June 16, 2024 The Best Source of News, Culture, Lifestyle for Culver City, Mar Vista, Del Rey, Palms and West Los Angeles

Local Resident Faces Prison For “Sexual Tourism”

A onetime South Bay resident faces up to seven decades in federal prison at his sentencing today for traveling repeatedly to Cambodia to sexually assault impoverished children, four of whom testified to grueling sexual attacks that had jurors holding back tears.

Ronald “John” Boyajian — who was previously convicted over 20 years ago on nearly two dozen counts of statutory rape in Orange County — was found guilty in March of federal counts of international travel with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct with minors, engaging in illicit sexual conduct with a minor in foreign places, and commission of a felony offense involving a minor while required to register as a sex offender.

Boyajian, acting as his own attorney, kept the case at a stalemate for seven years prior to the start of the six-week trial in Los Angeles. The case docket has more than 1,500 entries, most of them motions filed almost daily by Boyajian in which he objects to each aspect of the proceedings and has accused the judge of conspiring against him behind the scenes. His latest attempt to delay sentencing was denied late last week by U.S. District Judge Christina Snyder.

Three women in their 20s who were children when they were sexually assaulted by the defendant, gave brief victim impact statements last week, telling the judge that the attacks had lasting, painful impacts on their lives.

Speaking through a translator, one of the women urged the judge “not to allow this man to leave prison because possibly there are other children out there that it could happen to — just like it happened to me.”

Crying, she said, “I don’t want this to happen to other children. I want other children to have a happy life.”

Another woman told the court that since she was attacked by Boyajian more than seven years ago, she fears men and often finds herself “grouchy” for no reason.

Boyajian, 55, who once lived in the Palos Verdes area, faces up to 70 years in federal prison for the two travel offenses and for committing the offenses while being required by California law to register as a sex offender.

A federal jury deliberated for about five hours before returning guilty verdicts on all counts contained in a federal indictment handed down in September 2009.

“This case is about a man who wanted to sexually assault children — and he found a place where he could do that,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Vanessa Baehr-Jones told the jury at the start of the trial.

Boyajian was arrested by the Cambodian National Police in February 2009 while on his 35th trip to Asia over a nine-year period. Boyajian began traveling to Cambodia — one of Southeast Asia’s poorest countries — shortly after completing his parole following convictions in Orange County for illegal sex with a minor and oral sex with a minor in 1994.

Federal prosecutors presented evidence the defendant sexually assaulted girls who were between 8 and 11. One victim, who was 8 when she was molested, testified that “he was cruel — he treated me like I wasn’t even human.”

Boyajian paid pimps and sometimes the victims’ relatives to have access to the children. The attacks took place in the village of Svay Pak — known as Kilo 11 because it is located 11 kilometers outside of Cambodia’s capital city of Phnom Penh — where the victims were Vietnamese immigrants who lived in the poor community.

A Cambodian police anti-human trafficking officer testified at trial that Svay Pak was notorious as a place where foreigners went to have sexual contact with young girls. Boyajian went to Svay Pak to have “unlimited access,” prosecutors said in court.

One of the females he assaulted — now an adult working in Cambodia to help fellow victims of predators — told jurors that Boyajian paid her grandmother to leave her alone with him in a wooden shack. She described being raped, beaten and bitten on the legs and calves by the defendant during multiple attacks.

Boyajian was among the first defendants charged under an international law enforcement initiative specifically targeting Americans traveling to Cambodia for the purpose of sexually abusing children. Operation Twisted Traveler was an effort by the Justice Department and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to crack down on sex tourism.

Boyajian has been in custody in Los Angeles since his removal from Cambodia seven years ago. In the years since he was charged, Boyajian lodged a raft of motions and continuances, ensuring the case remained deadlocked.

In the minutes before the jury was called into the courtroom for opening statements on Feb. 3, Boyajian made a motion to have Snyder removed from the case. Following the verdicts, the defendant immediately filed motions objecting to the jury’s racial mix, among other complaints.

The investigation of Boyajian was begun by the Cambodian non- governmental organization Action Pour Les Enfants — APLE — whose investigators said they witnessed Boyajian visiting a child brothel in Svay Pak.

