Lawyer Wants Suspected Sex Abuser Arrested Case Offender’s Arrest Suspect

A lawyer representing a 14-year-old girl who alleged to police and child protection workers that she was sexually abused by a 73-year-old Aus­trian man has de­mand­ed police rearrest the alleged perpetrator.

Lawyer Huot Sophorn said the allegations against Ernst Ivanko­witsch, who was released Friday by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, amounted to a serious criminal case and he should not have been released by the court.

Arrested on Thursday following a police raid on his hotel room where he was found with the naked girl, Ivanko­witsch was released by Prosecutor Sok Roeun and Investigating Judge Kim Sophorn following in­terven­tion by the girl’s parents, who said their daughter was 16 years old—the age of consent.

Both parents recanted the age claim on Sunday and presented their family book document that confirmed their daughter was 14.

The parents said they did not believe their daughter’s alleged abuse claims against Ivan­ko­witsch, who has given the family several thousand dollars over the last decade.

Huot Sophorn said on Wednes­day that Ivankowitsch “must be rearrested. Otherwise I will appeal to the Appeals Court.”

Claiming there is no case to in­vestigate, the parents demanded Monday the girl be re­turned by the NGO who took her into care.

Staff at the child rights NGO Action Pour Les Enfants—who helped in the hotel raid—said the girl will appear in court today for further questioning.

Kim So­phorn said Wednesday that he has yet to speak to the girl, and that her al­leged abuser was released be­cause the parents said their daughter was 16. The family also had a letter from a commune official to support their claim, he said.

Police said Monday they do not know the whereabouts of Ivan­kowitsch.


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