After Verdict, Elderly Child Abuser at Large

A 77-year-old British man was sentenced to 18 months in prison on Friday after being convicted of sexually molesting three boys in Siem Reap City, according to court officials. But he has not been seen in months.

The disappearance of Roy Sheppard follows that of Indian national Raj Deo, 46, who was found guilty of assaulting a 14-year-old girl on Thursday and sentenced to 14 months, also at the Siem Reap Pro­vincial Court, also in absentia.

Both men were released on bail before their cases went to trial, and no attempts have been made to rearrest them, according to police.

Judge Nguon Nara, who pre­sided over Mr. Sheppard’s case, confirmed the guilty verdict and prison sentence on Friday but refused to comment further.

Mr. Sheppard was charged with committing indecent acts against two 13-year-old boys and one 15-year-old boy in October. He spent two months in provisional detention before being released on bail due to high blood pressure, according to Samleang Seila, country director for anti-pedophile NGO Action Pour Les Enfants.

The retiree molested the boys after luring them to his home, Mr. Seila said.

“Initial contact was established on the street when he encountered these children begging,” he said. “Later on, a relationship with the families was developed.”

Duong Thavary, chief of the provincial police’s anti-human trafficking bureau, said on Friday that she had not been informed about Mr. Sheppard’s sentencing.

On Thursday, she said she was aware that Mr. Deo—who sold T-shirts in Siem Reap before his arrest in December—had been convicted and was at large, but that she could not move to arrest him without a court-issued warrant.

Court spokesman Yin Srang said Mr. Deo was released on bail the same day he was charged with indecent assault but has refused to explain why the court decided to free him and why he was not convicted of the more serious aggravated indecent assault—which applies to cases in which the victim is a minor, and carries a minimum pris­on sentence of two years.

The spokesman said on Friday, however, that because the court con­sidered Mr. Deo’s crime—sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl—a misdemeanor, he had 30 days to contest the verdict before authorities attempted to arrest him.

Mr. Deo’s lawyer, Sourng So­phea, said on Friday that his client was still in Cambodia but that he had not yet spoken to him about the verdict.

“He has not left Cambodia because he has a small business [here],” he said.

Mr. Seila, however, said Mr. Deo had not been seen in Siem Reap since his release on bail, and had likely fled the country.

(Additional reporting by Taylor O’Connell)

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