LOS ANGELES – A retired Marine captain who was convicted of drugging and sexually abusing girls in Cambodia was sentenced today to 210 years in federal prison, according to federal authorities.

Michael Joseph Pepe, 60, of Oxnard, was convicted in 2008 of seven felony counts for traveling to Cambodia to have sex with underaged girls, prosecutors said.

U.S. District Judge Dale S. Fischer said in court that Pepe showed no remorse for what he did to the victims.

“Monstrous does not begin to capture the horror of the crime or the impact on the victims,” Judge Fischer said.

Six of the seven girls testified at Pepe’s trial about how Pepe drugged, bound, beat and raped them. The girls were between the ages of 9 and 13 years, according to authorities. Some of the victims testified that Pepe forced them to give them sexual massages and perform oral sex on him on a daily basis, officials said.

“Predators cannot hide in foreign nations to conceal their deviant sexual desire,”  said U.S Attorney André Birotte Jr. “Our efforts to coordinate with law enforcement around the world have resulted in the identification and prosecution of Americans who are exploiting the children in other countries. This lengthy sentence should serve as a stern warning to other pedophiles.”

The prostitute who acted as Pepe’s broker testified on videotape about bringing young victims to his residence. Pepe paid the broker and the victims’ families for unlimited access to the girls, authorities said.



By Raul

Raul Hernandez is a former journalist. He has worked as a newspaper reporter for more than 30 years at the El Paso Herald-Post, El Paso Times, Press Enterprise in Riverside, California and the Ventura County Star in California. He was a court reporter for more than 20 years.