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Former Army Staff Sgt. Moeun Yoeun pleaded guilty on Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2022, to charges related to sex trafficking children for several years in the the Philippines.

Former Army Staff Sgt. Moeun Yoeun pleaded guilty on Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2022, to charges related to sex trafficking children for several years in the the Philippines. (U.S. Army)

(Tribune News Service) — A former staff sergeant stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord pleaded guilty Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Tacoma to charges related to sex trafficking children for several years in the the Philippines.

Moeun Yoeun, 37, of Steilacoom, was arrested in 2019 on suspicion of child sex crimes. According to a news release from the United States Attorney's Office for the Western District of Washington, Yoeun admitted in his plea agreement that he used adult and child residents in the Philippines to recruit more than a dozen children to produce pornography.

"Yoeun further admitted to travelling to the Philippines and engaging in sexual acts with at least 6 children in exchange for nominal amounts of money," the news release states.

The defendant faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in prison, with a maximum penalty of life in prison, according to the release. He is to be sentenced Dec. 5 by U.S. District Judge Benjamin Settle. After he is released from prison, Yoeun will be required to register as a sex offender and could face federal supervision for his entire life.

He pleaded guilty to sex trafficking of children, production of child pornography and engaging in illicit sexual activity in a foreign place. Yoeun was originally also charged with aggravated sexual abuse of a child under 12 and possession of child pornography, according to court records. Those charges were dismissed as part of a plea agreement.

The case was investigated by the FBI and the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Division, with assistance from the Philippine National Police. It was investigated as part of the South Sound Child Exploitation Task Force.

(c)2022 The News Tribune (Tacoma, Wash.)

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