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Published On: Thu, Apr 20th, 2017

Cambodian-American Child Sex Offender Tran Saravuth Detained in Cambodia Has Active US Warrants

nsnbc : U.S. court records show that the Cambodian – American Tran Saravuth who was charged in Takeo province last week for alleged crimes against 11 local boys has active warrants in the United States. The discovery and similar cases in regional countries underpin the need for strengthening international cooperation with regard to child sex offenders.

Courtesy APLE

Courtesy APLE

U.S. court records show felony child sex charges as well as outstanding warrants against the Cambodian – American. Earlier this  month Tan Saravuth was arrested in Cambodia for for allegedly grooming, providing gifts to and molesting 11 boys aged 10 to 15 years old in Takeo province’s Tram Kak.

In 1996 Saravuth was charged with three counts of felony sexual abuse in the U.S. State of Oregon for allegedly touching the genitals of two boys, show court records available here. Also in 1996, in the month of May, Saravuth was accused by a Washington County Grand Jury of subjecting an 8-year-old boy to sexual contact by touching his penis one moth earlier, in April that year.

In yet another case, this one from September 1996, Saravuth was charged by a Multnomah Country Grand Jury with committing two counts of criminal sexual abuse “on or between January 1, 1995 and May 24, 1996.” The alleged victim in this case was also a boy. There are two outstanding warrants for Mr. Saravuth’s arrest related to the charges for failing to appear in court, according to the Oregon courts’ database.

Saravuth was arrested in early April 2017 in the Daun Penh district of the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh reported the NGO Action Pour Les Enfants (APLE). He has been under investigation since the middle of 2016 added the NGO, which means already before the parents of one of the boys filed a complaint in December 2016.

The eleven boys who were not identified by their names are reportedly between 10 and 15 years old. All of the alleged victims were from Takeo’s Tram Kak district where Saravuth has been residing. APLE stated that Saravuth had returned to Cambodia in 1997 and had been living in the province since about 2002, where he, according to police,  started to groom local children and built trust with various families by, among others, lending them money before he ultimately took the boys home to his residence.

APLE’s program director, Khoem Vando, said Saravuth’s Cambodian ID card lists his date of birth as January 30, 1970 while his U.S. passport lists his date of birth as January 1, 1970. U.S. Court Records list his date of birth as January 1, 1960.

Commenting on the arrest of Saravuth earlier this month Suth Bunthorn, the director of the provincial anti-human trafficking and juvenile protection bureau told the press that Tan Saravuth “confessed to touching the boys’ genitals”. The family of one of the boys filed a complaint with the local police said Bunthorn who added that the suspect was able to elude authorities until his arrest by traveling to Thailand and Battambang province.

The lack of international coordination and cooperation with regard to child sex offenders, especially those with dual citizenship, came to light in a comment made by Keo Vannthan, a spokesman for the Cambodian Interior Ministry’s General Department of Immigration.

Vannthan said Cambodian authorities rely on information from other countries to catch convicted foreigners attempting to enter Cambodia. “If someone committed crimes (in another country where they hold a passport) if there are diplomatic channels, Interpol police and a request, we will make the arrest. Otherwise, we won’t know,” he said earlier this month commenting on the arrest.

Many countries in the region, including Cambodia, have no sex offender registries and international cooperation and coordination is based on an ad hoc rather then organized and preventative basis.

U.S. Child Sex Offender working at Jakarta International School.

U.S. Child Sex Offender working at Jakarta International School.

In 2014 Jakarta International School in the capital of Indonesia attracted international attention when it came to light that the school employed US American sex predator William James Vahey as a teacher. The revelation came amidst a scandal that broke when a six-year old kindergarten boy at the school contracted herpes, following a sexual assault that allegedly has been perpetrated by out-sourced cleaners who were working in the  JIS bathroom. The school’s administration is being accused of the attempt to cover up the scandal.

The FBI reports that William James Vahey has taught at numerous international schools, including Jakarta International School. Vahey has been working with at least eleven international schools, coached boys basketball at several schools, and has participated in student study tours to a number of countries. Vahey’s career included posts at:

 Tehran American School in Iran from 1972-73; the American Community School of Beirut in Lebanon, 1973-75; the American School of Madrid in Spain, 1975-76; the Passargad School in Ahwaz, Iran, 1976-78; the American Community School in Athens, Greece, 1978-80; the Saudi Aramco Schools in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, 1980-92; the Jakarta International School in Indonesia, 1992-2002; the Escuela Campo Alegre in Caracas, Venezuela, 2002-09; and the Southbank International School in London, 2009-2013.

The FBI informs that Vahey, according to his resume, also participated in student study tours in the following countries: Thailand, India, Jordan, Nepal, Bahrain, Syria, Greece, Egypt, Russia, England, Kenya, Hungary, Turkey, Iran, Mexico, Panama, Costa Rica, and Venezuela. nsnbc international contacted Jakarta International School, but the school refused to comment.

CH/L – nsnbc 20.04.2017

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