Group Probes Court-Dismissed Child Rape Case

A human rights group is investigating the alleged statutory rape of a 13-year-old girl by a 48-year-old police officer in Kompong Thom province after police dismissed the case, the group’s representative and the victim’s mother said Thursday.

Licadho received a complaint from the girl’s mother, claiming that You Kol, 48, a police lieutenant in Santuk district, sweet-talked and bribed her teenage daughter into having sexual relations, Licadho investigator Ek Sothea said.

“We tried to ask [the girl] but since she loved him, it was hard for us to get some facts from her. [We only did] after we talked to her again and again,” he said.

You Kol allegedly convinced the girl to follow him to an empty house after a village ceremony on Jan 3, where he raped her, said the Choup Romdoul village chief, who declined to give his name. The village chief said You Kol later sought his help to negotiate compensation.

“She was convinced that she would get a necklace if she loved him, and because she is too stupid, that is why she agreed to it,” he said.

Whether they are apparently consenting or not, sexual intercourse with a minor under 15 carries prison terms of five to 10 years, according to the Anti-Human Trafficking Law.

The girl’s mother said she is afraid of retributions if she insists on filing a complaint with the police.

“I cannot file a complaint with the police since they are the same group [as the suspect], so they will help each other,” she said. She added that police demanded that she write the complaint herself, which she can’t do because she is illiterate.

The mother filed her complaint with Licadho on Feb 4, after negotiations for compensation with the police officer failed: she was asking for 3 million riel (about $750) and he would only agreeing to a half million (about $125), she said.

“I don’t need to do anything with this case since I asked the mother and victim already, and both said that the policeman didn’t do anything to her and withdrew the complaint,” said Santuk district police chief Mat Moly.

National police spokesman Kiet Chantharith said there was no internal affairs division to investigate alleged misconduct by police officers and that victims should go to higher-up police officials, such as provincial police, if local officers are biased.

“Even though they are police, if they commit a crime, they will be punished just like others, following procedure,” he said.

Chea Poeun, the major crime police chief for the province, said he was not aware of the complaint but would investigate it.

“It’s impossible that police can do such a thing,” he added.

You Kol couldn’t be reached for comment.

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