American Sex Offender Gets 10 Years
The Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday handed down a verdict in the case of Brian David Naswall, investor and former CEO of Aero Cambodia, over allegations he had sexual intercourse with nine underage Cambodian girls between 2011 and 2015 in Cambodia.
The court sentenced him to 10 years in prison and ordered him to pay a total of 48 million riel (about $12,000) to the victims.
Khy Chhay, presiding judge of the court, said Mr. Naswall, a 53-year-old American, was charged by the court’s prosecutor with the “purchase of child prostitution” under article 34 of the Law on Suppression of Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation.
“The court convicted him to 10 years in prison. It is ordering him to pay 8 million riel [about $2,000] to each of the six victims in this case,” the judge said.
He added that in this case, Mr. Naswall allegedly had sex with nine girls aged from eight to 14 in 2011, 2013 and 2015 in Cambodia. He was arrested by the Cambodian anti-human trafficking and juvenile protection unit in Phnom Penh on May 22, 2015, at midnight on Koh Pich in Chamkar Mon district’s Tonle Bassac commune.
Vando Khoem, program director at APLE Cambodia, said that in May 2015, Mr. Naswall was caught red-handed by Tonle Bassac police while engaging in sex with a 12-year-old girl in the presence of two other underage girls.
He said Mr. Naswall lured the girls to a quiet place on Koh Pich where he sexually abused one of the girls with the promise to pay her $20 and $15 to each of the other two girls. After his arrest, officials at the anti-human trafficking and juvenile protection department took over the case.
Mr. Khoem added that most of the victims’ families expressed their concern after the court failed to order Mr. Naswall’s deportation. They see a high risk that Mr. Naswall will pose to their families and their children’s safety. They called on the court to rethink a deportation order for their community’s safety.
“I applaud the decision of the court. However, I express my heartfelt disappointment that the court didn’t order his deportation. By not deporting him upon serving his imprisonment means allowing him further opportunities to prey on Cambodian children. Deportation should be made automatically,” said Mr. Khoem.
Mr. Naswall, however, told Khmer Times yesterday that it was an injustice and he did not accept the verdict because it was not a fair trial for him as he did not do any of the things he was accused of.
He said he will appeal the case to the Appeal Court.
“My conviction today is not a victory for APLE or justice. It’s a loss for all innocent, wrongfully convicted persons by a corrupt justice system and the gangster organization known as APLE who’s credibility has been in question since it’s been in Cambodia,” Mr. Naswall said in a statement given to Khmer Times.
“When a major investor and supporter of tourism can be taken out with no evidence, no photos, no medical statements, only the coerced and bribed statements of some frightened children who have been abducted from their families by APLE and forced to make false factitious statements that are absolutely untrue, they are lied to and told they will never see their mothers or fathers again unless they say what APLE tells them to say.
“And they offered money to lie. This is not justice or a victory for APLE.
“Investors should think very hard about coming to Cambodia to invest. Investors have no protection from corruption or a corrupt justice system. It just takes only the smallest circumstantial allegation against you and you will lose your investment and you can lose your freedom. Just ask the 100s of investors like me who are in jail here.
“A warning to tourists. Do not talk to any children, do not buy anything from them or offer them money or food. Under Cambodian law you’re committing human trafficking, and it just takes one child with the help of APLE to falsely accuse you and you’re in jail.
“APLE, to justify their existence here, needs to falsify and overstate the sex crimes, fabricate statements of victims, forcing them to say they’ve been abused. It’s a giant scam to collect hundreds of thousands of dollars from donators to feed their evil empire.”
Mr. Naswall said he was a foreign investor in Cambodia. He has been working and living in Cambodia for 12 years. He is married to a Khmer woman and has a six-year-old daughter.
He added that since he was arrested, he has lost his business in Cambodia. He has requested the court release him so he can resume his business with Aero Cambodia.
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