An American man arrested on suspicion of sexually abusing a
13-year-old girl he had unofficially adopted from her parents will appear
before prosecutors Friday for questioning, a court official and police said.
Jason Baumbach, 40, was arrested by anti-trafficking police
at a rented house in Phnom Penh's
Tuol Kork district on Tuesday. He was taken to Phnom Penh Municipal Court on
Thursday, but he was not questioned due to time constraints.
"I have not yet questioned him, because he was sent in
the evening," said Deputy Prosecutor Sok Kalyan. "I will question him
Brig. Gen. Bith Kimhong, director of the Ministry of
Interior's anti-trafficking and juvenile protection department, said Thursday
Baumbach had confessed to "touching the body" of the girl and
"kissing her" but had denied sexual relations with her.
Teng Manet, lawyer for the girl from the anti-trafficking
group Action Pour Les Enfants, said the suspect had had sexual relations with
the girls "many times" since 2007.
He had known the girl since last year, through her older
sister, and had asked the girl's parents to be an adoptive father, Teng Manet
said. He had paid the girl $100 per month to study English.
"Because her parents trusted that man, they allowed her
to visit his house," Teng Manet said. "She frequently visited his
Embassy spokesman John Johnson declined to comment specifically on the case but
said the US "helps to
aggressively enforce…a US
law that makes it illegal for Americans to travel abroad to engage in illicit
sexual contact with minors."
The first three successful prosecutions under the US law, called the PROTECT Act, have involved
cases from Cambodia,