A 50-year-old man was on Thursday sentenced to two years in prison for sexually abusing three boys between the ages of nine and 14, according to lawyers for the victims and the perpetrator.
An investigation into Thoun Sambath began in September after child protection NGO Action Pour Les Enfants (APLE) received a tip-off about his “suspicious” behavior, according to a statement released by the organization Thursday.
Police arrested Mr. Sambath in Siem Reap province on September 15 and he was placed in provisional detention pending trial on charges of committing indecent acts, according to APLE.
Oeung Vanna, presiding judge at the Siem Reap Provincial Court, on Thursday handed Mr. Sambath a two-year jail term and ordered him to pay a total of 3 million riel (about $750) to the victims, said Chea Nara, a lawyer for the victims. “We accept the result,” Mr. Nara said.
He added, “During the trial, he confessed to committing the crimes and touching the boys.”
Sourny Sophea, Mr. Sambath’s defense lawyer, however, said the sentence was too harsh, as his client “just played with the boys and didn’t hurt them.”
“The court should have dropped the charges because he confessed and promised to stop committing more crimes,” he said.