A South Korean national who was the pastor of two churches in Siem Reap town was arrested yesterday after police received a tip-off that he had allegedly been sexually abusing children for “many years”, authorities said.
According to Duong Thavery, provincial chief of anti-human trafficking and juvenile protection police, suspect Park Youl had been living in Siem Reap for about 10 years, and was the pastor of one church in Siem Reap town and another in Prasat Bakong district. He was arrested yesterday at about 9am after police investigated a tip from child protection NGO Action Pour Les Enfants (APLE).
“APLE knew the information from a victim who stopped living in the church [in Seam Reap town],” said Thavery. “The victim stopped living there, and reported that she was called by the pastor to his room and he eventually had sexual intercourse with her.”
“After that, we asked for [permission] from the deputy prosecutor to look into the case. After the investigation, we called in the pastor for questioning and called in other kids,” she added. “Each of the kids was abused by the pastor for many years.”
Thavery said that Park had confessed to having intercourse with some of his eight accusers, but maintained he had only kissed others. The victims ranged in age from children as young as 11, to young adults as old as 21 whose abuse dated back several years.
An APLE press release on the case, however, gave the victims’ ages as 11 to 16.
The pastor allegedly plied the victims with money and other gifts, such as bicycles, according to the police report.
Park is expected be charged with indecent acts committed against a minor under the age of 15.