Man Charged With Rape Of Disabled Orphan Girl

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Friday charged and jailed a 34-year-old moto-taxi driver who has confessed to raping a mentally handicapped orphan girl near the Sokha hotel, an official said.

Mean Sophal, who often gave rides to staff at the luxury hotel in Chroy Changva district, spotted the 14-year-old girl as she was collecting saleable scrap in the area at about 3 a.m. on Tuesday, and raped her in an unused vendor’s shack in the area, according to police.

He was arrested that afternoon after the victim’s aunt—with whom the girl lives on a fishing boat on the Tonle Sap river—filed a complaint with local authorities, and subsequently confessed to the crime under questioning at the district police station.

On Friday, Mr. Sophal was charged at the municipal court, according to deputy district police chief Ek Sereyvuth “The court decided to charge him with rape and the court sent him to be detained at Prey Sar prison this morning,” he said.

While rape carries a maximum jail term of 10 years, rape with aggravating circumstances—wherein the victim is under the age of 15, or particularly vulnerable—is punishable by up to 20 years.

Mr. Sereyvuth declined to say whether Mr. Sophal was charged with the more serious form of the crime.

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