Man Arrested for Alleged Sexual Abuse of Girls

Police in Sihanoukville arrested a 68-year old Canadian national on Monday for allegedly sexually assaulting two sisters ages 10 and 12 in the popular seaside town, police said Tuesday.

Daniel Lavigne, from Quebec province, was arrested on a tourist bus that had just left the Sihanouk­ville bus station for Phnom Penh, said Soun Sophan, deputy police chief for the municipal anti-human trafficking and juvenile protection bureau.

Lavigne claimed he did not have sex with the two girls, but confessed to sexually molesting them, Soun Sophan said by telephone, adding that Lavigne claimed to be a boy­friend of the victims’ mother since meeting her in 2007 in Phnom Penh’s Boeng Kak lake backpacker area.

“[Lavigne] didn’t confess. He said that as the person who looks after [the children], he just petted [the victims],” Soun Sophan said, adding that police plan to also investigate the girls’ mother.

Samleang Seila, country director of the anti-pedophile organization Action Pour les Enfants, which helped police in their investigation, said Tuesday that his staff had been investigating Lavigne since mid-2008.

Samleang Seila alleged that La­vigne took the mother of his two young victims along to the locations where the alleged abuses took place.

“He always brought along the mother to cover up any suspicions,” he said. “It is a new trend and technique.”

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