An 18-year-old accused of raping a bride on her wedding day in Prey Veng was charged and sent to pre-trial detention yesterday, authorities said.
According to a copy of the detention warrant, issued by Prey Veng Provincial Court Investigating Judge Phea Chea, suspect Chhoen Chanseng was charged with rape under Article 239 of the Criminal Code. He could face between five and 10 years in prison.
Pov Chivy, Prey Veng provincial deputy police chief, said Chanseng, from Kanh Chriech district’s Thma Poun commune, sneaked into the 18-year-old woman’s bedroom while she was asleep on Tuesday night and raped her.
The 19-year-old groom, from Cherng Toek commune in Prey Veng town, had been drinking with his family and relatives and was asleep on a table near the bride’s house at the time.
“According to the interrogation report, the suspect admitted that he had loved the bride for a long time, but his family is poor and he did not dare to propose [to her],” Chivy said. “On the victim’s wedding day, he kept his eyes on the new couple almost every minute . . . because his house is next to the bride’s house.”
When the dancing ended, the bride went to her bedroom and the groom continued to drink, which the suspect allegedly took as an opportunity to disguise himself as the groom, he continued. He fell asleep in the victim’s bed until yesterday morning when the victim screamed for help, and her family caught him in the room.
Sao Chantha, Kanh Chriech district police chief, said the suspect confessed to having raped the victim three times before he became exhausted and fell asleep, though the victim claimed she was only raped once.
The suspect later changed his story and said he only raped her once, Chantha added, though he had planned to rape her a second time before the bride realised he was not the groom.
“The suspect was caught in the room of the bride, and he was naked,” he said.
The groom’s family could not be reached for comment, but Leat Chheat, Chhkues village chief, said that after the groom’s family found out about the rape, they no longer accepted the victim as the wife for their son. The groom’s family allegedly also demanded the $1,400 dowry be returned by the victim’s family.