Skip Navigation
    USAO Home Page
    DOJ Seal


    United States Attorney's Office
    Central District of California

    Thom Mrozek
    Public Affairs Officer

    (213) 894-6947
    thom.mrozek@usdoj.gov



    Return to the 2010 Press Release Index
    Release No. 10-181

    December 20, 2010

    FORMER TEACHER IN CAMBODIA SENTENCED TO NEARLY NINE YEARS IN PRISON FOR SEXUALLY ABUSING MINORS IN CAMBODIA

    LOS ANGELES – A United States citizen who abused children while working as a teacher in Phnom Penh was sentenced today to 104 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to engaging in illicit sexual conduct with a 14-year-old girl in Cambodia.

    Michael James Dodd, 61, was sentenced by United States District Judge John F. Walter. Taking into account the approximately 16 months that Dodd spent in jail in Cambodia, the effective sentence in this case is 10 years. In addition to the prison term, Judge Walter ordered Dodd to pay $9,500 in restitution that will be used to pay for counseling and education for the victim, who is now 16 years old.

    “This is one of the most disgusting cases that has ever come before this court,” Judge Walter said today, noting that Dodd is a “cunning, clever and manipulative predator.”

    Dodd pleaded guilty on September 10 to one count of traveling to Cambodia and engaging in illicit sexual conduct with a minor. When he pleaded guilty, Dodd specifically admitted that in 2008 he engaged in sexual conduct with a girl who was under 16 years old. According to a criminal complaint filed in this case, Dodd admitted to the FBI that he traveled to Cambodia because he could not teach in other nations due to prior sex-related convictions.

    Dodd was arrested by the Cambodian National Police in October 2008, following an investigation into his illegal sexual relationship with the 14-year-old girl. After being held by Cambodia officials, Dodd was expelled from Cambodia in February of this year, and was arrested by federal authorities when he arrived in the United States.

    “The prison sentence should end Michael Dodd’s deviant career as a sex tourist,” said United States Attorney André Birotte Jr. “Mr. Dodd’s 10-year sentence should also serve as a warning to any American considering traveling abroad with the intent of abusing children.”

    Dodd was prosecuted under the PROTECT Act of 2003, which, among other provisions, outlawed child sex tourism for United States citizens, even if their crimes were committed in other nations.

    The case against Dodd was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which received substantial assistance from the Cambodian National Police.

    The case against Dodd was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Patricia A. Donahue (213-894-0640), Assistant United States Attorney Yvonne L. Garcia (213-894-0719), and DOJ Trial Attorney Andrew McCormack of the Justice Department’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section.

    World Vision, the international Christian humanitarian organization, assisted the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in its investigation of Dodd. The agency’s staff in Phnom Penh provided medical care, trauma counseling and vocational training to one of the girls Mr. Dodd sexually abused.

    “The trafficking and abuse of children are among the greatest crimes of injustice – whether in the U.S. or half a world away in Asia,” said Shirley Lew-Lee, legal counsel for World Vision International. “However, as demonstrated in Mr. Dodd’s case, collaboration between law enforcement agencies and humanitarian organizations is an essential and highly effective strategy in bringing perpetrators of these crimes to justice.”

    #####

    Release No. 10-181

    Return to the 2010 Press Release Index