The Phnom Penh Municipal Court on March 14 handed down a 13-year prison sentence to a prominent Russian investor for having sex with a 14-year-old girl, one of 19 girls the defendant allegedly sexually abused.
Alexander Trofimov, 41, executive director of the Koh Puos Investment Group, was tried March 11 for debauchery along with Cambodian Phal Vannara, who had been accused of conspiracy to commit debauchery.
“Even though the charged person, Alexander Trofimov, had denied committing debauchery, the court believes that he really did what was claimed by the victim,” Judge Ke Sakhorn, chief of the three-judge panel hearing the case, told the court.
Ke Sakhorn also announced a guilty verdict for Phal Vannara, who was sentenced to 11 years in prison for procuring the 14-year-old victim for Trofimov. In reading the court’s decision, Ke Sakhorn said that Phal Vannara had confessed to the crime.
The judges also ordered the two convicted men to pay a combined $100,000 in compensation to the victim.
One of Trofimov’s defense attorneys, So Dara, said by phone after the hearing that the judges’ ruling had been too harsh, and said his client would appeal.
So Dara also called into question the age of the victim, noting that her brother had told the court that she was 16 at the time of the sexual encounters with Trofimov.
“If she was 16 years old, there was no crime…. There was doubt about her age,” he said.
Han Menghoeung, an attorney with the NGO Protection of Juvenile Justice who represented the victim, said by telephone that he was satisfied with the decision.
“It is acceptable given the damage done mentally and physically to my client,” he said.
The court Friday also postponed the debauchery trial of Austrian national Olaf Achleiter.
Achleiter was scheduled to appear before the court Friday to answer charges of sexually abusing two 14-year-old boys last September, but his attorney Dun Vibol asked for a delay until a German translator could be found. Ke Sakhorn granted the request, postponing the hearing to an unspecified date.
Speaking to reporters outside the courtroom, Achleiter denied abusing the two boys.