For years, Russian serial pedophile Alexander Trofimov preyed on Cambodian street children while overseeing the development of a $300-million luxury resort off the coast of Sihanoukville.
Now, Cambodia’s most notorious foreign pedophile—who was extradited to Russia in June last year—is set to stand trial in Moscow, accused of 20 counts of raping and sexually assaulting multiple young girls in his native country between 2003 and 2004, according to a statement posted to the website of the Russian Investigative Committee’s Moscow branch on October 31.
Without explicitly naming Trofimov, whose real name is Stanislav Molodyakov, the statement begins: “A 46-year-old man from the Moscow region who hid from investigators in the Kingdom of Cambodia will appear before the court.”
Trofimov will face 11 counts of raping children under the age of 14 and nine counts of sexually assaulting children under the age of 14 in Russia, the statement says.
“According to investigators, the 46-year-old man in the period from July 2003 to April 2004 repeatedly committed rape and sexual assault against girls in the Mytishchi district of greater Moscow. At the time of the crimes, the victims were between 8 and 13 years old,” the court document states.
The statement then describes how Trofimov fled to Cambodia “immediately following his last offense” in Moscow, where he hid until he was sent back to Russia in June 2012, adding that the pedophile has been “remanded in custody” ever since.
A source in Moscow familiar with Trofimov’s case Wednesday confirmed that he has been in prison since his return to Russia from Cambodia, and said he was deemed mentally fit to stand trial by a government-run psychiatric center in March.
Trofimov, once the executive director of the Koh Puos Investment Group, which had a $300 million hotel and shopping development planned for Snake Island off the coast of Sihanoukville, was arrested in October 2007 and sentenced to 17 years in prison for sexually abusing 15 young girls in Sihanoukville.
Trofimov appealed his conviction, and his subsequent trials to remain a free man and avoid extradition to Russia made a mockery of the justice system.
One hearing was delayed three times because one of Trofimov’s lawyers had a “sore throat.” At another hearing, Trofimov’s lawyers claimed their client could not have abused his 15 victims because he was impotent, which had been proven through a “touch test” conducted by female doctors at a Phnom Penh health department. In June 2009, a Justice Ministry official was arrested for taking a $250,000 bribe to forge a document, which included Prime Minister Hun Sen’s signature, to secure Trofimov’s release from prison. Trofimov’s lawyers even sued the clerk to get their client’s massive bribe back. The government also refused multiple requests from Russia to extradite the pedophile.
In the end, Trofimov served just four years in prison—during which he was allowed to leave his cell and visit the construction site of his Sihanoukville development at least once—and was finally and quietly released by Royal Pardon in December 2011, all the while on Interpol’s list of most-wanted criminals for his offenses against children in Russia.
Outraged by the government’s granting of Trofimov’s early release from prison, child protection NGOs submitted a petition to the Interior Ministry, requesting his immediate deportation.
The U.S. Embassy also made a rare comment on a case involving a foreign citizen, calling Cambodia’s refusal to extradite Trofimov to Russia a “threat” to the country’s reputation.
But, by then, Trofimov had disappeared.
Although the Interior Ministry said Trofimov had left the country, in the two months following his release, there were multiple reported sightings of the Russian in Sihanoukville and Phnom Penh. His victims, then in their late teens and early 20s, feared he would return to find them.
“Everybody in Kompong Som knows him. His footsteps shake the Earth,” one of his victims said during an interview in Sihanoukville in February last year.
Then, on March 8 last year, Trofimov was spotted by Cambodia Daily reporters buying groceries at Pencil Supermarket on Phnom Penh’s Street 214.
The Russian brushed off questions and sped away in a white Lexus SUV with government-issued VIP parking permits displayed prominently in the vehicle’s window.
The following day, Deputy National Police Commissioner Lieutenant General Sok Phal summoned the reporters to his office and promised to deport Trofimov.
But it took almost three months before, on the morning of June 4, Trofimov was arrested once again, in Kandal province’s Ponhea Leu district, where he had been living with the family of a girl “about 11 or 12 years old” that he “loved,” police said at the time. He was extradited to Russia later that month and arrested on arrival at the Moscow airport on June 22.
Yesterday, child protection NGOs that have long provided care and psychological counseling for Trofimov’s many victims lauded the prospect of a fair trial for the pedophile in Russia.
“Obviously we are extremely happy,” said Maggie Eno, founder and director of M’Lop Tapang, an organization working with street children in Sihanoukville.
“When the justice system follows through…of course that has a positive effect on the victims and their families,” Ms. Eno said, adding that M’Lop Tapang is still working with three of Trofimov’s victims.
“The [prospect of] justice will make a big difference for the people who are here,” she added.
Samleang Seila, country director of child protection NGO Action por les Enfants—which at the time of his initial arrest in 2007 identified no less than 24 young girls that had been sexually abused by Trofimov—said the possibility that he might serve a long prison sentence for the crimes he committed in Russia will go a long way toward making up for the gross mishandling of his case in Cambodia.
“Royal Pardons, sentence reductions…the frustrations going on for so many years were affecting the psychology of the victims and their families here,” Mr. Seila said, adding that now, Trofimov’s victims have hope of some closure.
“This is justice,” he said.