A Canadian man has been charged with sexually abusing two Cambodian girls, ages 10 and 12, and could face up to 13 years imprisonment if convicted, authorities said Wednesday.
Mok Pheang, a prosecutor in Sihanoukville province, said that Daniel Lavigne, 68, of Quebec province was charged Wednesday with having sexual intercourse and committing indecent acts with minors.
Police arrested Lavigne on Monday at the bus station in Sihanoukville town, said Soun Sophan, deputy police chief of the coastal city 185 kilometers (115 miles) southwest of Phnom Penh.
The suspect was headed to the capital, Phnom Penh, with the two girls, Soun Sophan said
The officer said Lavigne denied the charges, claiming that he treated the girls as his adopted daughters. But the girls told police that the Canadian had sexually molested them at a guesthouse.
Lax law enforcement and poverty have made Cambodia a prime destination for foreigners seeking sex with minors. However, police have in recent years stepped up efforts to fight the crime, and several foreigners are serving lengthy prison terms.