An Indian national was yesterday convicted of indecent assault against a child but still remains free, court officials said yesterday. The victim was present as defendant Raj Deo, 42, was sentenced in absentia to 14 months in jail and ordered to pay 3 million riel (about $730) for indecent assault against his 14-year-old neighbour.
Siem Reap court spokesperson Yin Sreang confirmed that Deo was sentenced in absentia because he was not currently in detention.
“Maybe he was released on bail, but I have no information about his release,” he said, adding that Deo will be arrested if he does not appeal the verdict within 30 days.
But Sambath Sokunthea, child rights technical coordinator at Plan International, said the offender should be arrested immediately. “Children might be at risk . . . if there is no action from the local authorities,” she said.
According to Vando Khoem, program director for Action Pour Les Enfants (APLE), Deo was a clothes vendor who was arrested in December for the crime. “He rented a room nearby the girl and one day he forced her into his room and tried to assault her.”