American gets 7 month prison sentence for indecent acts with girls

Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Friday convicted a 44-year-old American man of committing indecent acts on 12 and 14-year-old sisters and sentenced him two years in prison, but suspended all but seven months of his jail term, making him eligible for release in one month.

Scott Alan Hecker had been detained in Prey Sar prison since his arrest July 23 in Daun Penh district.

“The court decides to sentence Scott Alan Hecker to two years punishment, but his prison term is only seven months. The rest of the punishment will be probation and he is fined $1,000 for performing indecent acts on two minor siblings,” said Judge Seng Neang, adding that since Hecker has been in jail since July, he will be released from prison next month.

During his trial Jan 28, Hecker admitted to a three-year relationship with the girls, which included taking them from their home in Preah Sihanouk province to Phnom Penh. He denied sexually abusing the girls.

The victims’ lawyer, Peng Maneth, of the anti-pedophile NGO Action Pour Les Enfants, said the sentence was not long enough.

“Mr Hecker often touched their breasts and touched their vaginas while they swam in the sea and rode a motorbike together,” Ms Maneth said, adding that she will file an appeal against the sentence.

Theng Meng Ngy, the defendant’s lawyer, said Hecker will be released some time in March, but he did not know his client’s plans for after his release.

“This verdict is not justice for my client because he did not do indecent acts on those girls,” he said.

The girls’ mother Mey Kin Chhorn said after the verdict that Hecker had only good intentions and that she supported him.

“Mr Hecker is a good person. He did not perform indecent acts on my daughters,” he said.

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