Khmer Times/Jonathan Cox Sunday, 24 April 2016 1408 views

US Man Accused of Pedophilia To Be Deported Wednesday

Eric Erdman was detained on Thursday by immigration police on charges of staying in the country with an expired passport, and officials said he will be deported this week to stand trial for sex crimes back in the United States.
 

He has since been released to Calmette Hospital, where he is left unguarded, and according to immigration officials he will be boarding a flight to the US on Wednesday, again unguarded, though they said he would be detained upon arrival in America.
 

Mr. Erdman maintains his arrest is a bizarre case of mistaken identity, saying he was confused for a man with a similar name wanted on pedophilia charges in the US. An Eric David Erdmann (two ‘n’s) was charged with five counts of “encouraging child sex abuse” in Oregon’s Multnomah County in July of 2010. According to sites monitoring court records, Mr. Erdmann has been on the run since fleeing probation in 2013.
 

Director of the Interior Ministry’s immigration department Ouk Hysela told Khmer Times yesterday that Erdman and Erdmann are one and the same. He added an embassy official had told him Mr. Erdman would stand trial for pedophilia charges after returning to the US. “He had a pedophilia case in 2010,” Mr. Ouk said.
 

“All I can do is tell you what I know,” a flustered Mr. Erdman told Khmer Times yesterday. “I’m not wanted for sex charges.” He maintained that he was in Wisconsin at the time of Erdmann’s arrest in Oregon.
 

The US Embassy declined to comment on Mr. Erdman’s case because of “privacy concerns,” but Mr. Hysela told Khmer Times that the embassy first tipped them off that Mr. Erdman was a fugitive sex offender. “We’d heard from the embassy people who said he was involved with pedophilia charges in America,” Mr. Hysela said.  
 

When Mr. Erdman applied for a new passport two months ago, immigration officials said the embassy denied his application because of the suspected pedophilia charges. “When he came to the embassy he didn’t get the new passport because of his case in the US,” Mr. Ouk said, referring to the outstanding pedophilia charges against Mr. Erdman.  
 

Mr. Erdman’s visa expired, and immigration police arrested him around 3 pm on Thursday. Photos taken of the arrest show immigration police waiting outside Mr. Erdman’s apartment in BKK1, before he was brought out in a wheelchair, his leg in a cast.
 

Mr. Erdman was kept in an immigration holding cell overnight and embassy officials came to question him Friday morning. Here, Mr. Erdman’s account differs from Mr. Hysela. Mr. Erdman said the embassy officials only asked him about his expired passport, while Mr. Hysela said they questioned him about the alleged pedophilia charges. After the questioning, Mr. Hysela said, an unnamed embassy official confirmed that Mr. Erdman was indeed the wanted sex offender.  
 

After the meeting with Embassy officials, Mr. Erdman was transferred to Calmette Hospital, where his wife has been helping to care for him. There were reportedly guards outside his room early in the day, but when Khmer Times visited later in the evening the room was unguarded.
 

Mr. Erdman is being deported on Wednesday, after receiving his new passport from the embassy. “I don’t even know where the hell this sh – t came from,” he said, still maintaining that the sex crime allegations are mistaken. “I do have an expired visa, and I do have to go home. I’m flying home to Florida on Wednesday. But I’m not being escorted by an air marshal or anything like that...I’m just going home.”

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