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Retired Marine Corps Captain Gets 210 Years In Prison For Abusing Young Girls In Cambodia

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LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A retired Marine Corps captain was sentenced to more than 200 years in federal prison for violently sexually abusing young girls in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

Michael Pepe, 60, was convicted in May 2008 after just one hour of jury deliberations of seven felony counts of engaging in illicit sexual conduct in foreign places. Pepe was prosecuted under a federal law targeting people who engage in child sex tourism.

Pepe, whose U.S. address was listed as Oxnard, was working part-time as a professor at a Cambodian university when he was arrested by Cambodian National Police in June 2006.

The investigation into Pepe began when a victim reported that she and several other children had been abused by him. During a search of his Phnom Penh villa, police found three female victims, aged 9, 10 and 11, along with hundreds of pornographic images, various drugs, children’s clothes, and rope and cloth strips, which victims said Pepe used to bind and gag them, according to court filings.

Further investigation in Cambodia located four more minor victims, ranging in age from 10 to 14.

Cambodian police arrested Pepe in 2006 and he was extradited to the United States the following year.

According to court papers, Pepe receives $1,200 a month from the U.S. Department of Defense for his military and disability compensation, but the payments will likely be curtailed once he is sentenced.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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