Ronald Boyajian, a 55-year-old American man convicted in March of repeatedly visiting Cambodia to sexually abuse young girls, was on Monday sentenced to 70 years in a U.S. federal prison in a case hailed as a success of Washington’s “Operation Twisted Traveler” initiative.

Mr. Boyajian’s mother, however, said her son was innocent and that the sentence was the result of an intergovernmental conspiracy.

The sentence, handed down by Judge Christina Snyder at court in Los Angeles, comes more than seven years after Mr. Boyajian was arrested in Phnom Penh and nearly five months after he was found guilty of abusing a 9-year-old girl in Cambodia, traveling to Cambodia with the intent of committing sex crimes and doing so while registered as a sex offender in California.

Mr. Boyajian “was sentenced today to 70 years in federal prison and $40,000 restitution to a victim,” the U.S. Justice Department announced in a statement on Monday.

“Four victims whom Boyajian had [allegedly] sexually assaulted testified against him at trial. Each girl was between 8 and 11 years old when Boyajian purchased them from their mother and grandmothers to sexually abuse them,” the statement said.

“One victim, who was approximately 8 when Boyajian assaulted her, testified at trial that ‘he was abusive, he was cruel, he treated me like I wasn’t even human.’”

In 1995, Boyajian was convicted of 22 counts of sex and oral sex with minors in his home state of California, according the Justice Department, and began traveling to Cambodia after finishing his parole.

Source : the Cambodia Daily