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Child rape sentence upheld for NGO volunteer

Child rape sentence upheld for NGO volunteer

An ex-volunteer for an anti-trafficking NGO yesterday lost his appeal bid to overturn a seven-year sentence for raping children in his care.

Sem Sam, 20, who volunteered at Agape International Ministries (AIM) in Phnom Penh’s Svay Pak commune, was found guilty of sexually abusing four boys under the age of 15 by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court in October 2014. The Appeal Court yesterday upheld the verdict.

“The accused Sem Sam was sentenced to seven years in jail, following the decision from the lower court,” presiding judge Pol Sam Oeun said.

AIM director Don Brewster said he was “completely confident” the steps the NGO had taken would prevent further predators accessing and abusing children in their programs. “The inability to fully vet local volunteers means we no longer take them,” he said.

The mother of the accused, Ly Vang, said that the verdict was “unjust”, and while her son confessed to molesting two of the boys, he claimed he did not rape them. She said he would appeal to the Supreme Court.

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