Ex-Marine sentenced to 210 years in prison for beating, raping children in Cambodia

Ex-Marine sentenced to 210 years in prison for beating, raping children in Cambodia
Michelle De Pacina
February 15, 2022
A 68-year-old retired U.S. Marine Captain was sentenced on Monday to 210 years in federal prison for beating and raping Cambodian children.
Michael Joseph Pepe was convicted for a second time and sentenced on Monday for two counts of traveling to a foreign country with the intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct and two counts of aggravated sexual abuse of a child in Los Angeles federal court, reported the Los Angeles Times.
Pepe was reportedly working as a part-time professor in Phnom Penh when he hired a prostitute to procure children aged 9 to 12-years-old from their families between 2005 and 2006. He reportedly drugged, beat and sexually abused the children, leading to his arrest in 2006 when he was brought back to the U.S. to be charged in 2007.
The investigation began when one of his victims came forward. The Cambodian National Police discovered sedatives, restraints and child pornography images during a raid of Pepe’s home in 2006, according to the South China Morning Post.
While he was convicted in 2008 of seven felony counts, his sentencing was postponed until 2014 when the prosecutors found that lead investigator Gary J. Phillips was in a relationship with Vietnamese interpreter Ann Luong Spiratos, who translated some of the victims’ testimonies, according to the New York Post
In 2018, Pepe’s 2008 conviction was reversed after a divided appellate court determined prosecutors had not demonstrated that he was “traveling” when he sexually abused the young girls, as Pepe claimed to have been living in the country for years leading up to the events. His case was retried once again in August 2021 with eight of his victims testifying for the second time.
“What he did to those preteen girls was torture,” U.S. District Judge Dale S. Fischer  said. “[There is] no justification for a sentence that would ever allow [Pepe] to be released from prison.”
The ex-marine is scheduled for a restitution hearing on Feb. 28.
Share this Article
© 2024 NextShark, Inc. All rights reserved.