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‘Vicious, heinous and cruel’: Ex-JBLM soldier sentenced for child sex crimes in the Philippines

Members of the 62nd Civil Engineer Squadron, pack up after installing the new Joint Base Lewis-McChord sign at the entrance of the base Sunday. (Abner Guzman/U.S. Air Force)

A former soldier at Joint Base Lewis-McChord was sentenced Thursday to 22 years in prison for child sex crimes deemed “vicious, heinous and cruel” by the federal judge overseeing his case.

Moeun Yoeun, 40, an ex-staff sergeant at the military installation southwest of Tacoma, pleaded guilty in August to engaging in sexual acts with at least six children in the Philippines in exchange for money and using adults and kids in that country to recruit more than a dozen children to produce pornography, according to a news release from the Department of Justice.

Yoeun’s crimes occurred over several years and he admitted to prosecutors that he had threatened young girls with death if they refused his sexual assaults, the DOJ said.

“Mr. Yoeun weaponized his position of trust as a noncommissioned officer in the United States Army, to sexually exploit and cause irreversible trauma to impoverished girls in the Philippines,” U.S. Attorney Nick Brown said in a statement.

Yoeun, who is from Steilacoom, will be on federal supervision for 15 years upon his release and will also be required to register as a sex offender, according to the DOJ.

The case was part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in 2006 by the DOJ to fight child sexual exploitation. The FBI and Army federal law enforcement investigated the case with the aid of the Philippine National Police.


(c) 2023 The News Tribune

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