Cambodia arrests US deserter sought for sex crime

AP News
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Posted: Oct 29, 2014 8:09 AM

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) — Police in Cambodia said Wednesday they have arrested a man identified by media there as a U.S. Army deserter wanted in the United States for offenses involving child pornography and possible related crimes.

Col. Oum Phy, deputy police chief in northeastern Kratie province, said Michael Edward Harris was arrested there Tuesday on a request of the Interior Ministry, though he did not know for what reason. Interior Ministry officials could not be contacted Wednesday for more details.

The English-language Phnom Penh Post reported that a U.S. Army spokesman earlier said Harris had been charged in Orlando, Florida, with 44 counts of possessing child pornography, and was also being investigated on allegations of indecent acts on a child and forced sodomy. It said the 34-year-old sergeant entered Cambodia on Jan. 17 after earlier skipping bail in Florida.

Another English-language newspaper, The Cambodia Daily, reported that Harris had been working as a dog trainer under the alias Michael Dobbs in the seaside town of Sihanoukville, which he fled about two weeks ago when someone identified him.

"We greatly appreciate the help of the Cambodian authorities for their help in apprehending Michael Edward Harris," it quoted U.S. Embassy spokesman Jay Raman as saying.

Harris' ex-wife, Denise Diaz had launched a Facebook page to track down her former spouse. One of her postings said Harris had been a military police officer and a drill sergeant.

"Please spread the word! Let's make this disgrace to the Military Uniform be held accountable for his crimes," she wrote.