Micky Rife, 36, pleaded guilty to illicit sexual conduct earlier this year, admitting that he touched the girls under their clothing and inside or on their genital areas on more than one occasion.
Rife, a former teacher, committed the acts between March 7, 2013 and Dec. 9, 2018, when he resided in the Southeast Asian country to work.
He also admitted that the girls were under the age of 12.
In February 2018, law enforcement agents of the U.S. Embassy received allegations that Rife had been sexually assaulting a five-year-old student.
The allegations came from his ex-girlfriend, who also expressed concerns that he might be assaulting their adopted two-year-old daughter, according to the Khmer Times.
Afterward, a former vice principal of the school where Rife had taught revealed that she knows two students who had been molested by Rife: one in 2013 and the other in 2015.
The former vice principal responded with a written memorandum, which warned Rife to address his “misconduct and inappropriate behavior with children at the school,” according to Lexington Herald-Leader.
Homeland Security interviewed the mother of the students, who claimed that one of her daughters, then aged 4, reported pain while urinating.
The mother added that her daughters recalled “when Rife would throw them in the air and catch them and when doing so would place his hands underneath their skirts and touch” their private parts.
A series of investigations involving more girls, between the ages of 4 and 8, followed.
Rife was terminated on Dec. 5, 2018 and returned to the U.S. four days later.
He was arrested by the U.S. Marshals Service in January 2019 after allegations of his exploits had surfaced.
Federal law prohibits an American citizen or resident to travel to a foreign country to engage in any form of sexual conduct with a minor — defined as a person under the age of 18.
Rife’s prison sentence will be followed by 20 years of supervised release.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched by the Department of Justice in 2006 to combat child sexual exploitation and abuse.
Feature Images via Franklin County Regional Jail