Businessman Jailed on Child Sex Charge

APAlexander Trofimov sitting Friday outside a Phnom Penh court that found him guilty of sexually abusing a 14-year-old.
PHNOM PENH, Cambodia -- A court in Cambodia sentenced Russian businessman Alexander Trofimov to 13 years in prison Friday for sexually abusing a 14-year-old girl, the second conviction of a foreigner on pedophilia charges this week.

Judge Ke Sakhan handed down the sentence against Trofimov, 41, after convicting him of debauchery, the legal term in Cambodia for sexual offenses against minors.

Cambodia has long been a magnet for foreign pedophiles. While corruption is prevalent in the judicial system, the courts have taken aggressive action against sex offenders in recent years.

The 14-year-old girl testified during a trial on Tuesday at Phnom Penh Municipal Court that Trofimov had sex with her four times in September last year.

She said she received $100 out of $1,000 the Russian man allegedly paid to a Cambodian broker to bring her to him.

Trofimov denied the charge, saying he did not know the girl.

The judge also sentenced a 34-year-old Cambodian man, Phal Vannara, to 11 years in prison for helping procure the girl for Trofimov.

The judge told the two men that they had one month to appeal the verdicts after ordering them to jointly pay $100,000 in compensation to the girl.

Trofimov runs a company that received permission from the Cambodian government in 2006 to develop Koh Puos, or Snake Island, into a tourist resort.

He was arrested in October on allegations that he had sexually abused as many as 19 girls since 2005, but so far he has only been charged in the case of the 14-year-old.

Ouch Sophal, Trofimov's Cambodian lawyer, called the verdict "unjust and unacceptable" and said the court did not produce any witnesses "other than only one girl who has pointed a finger at my client."

On Thursday, the same court sentenced Walter Munz, a 62-year-old German national, to a 15-year prison sentence for sexually abusing a 13-year-old girl.