The 50-year-old chief of a government-run orphanage was charged on Wednesday in Preah Vihear Provincial Court for allegedly raping a 14-year-old living at the institution earlier this month, while yesterday a 69-year-old British citizen was arrested after allegedly paying teenage girls for sex.
Phy Siphon, spokesman for the Preah Vihear court prosecutor, identified the orphanage chief as Luong Earth. “The deputy prosecutor charged him with rape under articles 239 and 241 of the Penal Code on Wednesday, and the investigating judge decided to place him in pre-trial detention,” she said.
Kong Kea, Preah Vihear town deputy police chief, said local police arrested Earth on Monday after the victim’s mother filed a police complaint on April 19. The incident allegedly took place on April 9, but the victim initially kept quiet. She confessed to her mother during a Khmer New Year visit, and said she didn’t want to return to the orphanage, where she had lived for two to three years.
The orphanage belongs to the provincial social affairs department and houses 114 children. Rose Sipha, the department director, maintained there had only been one victim, despite Earth running the orphanage for 18 years.
Iman Morooka, spokeswoman for UNICEF, said incidents of sexual abuse and violence against children living in residential care institutions are tragic reminders of the dangers faced by children there.
“UNICEF calls on the government to conduct a thorough investigation into the management of the orphanage concerned with the aim of ensuring that the children in it are safe, and that no other child has been harmed,” she wrote in an email.
A spokesman for the Ministry of Social Affairs didn’t respond to a request for comment.
In another sexual abuse case yesterday, Phnom Penh municipal anti-human trafficking police arrested Clive Robert Kingsley Cressy, 69, yesterday afternoon in Phnom Penh for allegedly paying four Chbar Ampov girls, all aged between 13 and 15, in exchange for sex.
“He paid one of the girls $2,000 for her virginity . . . and he had sex with other girls, and paid them $100 for [oral sex] many times,” trafficking police chief Keo Thea said.
According to Thea, computers and cameras were confiscated. He suggested the involvement of a mastermind acting as a broker for a network to lure young girls to meet foreigners, but didn’t elaborate further.
Jim McCabe, head of the Child Protection Unit, said his NGO had also assisted with three other child rape cases yesterday.
Two girls, ages 5 and 8, were allegedly raped in Kandal province, and a 13-year-old was allegedly raped in Battambang. Two arrests have been made in those cases. While the cases are tragic, McCabe said, the reporting of them is encouraging.
“This means there is no more fear,” he said.