Farmer Jailed Over Rape of 7-Year-Old Neighbor

A farmer accused of raping his 7-year-old neighbor after spending an evening drinking with the girl’s father was jailed on Friday in Svay Rieng province, police said.

Pich Sathoeun, 49, confessed to the crime following his arrest on Thursday and is now in provisional detention at the provincial pris­on, according to Keo Sotha, chief of the provincial police’s serious crimes bureau.

Mr. Sathoeun was drinking with the child’s father and another man at the victim’s house in Svay Rieng City on Wednesday when, at about 7:30 p.m., the father left to pick up his wife from the garment factory where she works, Mr. Sotha said.

The other man left soon thereafter, leaving Mr. Sathoeun alone with the girl, the bureau chief said.

“While he was raping her, the girl’s parents arrived home. Upon hearing the sound of the motorbike, he stopped and came to sit and drink with the girl’s father,” he added.

Mr. Sathoeun eventually left and the girl recounted the rape to her mother at about 1 a.m., prompt­ing the parents to contact the police, Mr. Sotha said.

He was arrested at his house at about 8:30 a.m. and later confessed at the city police station, he said. On Friday, he was charged with aggravated rape and sent to prison to await trial, he added.

In a separate case this week, police in Pailin province arrested a farmer for raping his 6-year-old neighbor.

Ou Roeun, 31, was arrested after questioning at the O’Tavao commune police station in Pailin City after the girl’s parents filed a complaint, according to deputy city police chief Leng Chhim.

“The suspect raped the girl on September 17 at the Prey Mong­kol Primary School,” Mr. Chhim said, declining to elaborate on the circumstances of the crime.

He said Mr. Roeun—now in custody at the provincial police headquarters—fled to Battambang province after the rape, but returned when summoned by commune police on Thursday.,

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