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Convicted Kampong Cham teacher still free

An exterior view of the school where former teacher Kem Chan Chhen allegedly sexually abused four students last year.
An exterior view of the school where former teacher Kem Chan Chhen allegedly sexually abused four students last year. Eliah Lillis

Convicted Kampong Cham teacher still free

Three weeks after a third arrest warrant was issued for a teacher convicted of sexually assaulting young students in Kampong Cham, police have still failed to arrest him, with the deputy provincial police chief claiming yesterday he had not received a warrant.

Kem Chan Chhen, a former teacher in Kampong Cham province, was found guilty on June 21 of sexually assaulting four girls in his care four years ago and using threats to secure their silence about his abuse.

Judge Ham Mengse sentenced him to five years in prison and issued yet another warrant for his arrest the same day, even though arrest warrants had already been issued in October and in December prior to Chan Chhen’s trial.

Provincial Deputy Police Chief Pol Vuthy defended the authorities’ inaction. “I have not seen the warrant yet and have not received it yet . . . and the previous warrant was invalidated [as it had expired],” Vuthy said.

One of Chan Chhen’s lawyers, Kea Eav, said his client had fled and intended to file an appeal by the end of this week. “The judge was biased. He made the punishment through his desire to get famous,” Eav claimed.

“He did not commit [this crime], and he just got along well with his students and students got along with him too, and this teacher made a mistake in that he broke his ethics,” Eav said, indicating Chan Chhen was merely “friendly” with students and not abusive.

“The judge should not have sentenced him to a heavy five years [in jail],” Eav added.

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