HANOI: Vietnam has jailed a Canadian teacher for four years for sexually abusing underage homeless boys he met on Hanoi’s streets, a court official said Thursday, in a rare prosecution for the offence.
Vadim Scott Benderman, 46, who taught English at a foreign language centre and played music in bars in Hanoi, was found guilty at a trial in the capital Hanoi on Wednesday.
“He was charged for having sex with four local homeless teenage boys he met in the centre of Hanoi between late 2014 and his arrest in the middle of last year,” the clerk said.
According to local media reports, Benderman met the boys in central Hanoi before luring them to his apartment and paying them around $13 for sex.
The indictment said his “behaviour infringed upon the teenagers’ physical and psychological development,” according to a report on the VNExpress news site.
It also “badly influenced (Vietnam’s) customs and causing social disorder,” the report added.
Benderman will be deported after completing his four-year jail term, the clerk added.
The Hanoi-based Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation, which works with at-risk youth, said it was “relieved” Benderman was behind bars but would have liked a longer sentence.
In a statement posted on its website the foundation lauded Vietnamese authorities for managing to “catch and imprison this paedophile who has been abusing children”.
Prosecutions for child sex abuse are more common in countries neighbouring Vietnam, although former British glam rocker Gary Glitter spent three years in Vietnamese prison after a high-profile conviction for sex crimes in 2006.
Glitter, 64, whose real name is Paul Francis Gadd, was arrested in Vietnam in late 2005 and convicted of committing obscene acts with two girls then aged 11 and 12 in the southern resort town of Vung Tau.
He was deported upon his release in 2008.
Glitter, who paid compensation to the families of both victims, evaded the more serious charge of child rape, which carries a maximum penalty of death by firing squad in Vietnam.