Kampong Chhnang Provincial Court Investigating Judge Phy Daro has placed a former acting pagoda chief monk in pre-trial detention for allegedly having sexual intercourse with four minors in December.
Provincial court spokesperson Hong Kim Hak identified the former monk as Orn Chhai Rak, 28.
“Chhai Rak has been charged under Article 42 of the Law on Suppression of Human Trafficki ng and Sexual Exploitation,” he said.
Chhai Rak faces between five and 10 years in prison if found guilty.
On January 13, the Kampong Chhnang provincial court prosecutor questioned Chhai Rak after he was arrested on January 11 in Svay Rieng province’s Chantrea district for molesting four novice monks and sodomised them in December last year at Angserey Sovann Pagoda in Rolea Ba’ier commune of Kampong Chhnang province’s Rolea Ba’ier district. The novice monks were aged between 13 and 17.
Srey Soda, head of the Kampong Chhnang provincial police’s Anti-Human Trafficking and Juvenile Protection Bureau, said Chhai Rak is a native of Phsar Kandal commune’s Tuol Pongro village in Banteay Meanchey province’s Poipet town
Soda said the court had ordered the accused to appear for questioning on January 21 over complaints filed by parents of the novice monks. He said Chhai Rak had initially fled to his home province of Banteay Meanchey before moving to a pagoda in Svay Rieng province, where he was defrocked and arrested.
“We did not question the suspect [Chhai Rak] at length because I arrested him on the court’s warrant,” he said.