in the countries either where the crimes were committed or in the home countries of the offenders, even years after the crimes originally took place. This is a positive development.”

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