Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Joseph Pepe Gets 210 Years In U.S. Prison For Raping Seven Cambodian Girls

Michael Joseph Pepe 

(News photo taken in 2006)

Pepe showed no remorse when he was sentenced on Friday in federal court after a 2008 conviction for raping and molesting at least seven girls, who are Cambodian nationals between the age of 9 to 12.

By H. Nelson Goodson
March 5, 2014

Los Angeles, CA - On Friday, U.S. District Court Judge Dale S. Fischer sentenced Michael Joseph Pepe,  60, of Oxnard,  a retired U.S. Marine captain to 210 years in a federal prison for raping and savagely molesting at least seven young Cambodian girls between the age of 9 to 12, while he was living abroad. Judge Fischer also ordered Pepe to pay $247,000 in restitution to the victims. 
Pepe was convicted in May 2008 for seven counts of having sexual contact with a child abroad, under a federal law that makes it a federal crime for Americans to travel abroad to rape, molest or pay to have sex with children. During the trial, prosecutors presented testimony from six of the seven girls, Pepe sexually abused. The girls, who were between the ages of 9 and 13 at the time of the abuse, testified that Pepe drugged, bound, beat and raped them. Several victims testified that Pepe required them to give him sexual massages and perform oral sex on him on a daily basis.
Each count brought a 30 year sentence for Pepe.
Pepe was taken into custody at his Phnom Penh home in 2006 by Cambodian National Police on charges that he repeatedly drugged, beat, raped and forced the young girls to perform oral sex between the Fall of 2005 to June 2006. Pepe was extradited to the U.S. in 2007.
Judge Fischer said in court that Pepe showed no remorse and that the stiff sentence would send a strong message that U.S. Citizens that travel abroad for the purpose to engage in sexual contact with children would be severely punished. "Monstrous does not begin to capture the horror of the crime or the impact on the victims," Judge Fischer said.
Pepe moved to Cambodia in 2003 and got married. Federal prosecutors claimed that he paid a prostitute a finder's fee to get him young girls between the ages of 9 to 15. He would even pay the parents of the girls about $30 a month or $300, so he could spend time alone with the girls while acting on his sexual urges on the girls. The parents of the girls were also taken into custody for selling their daughters for sex and prostitution. 
The prostitute who acted as Pepe's broker testified on videotape about bringing young victims to his residence. Pepe paid the broker and the victims' families for unlimited access to the girls, according to federal prosecutors. 
Police in Cambodia found a bedroom that was equipped with bondage type of restraints, including condoms, viagra, mind altering drugs and pedophilia newspaper articles. They also confiscated his computer,  which had hundreds of images of child pornography and children held in bondage and adults performing sex acts on them.
"This sentence clearly demonstrates to the Cambodian people that the United States will not tolerate this type of abuse," said William E. Todd, the United States Ambassador to Cambodia. "This sentence not only signals to the Cambodian victims our commitment to justice, but it will also act as a powerful deterrent for those individuals who are contemplating traveling to Cambodia to engage in illegal sexual activity with minors."
Homeland Security Investigators received substantial assistance in the investigation from the Department of State's Diplomatic Security Service and the Cambodian National Police.
Pepe was prosecuted under the provisions of the PROTECT Act, which took effect in 2003. The act substantially strengthened federal laws against predatory crimes involving children outside the United States by adding new crimes and increasing sentences.

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