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American convicted of raping boy, 10, in Siem Reap

In a video from 2015, John Zollbrecht speaks to a Seattle church about his charity work in Cambodia. Photo supplied
In a video from 2015, John Zollbrecht speaks to a Seattle church about his charity work in Cambodia. Photo supplied

American convicted of raping boy, 10, in Siem Reap

A 79-year-old American man was sentenced to one year in prison for raping a 10-year-old boy by Siem Reap Provincial Court on Wednesday.

John Paul Zollbrecht, of Washington state, was sentenced to one year in prison while a Cambodian man who helped facilitate the abuse, 23-year-old Nheb Sophorn, was sentenced to one and a half years. Both were found guilty of sexual intercourse with a minor under 15 years of age.

Vando Khoem, of the child protection NGO Action Pour Les Enfants, said he did not know why their sentences were unusually short, pointing out that the charge carries a minimum sentence of five years. The victim’s family plans to appeal the sentencing, according to Khoem.

He also expressed disappointment that the judge did not order Zollbrecht’s deportation.

“Deportation is a preventive measure,” Khoem said. “We want deportation to be mandatory because it will prevent re-offending in Cambodia.”

Siem Reap Provincial Court administrative chief Yin Sreang said he did not have any information on the case.

Zollbrecht, who ran a community education program in Sror Nge commune, was arrested last February after APLE tipped off authorities about his suspicious behaviour.

Americans who sexually abuse children overseas can be prosecuted in the US. American missionary Daniel Stephen Johnson, who was deported in 2014 after serving his sentence for sexually abusing five boys in Cambodia, is now being tried in US federal court.

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