New Zealander Graham Robert Cleghorn, 57, a long-time resident of Siem Reap province, was sentenced to 20 years in prison on Tuesday after he was found guilty of debauchery, court officials said. Cleghorn was also ordered to pay $2,000 to each of the five girls, aged between 15 and 19 years, who testified he had raped them. His Cambodian wife was given a three-year suspended sentence for being an accomplice to her husband’s crimes.
“The court has just sentenced the New Zealander to 20 years in prison and his wife to three years. But the wife’s sentence has been suspended,” said Plong Chhlam, Siem Reap provincial court director and the presiding judge in the case.
“We also demanded that the New Zealander pay $2,000 to each of the victims’ families and if he is not able to pay compensation he must get two more years in prison for each girl,” he said.
Plong Chhlam said Cleghorn’s wife, Buth Toeu, 34, was guilty of collecting the girls who lived at their home near Siem Reap town.
He said Cleghorn should have been administered a stiffer sentence.
“But I don’t think he can pay the compensation and he is now 57 years old, so the sentence we just decided on is fair,” he said.
Pol Sun, lawyer for the Cambodian Women’s Crisis Center, on Monday said the girls who testified against Cleghorn had reported to his organization that they were raped.
“The five victims have filed complaints to the court to ask the judge to punish the defendant and also ask for $10,000 compensation each,” Pol Sun said.
Cleghorn had employed 16 women at his home to do house work, but he also had the girls give him massages and have sex with him, he said.
Cleghorn’s lawyer, Ly Veng Heng, said on Monday that his client had helped many poor families and accused the CWCC of encouraging the five girls to make allegations against his client with the promise of large compensation payouts.