In 2008, several scared and hesitant young Cambodian girls stood before U.S. District Judge Dale Fischer to tell her what Michael Joseph Pepe had done to them.
“Please don’t allow this to happen again,” one pleaded in a barely audible voice. “Thank you that you helped me find justice,” another told her.
Six years and a lengthy legal battle later, Fischer finally handed down a sentence Friday for the onetime U.S. Marine captain, convicted of sex acts with young girls in Cambodia: 210 years in prison, the statutory maximum, effectively a life sentence. Fischer said she was sending a message to any American who would consider traveling abroad to have sex with children.
“Monstrous does not begin to describe the crime,” the judge said, calling Pepe’s crimes “unspeakable” and “heinous.”
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