TWO teenage novice monks in Kandal province have been arrested on suspicion of raping two 6-year-old girls in a generator room at a monastery, officials said yesterday.
Van Sonsophan, an assistant in the office of Mok Kampol district’s Koh Dach commune, where the incident was reported, said the two novice monks were both 15 years old, and that they were living at Kra Pompich pagoda.
He said that on last Wednesday morning, the two monks allegedly lured the victims – students at Koh Dach primary school, which is on the pagoda grounds – to the monastery by promising to give them one package of noodles each.
“The victims followed the monks to the generator room, and about 20 minutes later they came out with pale faces,” he said.
He added that the monks were arrested on Thursday and taken to the Mok Kampol district police station, where they reportedly confessed to their crimes and were defrocked.
Kang Phal, deputy police chief in Mok Kampol district, said the suspects were transferred to Kandal provincial court on Friday but had not been charged.
Ouk Kimsith, a prosecutor at the court, confirmed yesterday that the two 15-year-olds were being held there but declined to comment further.
Tep Phara, the chief of Koh Dach village, where the victims live, said their parents had requested that the case be resolved with an out-of-court settlement payment.
“The parents of the victims wanted the case solved, not sent to the court, but the local police dared not do this because it is a big case,” he said.
He added that he did not know how much money the parents had requested.
Men Makara, provincial coordinator for the rights group Adhoc, said yesterday that he could not provide precise figures on reported rapes this year because he was away from his office. The last rape case in the province involving a member of the Buddhist clergy, he said, saw a 26-year-old monk in Kien Svay district flee after allegedly assaulting a 16-year-old girl. The suspect in that case remains on the run.