Pastor Charged With Procurement of Child Prostitution

A South Korean pastor accused of raping several girls who lived with him at his church was charged on Friday with procurement of child prostitution and sexual abuse of a minor.

Park Youl, 62, who was arrested on Wednesday after being called in for questioning by Siem Reap municipal police based on a tip, was charged in the Siem Reap provincial court and sent to the provincial prison on Friday morning, court spokesman Riem Channy said.

Mr. Park was accused of abusing eight girls, including six who lived with him at the Christian church, and buying them and their families off with gifts of rice, cash and motorbikes, according to Duong Thavry, the province’s anti-human trafficking police chief.

She said Mr. Park admitted to raping some of the girls, who were now aged between 13 and 21.

In a statement released on Thursday, child protection NGO Action Pour Les Enfants said it had been investigating the church for more than a year and believed the pastor had used his religious beliefs to create “opportunities to abuse and exploit children.”

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