A primary school teacher in Battambang province was charged with raping two underage female students yesterday despite pleas that he had only touched them in a non-sexual manner.
The suspect, 50-year-old Yuos Sophany, taught at the Tasda primary school located in Sampov Loun district’s Santepheap commune, according to Ly Rom, director of justice at the district’s police station.
Rom said that Sophany was arrested on Tuesday evening after the parents of the two girls, aged 8 and 6, filed complaints accusing the teacher of repeatedly raping their children in a cassava field and on school grounds.
“On one day, the teacher brought me to a cassava field and undressed me. Then he hugged and kissed me and inserted his finger into [me],” a complaint from one of the girls read, according to Rom.
During Sophany’s interrogation yesterday morning, the suspect admitted to touching the girls, but said he was acting out of normal affection.
“What I did to them was only because they are very cute, but I had no ill intentions or wanted to commit sexual harassment against them,” he told police, according to Rom.
According to Alastair Hilton, technical adviser at child protection NGO First Step, Cambodian schools offer scant protections against sexual abuse.
“We would expect organisations caring for children to have child protection requirements . . . but very few do.”