A Cambodian-American man was convicted by a U.S. federal jury in Alaska on Monday of attempting to travel to Cambodia to have sex with underage girls, U.S. media reported.
The U.S. district court found Jason Jayavarman, 45, of Anchorage, guilty of one count of attempted sexual exploitation of children and one count of attempted travel with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct in a foreign place, according to the website of KTVA 11 News in Alaska.
Each charge carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison, according to the U.S. Justice Department’s website.
According to court documents cited by the news outlet, after his arrest in August 2013 Mr. Jayavarman confessed to having sexual encounters with at least one young girl during visits to Cambodia and said in his defense that “it is cultural” in the country.
Samleang Seila, country director of child-protection NGO Action Pour Les Enfants (APLE), said Tuesday that the FBI contacted his organization in 2013 to assist in finding Mr. Jayavarman’s possible victims in Cambodia. He said that once APLE located the victims, the FBI conducted the interviews.
“We don’t have much detail of the crime committed here,” he said. “As far as we know the alleged crime involved Jason Jayavarman and his procurement of underage children for sex to his clients.”
Mr. Seila also said that the National Police were still trying to determine whether Mr. Jayavarman had any connections in Cambodia who had assisted him.
Pol Phiethey, director of the Interior Ministry’s department of anti-human trafficking and juvenile protection, said police were working on a case involving Mr. Jayavarman but declined to elaborate.
According to the KTVA article, an undercover FBI agent in 2013 told Mr. Jayavarman—who owned Jason’s International Youth Hostel in Anchorage—that he would be traveling to Cambodia and asked “how to get a child in Cambodia and if he could arrange for a child to be delivered to him and his friends.”
Mr. Jayavarman described to the FBI officer his sexual encounters with Cambodian girls as young as 12 between 2009 and 2013, which he said he had recorded in videos and photographs, KTVA reported.
According to an article on the website of Anchorage’s KTUU news, a statement from the U.S. district attorney’s office said Mr. Jayavarman filmed child pornography in Cambodia.
“Evidence presented at the trial established that Jayavarman produced multiple videos of child pornography in Cambodia between 2012 and 2013, which he then transported to the United States,” the article quotes the statement as saying.
KTVA also reported that an FBI raid of his residence found such homemade videos and that he planned to travel to Cambodia again in August 2013.
(Additional reporting by Ouch Sony)