A Canadian man arrested in Siem Reap City in February on suspicion of having sexually abused underage boys denied the allegations during his trial on Friday at the provincial court.
Pierre Deslauriers, 70, was arrested on February 23, when police broke down the door to his rented room. Police said the man tried to kill himself upon arrest, stabbing himself in the abdomen and cutting his wrists with a pocketknife. They managed to wrest the knife away and took him to a local hospital, where he was treated.
Mr. Deslauriers was subsequently charged with abusing eight boys, all of them 14 years old or younger.
His lawyer, Ly Buntheang, said his client denied the charges at his trial on Friday and claimed that all of the boys had begged him for money. He said Mr. Deslauriers claimed he gave them each $1 but had asked two of them to clean his room first.
“Two of the boys asked him for $1 and he asked them to go to his rented room and help him clean it, and he let them play games on his computer,” he said.
He said all eight boys testified against Mr. Deslauriers on Friday.
Chea Nara, the lawyer representing the alleged victims, confirmed that Mr. Deslauriers denied the charges against him in court, but declined to discuss the case or the trial, other than to reaffirm that the boys were indeed abused by the Canadian.
“I cannot tell you about the witnesses [the boys] for their own protection,” he said.
Mr. Nara said a verdict would be announced on Friday.
After Mr. Deslauriers’ arrest in February, the Montreal-based newspaper La Presse reported he had multiple child sex convictions in Canada, and had served a five-year jail sentence for molesting two girls, aged 3 and 5.
La Presse also reported that he was a vocal defender of pedophilia and had given public speeches and written articles in favor of allowing adults to have sex with children, as well as producing his own child pornography in a studio.