US Court Convicts Ex-Marine Of Child Sex Charges In Retrial

California: A jury in Los Angeles returned guilty verdicts today against a former U.S. Marine charged with molesting underage girls in Cambodia.

The federal court jury found Michael J. Pepe, 67, guilty on four counts of traveling from the U.S. to Cambodia in 2005 with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct with minors.

As U.S. District Judge Dale S. Fischer read the verdicts aloud, Pepe blinked rapidly and his face reddened, but otherwise he remained impassive. Afterward he could be heard to say, “I’m not really surprised.”

Judge Fischer, who presided over the seven-day trial, set a sentencing hearing for Dec. 6. The former Marine Corps captain faces a maximum term of 120 years.

Meanwhile, Pepe remains incarcerated at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Downtown Los Angeles.

At trial, a series of alleged victims, now women in their 20s, testified that Pepe raped and abused them at his villa in Toul Kork, an upscale district of Phnom Penh.

Most of the victims hailed from the slums of Svay Pak, a Cambodian village notorious for being a hotbed of child prostitution. FULL STORY (Warning, some disturbing details about the case given)

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