A New Zealander was found guilty of debauchery and sentenced in municipal court to 10 years imprisonment Thursday, a rare conviction in the country’s fight against so-called sex tourism.
Malcolm Anthony Hatfield, 58, was expressionless as Judge Thong Ol read the order sentencing him to the prison term and a $2,000 fine. He promptly filed an appeal and was led out of the courtroom with a krama over his face.
The verdict came after three boys testified that they had sexual contact with Hatfield, and that he at times showed them pornographic movies.
Hatfield said he fed, clothed and took care of the boys because they were poor orphans. He denied taking sexual favors from the children.
“I wonder, why did those boys call the police to arrest me and accuse me of raping them?” he told the court.
Cambodia launched a campaign last year to root out foreigners preying sexually on children —a campaign that has resulted in several arrests but only a handful of convictions. The last guilty verdict handed to a foreigner came February in Siem Reap, where New Zealander Graham Robert Cleghorn, 57, was sentenced to 20 years for debauchery.
Prosecutor Sok Roeun said Hatfield’s case typified the attitude that has made the country a destination for pedophiles.
“He regarded Cambodia as a pot for having sex,” Sok Roeun said.
One 11-year-old boy testified that Hatfield forced him to watch pornography while committing sex acts.
Another boy, 14, said Hatfield openly offered money for oral sex.
“He said he would give me some change if I agreed to have [oral sex] with him,” the boy testified. “I said OK, because I needed some food and money.”
Four boys originally accused Hatfield when he was arrested March 6. One boy could not attend the trial because he was at school, said Liv Vanna, an attorney for the NGO Action Pour Les Enfants who assisted in the case.