A US national who sexually abused a 13-year-old girl was sentenced by the Phnom Penh Muni-cipal Court on Thursday to 13 years in prison, Judge Chan Madina said by telephone.
The court also ordered Jason Todd Baumbach, 41, of Michigan to pay around $5,000 compensation to his victim, Chan Madina said.
Police arrested Baumbach in September for the abuse of the teenager, who was living with him at his Phnom Penh residence after the girl’s father agreed that he could adopt her. He also paid the girl $100 a month for English les-sons. A search of Baumbach’s residence turned up plastic vibrators and child pornography.
Baumbach’s lawyer, Chap Keo, said the court had unfairly ruled against his client. “The decision of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court provides injustice to my client, because the prosecution evidence was not clear,” Chap Keo said, add-ing that his client planned to appeal next week.
Chap Keo added that Baum-bach had not abused the girl and was paying the girl’s school fee be-cause her father had no job and has many children.
Peng Maneth, a lawyer for the anti-pedophile NGO Action Pour Les Enfants, said that the court had also ordered Baumbach to be de-ported after he has served his sentence. “We are satisfied…this person is dangerous to other children,” she said.
Seven foreign suspects have now been arrested on child sexual abuse charges since January, compared to four foreigners arrested in the first three months of 2008, ac-cording to APLE.
And so far this year, the Appeal Court has slashed the prison sentences of two foreign child abusers, German national Alexander Wat-rin, whose jail term was cut from 10 to 7 years, and Australian Dami-en James Walker, who will spend six years in prison instead of 10.
The Supreme Court on Wednes-day also upheld a massive reduc-tion in the sentence of convicted Belgian pedophile Phillipe Dessart from 18 years to just 3 years. Des-sart had previously spent time in prison in Belgium for the abuse of children there.