Filipino Boys Cost San Diego Man $$$

LOS ANGELES – A San Diego man serving a 17-year sentence after admitting he traveled to the Philippines to have sex with teenage boys was ordered Tuesday to pay eight of his victims $16,475 in restitution – an order officials said is the first of its kind under a 2003 law toughening sex-tourism penalties.

Edilberto Datan, 61, was ordered by U.S. District Judge R. Gary Klausner to pay medical costs as well as for occupational and psychological therapy for the boys, who were age 14 and 15 at the time of the abuse.

Klausner said that the boys continue to suffer emotional damage from Datan’s actions and one of the boys is reportedly suicidal.

“No question, this was heinous, unacceptable conduct by the defendant,” Klausner said.

Datan, a retired auditor and native of the Philippines who lived in San Diego, pleaded guilty earlier this year to engaging in illicit sexual conduct with minors and producing child pornography outside the United States. Klausner ordered Datan’s prison sentence during a June hearing.

In November 2004 Datan was arrested at Los Angeles International Airport when a search of his luggage produced hundreds of digital pictures of naked young boys. A subsequent search of his home turned up more pictures.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Rupa Goswami said it is often difficult to track down the victims in sex tourism cases. But using Datan’s pictures, agents from the U.S. Bureau of Customs and Immigration Enforcement along with Philippine National Police officers located eight of the boys.

In ordering restitution, Klausner said, “it sounds like the defendant is getting a windfall,” because the costs of medical and psychological care would have been much higher in the United States.

“I think that this is just a drop in the bucket in terms of trying to assess the damage that was really done to these children,” Klausner added.

The payment of the restitution is being overseen by the Christian charity organization, World Vision, under an agreement struck by prosecutors and immigration officials.

The Datan case was prosecuted under the federal Protect Act, which removed legal barriers that made it difficult for prosecutors to file sex-tourism charges and increased penalties for violations.

Goswami said prior to that law, it would have been difficult to charge Datan because the government would have to prove that his “sole purpose” for traveling overseas was for sex with minors.

Klausner’s order comes one day after another San Diego man was sentenced to three years in federal prison for sex-tourism violations by allegedly making a sex tape involving a teenage girl while visiting the Philippines.

But the case of Bernard Lawrence Russell, 38, from Del Cerro, did not fall under the Protect Act because the alleged crime was committed in 2002, a year before the tougher penalties took effect.

Russell was also ordered to pay $25,000 in restitution to help Filipino victims of child exploitation.

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