A FRENCH national has been arrested and charged with abusing underage boys for the second time in three months, court and police officials said Sunday.
Jean-Marie Beranger, 61, was arrested last Friday in Kampot province and charged with purchasing child prostitution. If he is convicted, the charge carries a prison sentence of between five and 15 years.
The new allegations concern eight boys between the ages of 12 and 14 in Phnom Penh and Kampot province, said Keo Thea, a police chief of Phnom Penh’s Anti-human Trafficking and Juvenile Protection Bureau, who led the operation.
Suspect was free on bail
The arrest comes less than four weeks after Beranger – who is now in pretrial detention – was released on bail after being charged with committing indecent acts against a 13-year-old boy in Preah Sihanouk province in September.
Samleang Seila, country director with the group Action Pour Les Enfants (APLE), commended the police for re-arresting Beranger, but said the suspect should never have been freed in the first place while awaiting trial on the original charge.
“I hope this sends a strong message warning the courts not to release the accused on bail,” Samleang Seila said.