An American teacher who was deported from Cambodia last year for breaching a court order related to a U.S. child sex crime case has been sentenced to 21 months in prison and banned from accessing the internet for five years once he is released.
Eric Erdmann, 45, was arrested at his Phnom Penh home in Chamkar Mon district’s Boeng Keng Kang I commune in April last year after the U.S. Embassy denied his application for a new passport over an outstanding arrest warrant in the U.S. state of Oregon.
He was accused of breaching a court order over a 2010 conviction for encouraging child sexual abuse through pornography. Following his arrest, Mr. Erdmann, who has a Cambodian wife, professed his innocence in a forum on the popular expat website Khmer440.com, posting photographs of himself dining in an open-air setting and saying he remained free.
It quickly transpired, however, that he was receiving treatment for a broken leg at Phnom Penh’s Calmette Hospital while under police supervision.
He was deported from Cambodia less than a week after his arrest. Appearing in court on Monday in the U.S. state of Florida, where he also had lived, Mr. Erdmann was sentenced to 21 months in jail. He will then need to serve five years’ probation, which will include being banned from using the internet and having no direct contact with minors without the written approval of his probation officer.
The sentencing memorandum issued by the U.S. government asserted that Mr. Erdmann “had never shown any remorse for his actions” due to his efforts to dupe members of the public in Cambodia into thinking the media had wrongly identified him.
“When confronted by the local Cambodian media about his past conviction, the defendant claimed that the media was attacking him and that he was going to ‘go after the journalist who wrote the article,’” the memo said.
It also stated that Mr. Erdmann had worked at various institutions, including the Home of English International School in Phnom Penh, which he “deliberately” chose, knowing he could have access to students as young as 6 years old.
Home of English’s operations and finance manager, Michael Billington, denied the school had ever hired Mr. Erdmann.
“We never employed him. We tested him and let him go. We didn’t like the way he taught,” Mr. Billington said in an email on Tuesday. “As far as we knew, the only thing he was guilty of was being a bad teacher.”