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86-Year-Old Man On Trial for Trying to Have Sex with
Young Philippine Girls
Nov. 17, 2004 – An 86-year-old man from Garden
Grove, California, is the latest person charged under a 2003 federal law
known as the Protect Act, aimed at curbing international sex trade.
Prosecutors say he planned to go to the Philippines for sex with two
John Seljan, slumped in his wheelchair, wore a
large black set of headphones over his thin, gray hair to help him hear
what was being said about his aborted trip last year, according to a
report by John McDonald in the Orange County Register.
His lawyer, Alan Stokke contends that on earlier
trips Seljan only touched young girls and that without evidence of
intercourse or penetration, no crime was committed under the federal
Immigration and Customs Enforcement investigators
opened the case during an investigation of currency being illegally
shipped to terrorist groups in the Philippines. A Federal Express
package sent by Seljan to a family in Batangas was opened. One letter in
the package was addressed to an 8-year-old girl.
"Yes Honey, I like little girls like you," said the
letter, purportedly written by Seljan.
Seljan disputes the statements and letters
attributed to him.
When arrested at the airport, his luggage contained
127 photographs of Seljan with young Filipina girls, including 52
depicting the defendant and pre-teen girls engaging in sex acts, the
prosecution contends. They claim he also had child pornography, sex
toys, an estimated $8,000 in cash and 100 pounds of chocolate.
He said he had been educating girls in the
Philippines for 20 years and there arfe no laws there against his
The charges against Seljan include attempted travel
with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct, and two counts each of
possessing and producing child pornography. He faces up to 200 years if
He is one of about a dozen men from around the
nation charged under the Protect Act, that included provisions
increasing the penalties for those convicted of engaging in sex with
minors overseas. The law also eased the burden of proof for prosecutors
and increased the maximum penalty from 10 years to 30 years as part of a
broader U.S. campaign against international sex trafficking.
The only person sentenced so far under the new law
is Michael Lewis Clark, 70, who was arrested in Cambodia for engaging in
sex with two boys, 10 and 13. He pleaded guilty in Seattle and was
sentenced to eight years in federal prison. Two other men have pleaded
guilty and are awaiting sentencing.
Read the story in the Orange County Register
Read the AP report
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