Two boys sent to the Battambang provincial social affairs department on Tuesday after confessing to attempting to rape their 6-year-old neighbor will be sent back to their families by Monday after an orphanage refused to take them in, officials said on Wednesday.
Huot Samnang, an official at the social affairs department, said he took the two suspects—aged 11 and 13—to the National Borey Children Orphanage 2 on Tuesday evening, but was told in a meeting with the management team from French NGO Enfants D’Asie Aspeca on Wednesday afternoon that the two would not be permitted to stay.
“They refused to allow both boys to stay at the center because they don’t want such boys, who have sexual feelings, to stay in the center with their children,” he said.
Mr. Samnang explained that the other children living in the center, who are largely orphaned or disabled, do not have criminal or socially disruptive backgrounds. It was feared the addition of the two boys could be a corrupting influence.
On its website, Enfants D’Asie Aspeca states that they currently co-manage 16 state-owned orphanages throughout Cambodia that support “abandoned children, homeless children or poor children from ethnic minorities.”
Mr. Samnang said that the boys would be returned to their parents’ homes on either Sunday or Monday, where they would receive monthly lessons in morality from social affairs department specialists.
The director of the orphanage, Noeu Somaly, confirmed on Wednesday that the two boys would be returned home by Monday, adding that the center had never before turned away children sent there by the social affairs department.
Man Sima, a provincial monitor for rights group Adhoc, said on Wednesday that the victim, who was pinned down by a group of boys behind her house during the attack, was still recovering at the provincial referral hospital.
“I believe the victim’s virginity is fine, because the boys did not manage to penetrate her,” she said, adding that the girl had suffered numerous external injuries.