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Cambodian-American charged with molesting village boys

Associated Press logo Associated Press 11/04/2017

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia — Prosecutors in Cambodia have charged a Cambodian-American man with sexually abusing 11 boys aged 10 to 15 years old.

Phan Sopheak, a court spokesman in Takeo province south of Phnom Penh, said Tan Saravuth was charged Tuesday with procuring children for prostitution, a crime punishable by seven to 15 years in prison. He was arrested Friday in Phnom Penh.

Police said Tan Saravuth was born in Cambodia but went to the United States as a refugee in the early 1980s. His personal documents give conflicting ages for him of 47 and 57.

Action Pour Les Enfants, a nongovernmental organization that combats child sex abuse, said he told police he was arrested in the United States for sexually molesting boys and returned to Cambodia around 1997. He moved to Takeo in 2002, where he was accused of molesting the boys after winning poor village families' trust with gifts to them and their children.

Police began investigating Tan Saravuth last year after the community began hearing stories of his activities.

Action Pour Les Enfants said in a statement that it had assisted police in their investigation and would provide psychological counseling and social support to the victims.

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