“It was here — halfway across the world — that foreigners like the defendant could freely target children who were being sold into prostitution,” Baehr-Jones told the jury.

Boyajian was charged under the Protect Act, which became law in 2003 and made it easier for U.S. authorities to prosecute people for overseas sex crimes. Federal authorities have made more than 70 arrests under the act in countries including Cambodia, Thailand and the Philippines.

Related Posts

Marina del Rey Sportfishing: A Great Day on the Water

June 14, 2024

June 14, 2024

Fishing is a pastime like no other. You can experience the nostalgia of that pastime in real time at Marina...

University of Miami President to Replace Gene Block Amid Controversy

June 14, 2024

June 14, 2024

Julio Frenk Named New UCLA Chancellor at UC Regents Meeting The search for a new chancellor at UCLA is over....

Culver City Police Collaborate with VA and LASD to Aid Unhoused Veteran

June 14, 2024

June 14, 2024

Joint Efforts Lead to Successful Assistance for a Veteran in Need The Culver City Police Mental Evaluation Team collaborated with...

West Hollywood Kicks Off WeHo Pride Arts Festival This Weekend

June 14, 2024

June 14, 2024

Celebration Features Diverse LGBTQ+ Events From June 14-16 Each year, the City of West Hollywood celebrates the artistic contributions of...

30th Anniversary of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman Murders Commemorated with Virtual Vigil

June 13, 2024

June 13, 2024

Family Honors Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman in Virtual Candlelight Vigil This week marks the 30th anniversary of the...

Culver City PRCS Hosts Summer Splash Kick-Off Event

June 13, 2024

June 13, 2024

Join PRCS for Fun-Filled Recreational Swim Activities The Parks, Recreation, and Community Services (PRCS) department of Culver City is gearing...

Students for Justice in Palestine Establish Third Encampment on the UCLA Campus on June 10

June 12, 2024

June 12, 2024

UCLA Administration Calls in Four Police Groups Within Two Hours, Arrests 27 Pro-Palestinian protesters briefly established a third encampment on...

Los Angeles City Council Postpones Vote on Marilyn Monroe’s Former Home

June 12, 2024

June 12, 2024

Decision on Historic Monument Status Rescheduled for June 26  After Judge James Chalfant issued a preliminary decision on the motion...

AMC Theatres Unveils Eight Money-Saving Deals for Summer Movie Season

June 12, 2024

June 12, 2024

Enjoy Discounted Tickets, Special Promotions, and Fan Favorites at AMC If you are a movie lover who has not been...

Hang-Ten Therapeutics-Surf Therapy for Kids: Catching Waves and Finding your Calm

June 12, 2024

June 12, 2024

A different type of therapy is making waves in Los Angeles. Hang-Ten Therapeutics, founded by Naomi Matanick, a licensed pediatric...

(Video) The Opening of Pico Roots Marketplace in Santa Monica

June 12, 2024

June 12, 2024

Lots of friendly vendors with wonderful gifts, cards, clothing, decor, and coffee beans available at 1819 Pico Boulevard. @culvercitywlanews The...

Tien Pham Connects Personal History with Role in Robert Downey Jr.’s “The Sympathizer”

June 11, 2024

June 11, 2024

Family’s Harrowing Escape From Vietnam Mirrors the Acclaimed HBO Max Series Vietnamese American actor-musician-producer Tien Pham finds a deep connection...

The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf Debuts Refreshing Summer Menu with New Boba and Matcha Drinks

June 11, 2024

June 11, 2024

Enjoy Four New Beverages and Exclusive Boba Happy Hours from June 10 to June 13 The Coffee Bean & Tea...

FDA Issues Warning on Potentially Contaminated Shellfish from Oregon and Washington

June 11, 2024

June 11, 2024

Shellfish From These Areas Carries Risk of Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning The FDA has issued an alert advising consumers, restaurants, and...

(Video) Pro-Palestine Student Protesters at UCLA Set Up a Third Encampment on Monday Afternoon

June 11, 2024

June 11, 2024

UCPD and the UCLA Administration almost immediately called in UCPD, LAPD, Culver City Police Department and California Highway Patrol officers....