An American attorney who served time in a Cambodian prison on charges of sexually abusing minors while visiting the Southeast Asian nation is facing five federal counts 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 over five separate encounters. He faces six federal charges, including five counts of engaging in illicit sexual conduct in a foreign place and one count of possessing child sex abuse materials, the U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Florida announced earlier this week. Cline has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Cline was deported back to the U.S. earlier this month after serving a prison sentence of two and a half years on local charges in Cambodia for paying to sexually abusing minors under age 15, United States Attorney Roger B. Handberg said in an online statement. In addition to prison time, he was ordered to pay a $200 fine and $3,750 in compensation to each of the girls, local media outlet WFLA reports.
Cline appeared before a federal judge on Monday.
Florida resident Rugh James Cline allegedly paid to rape four minors over five separate encounters, according to a federal indictment. He faces six federal charges, including five counts of engaging in illicit sexual conduct in a foreign place and one count of possessing child sex abuse materials, the U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Florida announced earlier this week. Cline has pleaded not guilty.
Following the hearing on Monday, Cline was released on a $100,000 bond and was ordered to house arrest with GPS monitoring. He is also not allowed to have access to the internet or to minors, court documents show.
The indictment alleges that Cline traveled to Cambodia in February 2019 and May 2019, and while there, he paid to sexually abuse four different minors “multiple times.” The Florida attorney is also charged with traveling to Cambodia while possessing materials depicting the sexual abuse of children as young as 12 years old.
If convicted in the U.S., the punishment is much sterner than his Cambodian sentence of two and a half years. Cline faces a maximum penalty of 30 years in federal prison for each of the five counts of engaging in illicit sexual conduct in a foreign place, and up to 20 years for possessing child sex abuse materials.
This case was investigated by the FBI, the U.S. 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 United States Attorney Ilyssa M. Spergel, according to the DOJ’s online statement.
Cline, a 2010 graduate of the University of Miami School of Law, is delinquent on his bar fees, and is not eligible to practice law in Florida, according to The Florida Bar. Newsweek.com