Canadian jailed for 11 years for sex tourism

A Canadian man who videotaped himself having sex with girls as young as eight in Cambodia and Colombia victimised the children, a judge ruled in sentencing him to 11 years in prison.

Justice Austin Cullen sentenced Kenneth Klassen, 59, to 10 years in prison for 14 counts of sex tourism with children and one year for one count of importing pornography. It was the longest sentence so far for charges under Canada’s sex tourism law, according to prosecutors.

“I find the offender’s conduct in this case to be very serious, and his moral-blameworthiness to be very high,” Cullen said in British Columbia Supreme Court.

Before his sentencing, the man – who has been diagnosed as a paedophile – stood up in court and briefly apologised.  “Your honour, I am sorry for what I have done with all my heart,” Klassen said.  His lawyers argued that Klassen was merely a customer of willing participants after he pleaded guilty to 14 offences of sexual interference and one count of importing child pornography.

But Cullen rejected that defence.

“(Klassen’s) conduct represents a gross violation of the natural imperative to protect children and not to harm them,” he said.

Klassen was charged after police discovered 21 videos with titles like “Child Abuse” and “First Timer” in a package he had mailed to his own address in Canada. In the videos, he is shown in numerous sex acts with girls under 14. A Colombian woman had been paid to blur out Klassen’s face in the videos and design the covers.

“His video recording of their abuse reflects a callous preoccupation with his own perverse pleasure,” Cullen said.

The father of three lived in Colombia for 20 years before returning to Canada.  His lawyers argued he didn’t travel there for sex, but became complacent to the age of girls in a place that doesn’t have the same stringent laws.  The charges stem from acts between December 1998 and March 2002.

Klassen must provide DNA to Canada’s sex offender registry, cannot own weapons for 10 years after his release and is banned for life from going to playgrounds, parks and schools.

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