US Pedophile, 81, Jailed for Siem Reap Abuses

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A U.S. federal court on Tuesday sentenced an 81-year-old American serial pedophile to 10 years in prison for sexually abusing two Cambodian boys at his house in Siem Reap City more than six years ago, according to a child protection group.

In a statement released Wednesday, Hagar International said the Los Angeles court found Jack Sporich, 81, guilty of molesting two 12-year-old boys after moving to Siem Reap in 2008, sentencing him to 10 years in prison and ordering him to pay a fine of $125,000.

“Sporich lured the boys into his home by encouraging them to swim in the pool, play with toys and video games, take showers, and sleep over,” the statement said.

“Sporich also gave the boys food and money in exchange for engaging in sexual conduct with him,” it added.

Sabine Park, Hagar Cambodia’s legal and protection unit manager, said that a representative of the organization traveled with one of Mr. Sporich’s victims to Los Angeles to attend the trial, but declined to discuss the proceedings.

According to U.S. media reports, Mr. Sporich, who went by the nickname “Dad,” was convicted by a California court of committing lewd acts against minors in 1987 and spent the next 18 years in prison.

The Santa Monica Mirror reported on Tuesday that the judge who presided over his most recent trial, Philip Gutierrez, was frustrated by the federal court’s inability to give Mr. Sporich a longer jail term, which was negotiated as part of a plea deal.

“To expect that this man is going to do anything other than hurt children is fantasy land,” Judge Gutierrez reportedly said. “This is a man that’s already served 18 years—and 18 years was not enough to stop him. Ten [more] years isn’t enough to stop him.”

Mr. Sporich was arrested in Siem Reap in February 2009. According to anti-pedophile NGO Action Pour Les Enfants, which began investigating him in mid-2008, he abused four boys between the ages of 9 and 13.

Samleang Seila, the NGO’s country director, said Wednesday that Mr. Sporich was a retired engineer and used his pension to acquire a mansion in Siem Reap where he could discretely molest children. He said the American also used his money to ensnare potential victims.

“He was just driving through the poor villages and throwing money in the air,” he said, adding that children who collected the cash then followed him back to his home and were invited inside.

According to Mr. Seila, Mr. Sporich was released on bail in July or August of 2009 and subsequently apprehended by American agents and brought back to the U.S. to be prosecuted there. The Siem Reap Provincial Court later acquitted him after two of the boys who initially testified against him withdrew their complaints, he said.

“There was no formal deportation or extradition,” Mr. Seila said, adding that had the U.S. not taken over the case, Mr. Sporich would likely be a free man.

“It was proven in this case that the [Cambodian] justice system did not work,” he said.


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