A widower in Battambang province who repeatedly raped his young daughters after forcing them to watch pornographic videos on his laptop was arrested in Ek Phnom district last week and jailed on aggravated rape charges over the weekend, police said Sunday.
Nun Phal, 46, a fisherman who had been raising three daughters alone since his wife died two years ago, was arrested at his house in Ek Phnom’s Prek Luong commune on Thursday, according to Lorm Larn, chief of the district police’s judicial bureau.
Mr. Larn, who led the police investigation, said Mr. Phal was apprehended two days after his eldest daughters, aged 7 and 9, fled their home after their father tried to rape the 9-year-old while drunk. Mr. Phal’s youngest daughter, aged 5, was left behind, he said.
The bureau chief said the fisherman confessed to raping the two older girls five times each over the past month. He said the 9-year-old told investigators that she was raped twice, while the 7-year-old told them she was raped 10 times. Both said their father often made them watch pornographic DVDs on his laptop before he assaulted them, and was always drunk.
“After he watched the pornography, he became aroused. Then he forced himself upon his daughters,” Mr. Larn said.
“The oldest one ran to her neighbors and told them that her father had raped her, but the neighbors did not believe her,” he added. “He raped the oldest one twice, and the last time was on a hammock; it even caused the hammock’s ropes to snap.”
Heng Luy, a deputy prosecutor at the Battambang Provincial Court, said Mr. Phal was charged with rape with aggravating circumstances on Saturday, then sent to prison to await trial.
Chhun Thorn, the chief of Duon In village, where the family lived, said that in retrospect, Mr. Phal had likely been raping his daughters since late May—when the girls began telling neighbors about his crimes—but that nobody believed the children’s claims.
“The children were too small, and there has never been such a case in the village—a father raping his own daughters,” he said. “Sometimes they tried to avoid going home by sleeping at a school. Sometimes villagers saw them and invited them to have a meal at their house.”
Mr. Thorn said that on Tuesday night, when the two older girls fled following Mr. Phal’s latest rape attempt, they slept at a school, then made their way to their uncle-in-law’s house in a neighboring village the next day. The uncle-in-law then sent them to Mr. Thorn’s house on Thursday morning, he said.
“I decided that I would not give the children back to their father. I gave them food and they took a shower at my house,” Mr. Thorn said, adding that as the children told him what their father had done, he contemplated his options.
“I was afraid that if their story was not true, and that if police heard about it, they could arrest him [Mr. Phal] and it would be disappointing,” he said. “So then I asked the children and they spoke to me honestly. So I told the police, and the district police went to arrest their father.”
Uon Soeut, 56, who is married to the older sister of Mr. Phal’s deceased wife, said the girls showed up at his house dirty and distressed, having convinced some locals to row them across the lake that separates their village from his.
“They came to me wearing old clothes and told me their father had raped them,” he said. “On their bodies there were bruises, and their thighs and their forearms were swollen.”
Mr. Thorn, the village chief, said Mr. Phal’s daughters were now in the care of an NGO in Phnom Penh.