A Paris court has convicted a former U.N. employee for the rape of young Africans during his posting in Central African Republic and Congo.

Didier Bourguet has been sentenced to nine years in prison for having committed about 20 rapes of teenage girls between 1998 and 2004 during his postings as a mechanic for the United Nations in the two countries.

Prosecutors were seeking a 12-year sentence. In the trial that ended Thursday, Bourguet had claimed that the girls had consented to the sexual activity.

Save the Children UK reported in May that it had evidence of widespread sexual abuse of children at the hands of peacekeepers and international aid workers in war zones and disaster areas.