Court Charges US Man With Sexually Abusing Young Boys

Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday charged a 56-year-old US man with the alleged sexual abuse of three underage boys he was caring for at his home in Phnom Penh, a court official said.

Police arrested James D’Agostino on Wednesday. He had lived in Cambodia for two years and occasionally acted as a doctor offering advice to staff at the National Ped­iatric Hospital, according to NGO Action Pour Les Enfants.

“The court charged an American man for purchasing sex from a child under article 34 of the anti-human trafficking law,” Deputy Prosecutor Kry Sok Y said yesterday.

The alleged victims are aged between 6 and 15 years old. The eldest has already told police that Mr D’Agostino had sex with him on multiple occasions since 2009, said Phnom Penh anti-human trafficking police chief Keo Thea.

Mr Thea said the police had cooperated with the US Federal Bureau of Investigation before making the arrest, and had found three laptops and a flash drive at Mr D’Agostino’s rental flat in Tuol Kok district’s Phsar Doeum Kor commune.

“Now we are waiting to open these computers, because according to the 12-year-old he has never seen pornography in the suspect’s computer,” Mr Thea said.

In a statement released Thursday, APLE said the suspect had bought the parents of one of the boys a house and helped another boy’s parents renovate their home.

Samleang Seila, country director for APLE, said yesterday that the tactic of supporting the family of the victim was a common one em­ployed by pedophiles with money.

He said that he was concerned about whether the victims’ families would complain to the court considering the amount of financial help they had received.

“He helped to construct road access in the victims’ families village in Kandal province,” he said.

Cambodian police have arrested five foreign pedophiles since Jan 1, three of which were found in Preah Sihanouk province.


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