THE British founder of the Siem Reap-based Cambodia Orphan Fund, who on Friday was charged with sexually abusing a child, may face further charges as more children come forward with complaints, the director of a child-protection NGO involved in the investigation said yesterday.
Nicholas Patrick Griffin, 53, was arrested on Wednesday following a raid on the Siem Reap orphanage by local police and the British-based Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre, a division of the British police.
On Friday, the provincial court charged Griffin with committing an indecent act against a minor, which carries a sentence of between one and three years in prison. He was also charged, along with orphanage manager Chan Rasmey, with the unlawful removal of a minor, which carries a two-to-five-year sentence.
Samleang Seila, director of child-protection NGO Action Pour Les Enfants, said yesterday that he believed more charges were imminent.
“So far there has only been one child, [but] some of the children are not ready to discuss the sexual abuse, because they were still being supported by the accused,” he said.
He said that cooperative investigations between APLE and the CEOP into Griffin had begun in November 2008, when Griffin was accused of molesting a minor. No charges resulted from those accusations.
“The proactive side of [CEOP’s] investigation began last week,” he added.
CEOP spokesperson Vicky Gillings said yesterday the organisation received “recent intelligence” that allowed local law enforcement to swoop in.
COF director Lidia Linde said yesterday that the organisation – which was founded by Griffin in 2007 but is not legally registered as an NGO – was busy looking after the orphanage’s roughly 70 children, while working towards becoming registered.
“At the moment I am looking for a new house and bank account. I am asking for help more than ever,” she said.
Siem Reap investigating judge Sok Leang said no date had been set for a hearing.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY RANN REUY