A former Orange County child rapist was found guilty Monday of spending his parole traveling repeatedly to Cambodia to sexually assault impoverished children.
Delays in the case prevented 55-year-old Ronald “John” Gerard Boyajian from being tried for seven years.
But it only took jurors in federal court in Los Angeles five hours to convict Boyajian on all three counts the government filed against him: 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.
U.S. District Judge Christina A. Snyder could send Boyajian to the federal pen for 30 years as soon as June 13.
Boyajian, who was convicted in 1994 on nearly two dozen counts of statutory rape in Orange County, 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.
Investigators with the Cambodian non-governmental organization Action Pour Les Enfants claimed to have witnessed Boyajian visiting a child brothel in Svay Pak, a red-light district on the outskirts of the capital Phnom Penh.
He was among three Americans turned over to U.S. law enforcement by their Cambodian counterparts in 2009 as part of Operation Twisted Traveler, an effort by the Justice Department and Immigration and Customs Enforcement to crack down on sex tourism.
Jack “Dad” Sporich, who like Boyajian had previously done time for molesting a child in Southern California, was convicted in Los Angeles of having sex with two 12-year-old boys in Cambodia, where he used to drive a motor bike around and drop local currency to attract children. Sporich was sentenced in September to 10 years in federal lockup.
A third Southern California man turned over by the Cambodians with Boyajian and Sporich was Erik “Alex” Peeters, who pleaded guilty in LA to having engaged in sex with at least three boys from the Southeast Asian country that he paid $5 to $10 each. Peeters is expected to be sentenced later this year.
By contrast, Boyajian had been in a federal cell in LA ever since his arrest awaiting trial. That’s because he represented himself and 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, Boyajian made a motion to have Judge Snyder removed from the case, City News Service reports.
Boyajian had traveled to Cambodia—one of Southeast Asia’s poorest countries—about three dozen times between 2002 and 2009, when he had sex with girls ages 8 and 11 in a village outside Phnom Penh.
One victim, who is now an adult working with others terrorized by sexual predators, told jurors that Boyajian paid her grandmother to leave her alone with him in a wooden shack, where he beat, raped and bit the girl on the legs and calves multiple times.
Many jurors welled up with tears during her testimony.
Boyajian nodded his head as the verdicts were read but otherwise showed no reaction.
When jurors left the room, he told Snyder to expect a whole new set of motions, including one objecting to the jury’s racial mix.