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Saturday, May 31, 2008

Retired Marine guilty of 'sex tourism'

A retired Marine Corps captain was found guilty by a federal jury in Los Angeles on Thursday of traveling to Cambodia to engage in sex with children.

Michael Joseph Pepe, 54, was convicted of violating the federal Protect Act, which strengthened laws against predatory crimes involving children outside the United States.

Pepe was accused of drugging, raping and beating seven Cambodian girls ages 9 to 12. Six of the girls flew to the U.S. and testified during the three-week trial in front of U.S. District Judge Dale S. Fischer.

Several of the victims testified that Pepe required them to give him sexual massages and to perform oral sex on him on a daily basis, according to a news release by the U.S. attorney's office.

Prosecutors also presented evidence seized by Cambodian police during a search of Pepe's residence in Phnom Penh.

Pepe is scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 3.
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