The Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Tuesday found a 61-year-old American guilty of paying to have sex with a 16-year-old girl, according to a child protection organization and the convicted man’s lawyer.
Richard Mitchell, who was arrested Sept 28, was sentenced to 3 years in prison and ordered to pay $2,000 in compensation to the victim, however Judge Chan Madina suspended 2 years of Mitchell’s sentence, said Samleang Seila, country director for anti-pedophile NGO Action Pour les Enfants.
He added that Mitchell will be deported after his release this September.
The deportation “will help our children escape from future abuses,” he said, adding that Mitchell was sentenced under the new anti-human trafficking law, which states that anyone procuring sex from children aged 15 to 18 must serve 2 to 5 years in prison. The age of consent, however, in Cambodia is 15 years.
Neither Chan Madina nor Deputy Prosecutor Hing Bunchea could be reached for comment Tuesday.
Mitchell’s attorney, Dun Vibol, welcomed the verdict.
“The decision is acceptable for the charged person who is old, in his 60s,” he said, adding that the 16-year-old girl had refused to testify during the trial.
Samleang Seila said that the victim has “mental problems,” and was only able to sit in the courtroom without answering questions. He added that the victim had dashed out of the courtroom during the original Feb 19 trial after the defense lawyer started to question her, forcing the court to postpone the hearing until Tuesday.
Dun Vibol said that his client would not appeal the verdict.