An American lawyer who served time in a Cambodian prison accused of sexually abusing minors while visiting the Southeast Asian nation faces five federal charges in the United States for his crimes abroad.
The Justice Department alleges in a federal indictment that Rugh James Cline, 40, of Tampa, paid to rape four minors in five separate encounters. He faces six federal charges, including five counts of engaging in unlawful sexual conduct in a foreign location and one count of possession of child sexual abuse materials, the United States Attorney for the Middle District of Florida said. announced earlier this week. Cline has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Cline was deported to the US earlier this month after serving a 2 1/2-year prison sentence on domestic charges in Cambodia for paying children under the age of 15 who sexually abused them, said US Attorney Roger B. Handberg in an online statement. In addition to jail time, he was ordered to pay a $200 fine and $3,750 in compensation to each of the girls, local news outlet WFLA reports.
Cline appeared before a federal judge on Monday.
news week reached out via email and website to Cline’s defense attorneys, Andrew Searle and Fritz Schelle, for comment. news week he also contacted the Department of Justice (DOJ).
After Monday’s hearing, Cline was released on $100,000 bond and placed on house arrest with GPS monitoring. She, too, is not allowed to access the Internet or minors, court documents show.
He prosecution alleges that Cline traveled to Cambodia in February 2019 and May 2019, and while there, paid to sexually abuse four different minors “multiple times.” The Florida lawyer is also accused of traveling to Cambodia while in possession of materials showing the sexual abuse of children as young as 12.
If convicted in the US, the punishment is much harsher than his Cambodian sentence of two and a half years. Cline faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in federal prison for each of the five counts of unlawful sexual conduct in a foreign location, and up to 20 years for possession of child sexual abuse materials.
This case was investigated by the FBI, the United States Department of State and the Cambodian National Police. The Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs also provided assistance. The case will be prosecuted by Assistant US Attorney Ilyssa M. Spergel, according to the Justice Department’s online statement.
Cline, a 2010 graduate of the University of Miami School of Law, is delinquent on his bar association fees and is ineligible to practice law in Florida, according to the florida bar.