Crime & Justice

'Sex tourists' arrested in Cambodia return to LA for prosecution

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Three men arrested in Cambodia are passing through Los Angeles to face federal charges relating to child sexual exploitation. KPCC’s Brian Watt reports.

Cambodian authorities arrested and detained Erik Peeters of Norwalk, Jack Sporich, formerly of Santa Monica, and Ronald Boyajian of Menlo Park seven months ago. Prosecutors in the United States charge them with international travel to engage in illicit conduct with minors. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in federal prison. The Justice Department says all three men have gone to jail before in this country for sex offenses.

The U.S. Department of Justice and Immigration and Customs Enforcement have worked with authorities abroad to target sex tourists who travel abroad to engage in sex with children. The agencies call their operation “Twisted Traveler,” and they’ve conducted training for law enforcement and other organizations in Cambodia. They’ve also received helpful information in cases from international child protection advocates and human rights groups.