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Romanian Court Sentences U.S. Historian

December 11, 2002

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BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) _ A court found an American historian guilty of sexual perversion and sexual abuse of minors on Wednesday and sentenced him to the maximum seven years in prison.

Kurt W. Treptow, of Miami Beach, Fla., was prosecuted after he allegedly invited two girls, aged 10 and 13, into his home in Iasi, a city 200 miles northeast of Bucharest.

Treptow, 39, was arrested in October with a Romanian accomplice, Tatiana Popovici. She was found guilty on similar charges and received a seven-year sentence. Treptow and Popovici were also ordered to pay a total of $35,000 in damages to the victims. Their lawyers said Wednesday they would appeal.

Treptow’s lawyer, Liviu Bran, claimed his client, a historian, had sex only with the 13-year-old girl, but that he didn’t know she was a minor.

Treptow, who first studied in Romania as a Fulbright scholar during the communist regime toppled in 1989, has written and edited numerous books on Romanian history, including one about Romania’s pro-Hitler World War II dictator, Marshal Ion Antonescu, and another on Vlad Tepes, the historical model for Dracula.

The case received intense media scrutiny in Romania because Treptow was alleged to have ties to Romania’s foreign espionage service and was close to Ioan Talpes, a presidential adviser and former head of the service.

Talpes defended Treptow against criticism, portraying him as someone who helped the image of Romania.

Treptow moved to Romania in the 1990s and is director of the Center for Romanian Studies in Iasi, which is housed in a building owned by the espionage service. The service has declined to say whether Treptow worked for them.

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