Former Lawyer Convicted For Child Sex Crimes Faces Charges In USA

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A former Tampa lawyer convicted of sex crimes in Cambodia was ordered back to Florida to face charges that he sexually abused minors overseas.

Rugh James Cline, 40, was convicted of indecent acts against minors under 15 years of age for paying four girls for sex during visits to Cambodia in February and May 2019. He was sentenced to 2 ½ years in a Cambodian prison and ordered to pay a $200 fine and $3,750 in compensation to each of the girls.

Cline is also said to have traveled to Cambodia with materials depicting the sexual abuse of children.

On Friday, United States Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez announced the return of an indictment charging Cline with five counts of engaging in illicit sexual conduct in a foreign place and one count of possessing child exploitation materials.

Once he serves out his sentence in Cambodia, Cline will be deported to the United States to face those charges. If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of 30 years in federal prison for each count of engaging in illicit sexual conduct in a foreign place and up to 20 years’ imprisonment for possessing child pornography, Lopez said.

Florida Bar records show Cline graduated from the University of Miami School of Law in 2010 and was admitted to the Bar later that year. As of this writing, he is no longer eligible to practice law in the state. WFLA

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