Businessman Senteced to 15 Years for Pedophilia

Serop Der-Boghossian

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)—A 70-year-old US businessman  was sentenced on Thursday to 15 years in prison on charges of pedophilia which he partly accepted.

Serop Der-Boghossian, the owner of a mining firm based in the northern Armenian town of Akhtala, was convicted of “coercing” local underage boys to have sex with him.

Der-Boghossian, whose Metal Prince company is the small town’s main employer, was arrested in February following media reports that accused him of engaging in homosexual contacts with Akhtala teenagers. State prosecutors said he seduced them in 2009-2010 with cash and other “material assistance.

Der-Boghossian strongly denied allegations shortly before the arrest. In a February 3 statement, he said unnamed individuals are trying to seize control of Metal Prince Company by ruining his reputation.

But during his ensuing trial held in closed session the Iraqi-born businessman said he had consensual sex with both underage and older men. He insisted that he did not do that against their will.

A court in Vanadzor, capital of the northern Lori province, backed the prosecutors’ claims, however, convicting him under an article of the Criminal Code dealing with forcible sex with minors.

Der-Boghossian’s lawyer, Tigran Safarian, condemned the verdict as unfair and said he will appeal it. “If, according to the prosecution, an individual had a sexual relationship with Serop Der-Boghossian for two years, he could not have done that against his will,” Safarian told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am).

But Hovsep Sargsian, one of the trial prosecutors, dismissed this argument. He insisted that the defendant exploited the poverty of Akhtala boys and made them “materially dependent” on him. “We have to bear in mind that the victims were underage,” Sargsian told RFE/RL’s Armenian service.

The prosecution identified ten victims in what has been Armenia’s most high-profile pedophilia case to date. All of them testified during the trial. The Vanadzor court was also presented with unpublicized video evidence of Der-Boghossian’s illicit relationships.

Der-Boghossian was listed as an adviser to Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian on the Armenian government’s website until January 31. According to the government press office, the Metal Prince owner stopped working for Sarkisian on December 31, 2010 for reasons unrelated to the sex scandal.

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10 Comments

  1. Sylva-MD-Poetry said:

    Don’t send to us
    Such bad news …
    Keep it local
    And solve your problems…
    Let others not take an advantage…
    Let us solve our genocide problems
    This is disgusting, personal, trivial for what we have…!!!

    SP

  2. vahe said:

    Mr. Der-Boghossian owned a mining company in which he invested lots of $$$, as soon as he rebuilt the company it was taken from him, and then came these ridiculous claims. Many people in Armenia’s gov’t will go to great lenghts to take what is not rightfully theirs. Countless people have invested in Armenia, only to later have all their money taken. If anyone wants to sexually abuse children, there are dozens of countries which unfortunately cater to those people, Armenia is not one of them. This man is innocent ! They knew from the beginning this would cause people’s emotions to flare up and he was guilty in everyone’s eyes just because he was rich and a diasporan.
    If I was a lawyer I would help this man out free of charge ! It’s sickening to come up with such nasty allegations, to make these kids stand trial and to frame an innocent man ! This is not the first time people have had their money and companies taken in Armenia, and it definitely won’t be the last ! How are us diasporans supposed to feel safe, and actually attempt at making large investments in Armenia when i personally know many people who have been robbed behind their backs, and men are being charged with bogus claims like this ? I can’t imagine how Mr. Der-Boghossian feels right now. Shame on those bastards who framed this man !

    • hayk said:

      You need to change your mentality.
      If he is US citizen does not mean he could not do that.
      And stop dividing the Armenian nation Whith remarks diaspora and
      Armenian Armenians we are all Armenians or may be you are not
      an Armenian.

    • Ankakh said:

      “…during his ensuing trial held in closed session the Iraqi-born businessman said he had consensual sex with both underage and older men.”

  3. Karnig said:

    Vahe, Mr. Der-Boghossian did admit to having sexual relations with some underage boys, but claimed that those relations were consensual. Do you still believe he is innocent?

  4. Schmavon Hagopian said:

    The article states that “During his ensuing trial held in closed session the Iraqi-born businessman said he had consensual sex with both underage and older men. He insisted that he did not do that against their will.”. If he admitted to it, then he is guilty and it is good that the Armenian government prosecuted him. It may be true that the Armenian government is corrupt and seizes foreign investments which scares away diasporans but that is a completely separate issue than what this sicko did. Reminds me of the French-Jewish director Roman Polanski who also stated that what he did was consensual. The American jew football coach Mr. Jerry Sandusky also claims that he was just “playing around” and he loves kids. What a joke.

  5. ArdeVast Atheian said:

    I for one stopped aspiring unions with marriage minded suitors from our homeland, after one of them that I had married alleged physical and sexual abuse, all of which were bogus, just to get her hands to the other half of my wealth, after coming to America.
    Physical violence and sex-abuse laws are perfectly suited to shake down someone whose money those unsavory characters are after.

  6. E.T. said:

    bogus claims? are you in your right mind? he himself admits having sex with underage kids! the key issue here is whether it was consentual. That would be a big issue if both were adults – but you can have a 4 year old boy agree to a consentual sex as soon as you show him a toy or a candy, does that make you innocent? No, it makes you doubly guilty. Instead of calling the judge a criminal trying to take over someone’s business, put yourself in the shoes of the judge who has to issue a guilty verdict on a well connected child molester who even served in PM’s office. The courage of this judge should be applauded while you vahe and likeminded folks are throwing stones at good samaritans. Then you complain about lack of justice in Armenia on other matters. Keep doing what you do and even the smallest bit of justice that’s left will soon disappear.

  7. Fred said:

    Vahe, according to the article Mr. Der-Boghossian admitted to having sex with underaged boys. If you have children you would understand how sickening that is wether the act was consensual or not. I do have children and I don’t believe an adult can ever have consensual sex with underaged children because they are always afraid. As for fraiming I don’t agree with you if he admitted to having such acts and therefore he should be put away for ever so he doesn’t bring any more harm to other children. These acts qualify him as a monster and he should be treated so. I don’t care about the business and the money that he has invested, my concern are the children and their innocence that has been robbed from them.

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