A French national convicted of sexually abusing young boys for years while he was running a child welfare group in Sihanoukville is still actively involved with the organization and continues to be featured in its promotional material.
When Philippe Broaly was arrested in October 2014, authorities said the children’s charity he founded and directed, Enfants du Cambodge, or Children of Cambodia, was simultaneously shut down.
However, Mr. Broaly, then 50, was released from prison just weeks after receiving a 14-month sentence, which was suspended by five and a half months, in June 2015, outraging local child protection NGOs who claimed he had used bribery and intimidation to secure his freedom. The Appeal Court officially ordered his deportation months later, despite the Frenchman having already moved back to France.
Despite his conviction in Cambodia and alleged offenses in France, recent online activity shows Mr. Broaly and his Cambodian wife, Chhan Nary, posting updates about Enfants du Cambodge’s activities throughout last year and into this year.
Photographs featuring Mr. Broaly surrounded by Cambodian children still plaster the website, hosted at enfantsducambodge.org, which was renewed under Mr. Broaly’s name with a French address in September.
A November newsletter described receiving “the gift of 2,000 euro awarded to Philippe Broaly to support the action of…Enfants du Cambodge.” In December, another newsletter boasted that “Nary and Philippe are valiant to have held on for Enfants du Cambodge and guaranteed what they had promised ten years ago.” Last month’s edition provided a lengthy explanation for new transaction fees.
The Enfants du Cambodge Facebook page had also been posting status updates and photos of Cambodian children receiving support from the organization up until a week ago, but was quickly shut down last week after a reporter sent in questions.
Until last week, Mr. Broaly also listed Enfants du Cambodge as his place of employment on his personal Facebook page, and continued to share posts from the organization, including a photo of him standing in front of an Enfants du Cambodge sign on a fence in July. Sihanoukville is listed as his current place of residence, and although child protection sources who were close to the case doubt he has actually returned to the country, they said they were on alert just in case.
When a reporter called a mobile telephone number for Enfants du Cambodge on Monday, a woman who returned the call said it was not the number for the NGO. However, when asked if the charity was still run by Mr. Broaly, she hastily answered, “No—no, he is not.” A French number listed for the organization went through to an answering machine message directing callers to send a text message instead.
Whether the convicted pedophile is in the country or on the other side of the world, his active connection with the children’s NGO was worrying, said Samleang Seila, the country director of anti-pedophile NGO Action Pour Les Enfants (APLE), who led the initial investigation into Mr. Broaly.
“It is something to be worried about, if he still has access to a network of children,” he said. “It should be enough to warrant the closure of an organization.”
Mr. Seila said the organization could have slipped under the radar after 2014 as there had been no visible “formal activities,” but added that authorities must take action now.
“They have to look at the website,” he said. “There should not be any fundraising activities at all—he can’t raise money for any children in Cambodia.”
Maggie Eno, co-founder and director of the Sihanoukville-based child protection organization M’Lop Tapang, said she was “speechless” that Mr. Broaly was still associated with Enfants du Cambodge.
“I just can’t believe this is still going on,” she said.
Ms. Eno said Mr. Broaly’s crimes had traumatized not only the victims, but those working with them as well.
“A female police officer that sat down with one of the victims burst into tears—it was the most violent and abusive [testimony] she had ever heard,” she said. “The nature of the abuse was so horrible.”
“We will advocate for donors and partners to stop working with him,” she added. “We don’t trust that he will stop abusing children.”
Preah Sihanouk province’s deputy police chief, Pen Kanhan, said they would not investigate the organization, as Mr. Broaly had been officially deported from Cambodia.
“His activity is out of Cambodia,” she said. “We can’t interfere with their jobs abroad.”
(Additional reporting by Khuon Narim)
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