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American jailed for sexually abusing three underage girls

Khy Sovuthy / Khmer Times Share:
Rugh James Cline was sentenced to 30 months behind bars. Swift News

Siem Reap Provincial Court has sentenced an American to 30 months in prison for sexually abusing three underage girls.

Court spokesman Yin Srang yesterday identified him as Rugh James Cline and said he was sentenced on Thursday for committing indecent acts against minors under 15 years of age after paying to have sex with them during visits to Siem Reap city in February and May.

“Siem Reap provincial court sentenced Rugh James Cline to two-and-a half years in jail for committing indecent acts against three underage girls,” he said. “The court also ordered him to pay about $3,750 in compensation to each of three victims.

Mr Srang noted that he was not sure if Mr Cline had a lawyer representing him during the trial.

Mr Cline was charged on May 22 and placed in pre-trial detention following his arrest on May 20, when he was brought in for questioning over accusations that he had molested the underage girls.

Chhun Rith, the father of a victim, yesterday said by phone that he did not know about the law and accepted the court’s decision.

“I think that the provincial court meted out the sentence based on the law, so I accept the decision,” he said.

Rath Navann, 34, the mother of another victim, could not be reached for comment yesterday but had said after Mr Cline’s arrest that her 12-year-old daughter filed a complaint against him. Ms Navann noted that she was demanding $10,000 in compensation.

“I think what the American man did was very bad because he dared to commit a crime against children. I ask the provincial court to sentence him in accordance with the law,” she said then.

A press release issued by Anti-Paedophile organisation Action Pour Les Enfants on Thursday said that the provincial police Anti-human Trafficking and Juvenile Protection Bureau had received information about possible child sexual abuse of street girls and launched an investigation in May.

It said that during the course of the investigation, police identified the suspect as Mr Cline who had visited Siem Reap city in February and May.

Aple said that during his second visit, Mr Cline invited the girls from Pub Street to his accommodation to have sex with him, noting that the victims said he paid them a total of $120.

“Although I welcome the verdict, I believe that Mr Cline should have been charged with purchase of child prostitution because he took advantage of the victims by coercing them with money,” Aple executive director, Seila Samleang said in the press release. “This would have resulted in a longer jail sentence.”

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American convicted for sexually abusing underage girls