Siem Reap Provincial Court yesterday acquitted a 39-year-old Dutch man accused of committing indecent acts against five children between the ages of seven and 13 after the lead witness reversed his testimony, according to police and NGO workers.
Hong Sambath, lawyer for Action Pour Les Enfants (APLE), said the court had acquitted Reuyl because the victim with initially the strongest testimony of abuse reversed his statements during the proceedings, likely as a result of living with and being influenced by Reuyl after his release on bail in December.
Sun Savy, a police officer at the Anti-Human Trafficking and Juvenile Protection Police Office in Siem Reap province, said the court has dropped all charges against him and returned his passport.
Reuyl was arrested by police last October but was released on bail by the Siem Reap court’s investigative judge in December, Savy said, adding that Reuyl was tried in absentia on Monday before yesterday’s acquittal.
Seila Samleang, country director for APLE, said that the court verdict means that Reuyl will remain in the country and will continue preying on and abusing Cambodian children.
“I acknowledge that most of the victims provided inconsistent testimonies during the hearing, but this could be as a result of their being intimidated by Reuyl’s presence in the community and his living with the victims,” he in a press release issued yesterday.
“Some of the victims were too young to remember their entire long-past traumatic experiences.
“However, they provided strong statements of abuse to police, which led to Reuyl’s arrest,” he said.
To contact the reporter on this story: Buth Reaksmey Kongkea at [email protected]