Sedona man charged in Cambodia sex tourism

By Jon Hutchinson, Staff Reporter

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

SAN FRANCISCO -- A Sedona man described as a sex-tourist was to appear in U.S. District Court with two other men deported from Cambodia last week for having sex with children in that country.

The 75-year old Sedona man, a man from Connecticut and one from California could be sentenced to prison for 30 years each for their flights to Cambodia to have child sex.

Jack Louis Sporich of Sedona is reported by the Cambodia Daily to have driven a motorbike through the streets of Siem Riep, dropping Cambodian currency to attract children.

Formerly of Santa Monica, Sporich spent nine years in prison after his conviction in Ventura County on seven counts of lewd acts upon children under 14. Then he was committed to Atascadero State Hospital as a "sexually violent predator" deemed too dangerous to be released upon completion of his sentence. He was released in May 2004, according to the Sacramento Bee.

Ronald Gerard Boyajian, 49, of Menlo Park, Calif., who was arrested by the Cambodian National Police in February. He allegedly engaged in sexual activity with a 10-year-old Vietnamese girl in an area outside Phnom Penh frequented by child sex tourists.

Erik Leonardus Peeters, 41, of Norwalk, Calif., was taken into custody by the CNP in late February accused of engaging in sexual activity with at least three Cambodian boys. Peeters, who arrived in Cambodia in May 2008, paid the minors $5 to $10 for sex according to the affidavit.

The three previously convicted sex offenders were the first to be charged under "Operation Twisted Traveler" program. ICE has stationed an agent in Cambodia full-time to focus in large part on such cases.

All three men were charged under the Protect Act, which became law six years ago to make it easier for U.S. authorities to prosecute people for overseas sex crimes.

According to the criminal complaint, Sporich formerly abused at least one underage Cambodian boy after he arrived there in November 2008. But he is reported to have been building a Cambodian home with a swimming pool, outfitted with a water slide and containing video games, toys and clothing. Several boys are said to have stayed there as well.

Boyajian, Peeters and Sporich each are charged with international travel and engaging in illicit sexual conduct with minors, a charge that carries a statutory maximum penalty of 30 years in federal prison in the United States. They would have faced misdemeanor sentences in Cambodia.

The Twisted Traveler cases are the result of information provided to ICE by investigators for Action Pour Les Enfants (APLE), a non-governmental organization (NGO) to combat child sexual exploitation, and International Justice Mission (IJM), a human rights agency that secures justice for victims of slavery, sexual exploitation and other forms of violent oppression.

The child sex tourism cases are the direct result of the unprecedented cooperation among the FBI and Department of State, the Cambodian government and NGOs to target Americans traveling to Cambodia to sexually exploit minors.

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