As is the case with many small towns around the globe, the hamlet of Akhtala in northern Armenia is a place where everyone claims to know each other. But pedophilia charges brought against Serob Der-Boghossian, the Armenian-American owner of Akhtala’s Metal Prince Ltd. Corporation, the town’s main employer, are putting that assertion to the test.
Der-Boghossian, 68, was detained on February 9 for allegedly paying socially vulnerable teenage boys to engage in illicit activities; or, as the charge read, to coerce “them into homosexuality.” He is formally charged under Article 140 of the Criminal Code, a statute that covers forced violent sexual acts. On February 12, a Yerevan administrative court sentenced Der-Boghossian to two months of administrative detention pending trial. If found guilty of the charge, Der-Boghossian could face a possible prison term of up to three years and/or a fine of 9 million drams (about $25,000).
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Gayane Abrahamyan is a reporter for ArmeniaNow.com in Yerevan.