Monk Arrested, Defrocked Over Rape of Girl, 14

Police in Takeo province on Sunday arrested a Buddhist monk for allegedly raping a 14-year-old girl at a pagoda in Prey Kabbas district, where the teenager was brought for a blessing to cure an illness, officials said Monday.

District police chief Chum Choeun said his officers went with local religious authorities to the pagoda at about 6 p.m. on Sunday after the girl’s parents told authorities that they suspected 33-year-old Ev Ny of assaulting their daughter.

“The victim and her mother arrived at the pagoda at about 10 a.m. to ask the monk to perform a water blessing to treat the girl, as she was pale and suffering from a headache and breathing difficulties,” he said.

The victim’s mother told police the monk took her daughter to a private prayer room and then returned with the girl to do a water blessing for both of them, Mr. Choeun said. When the mother noticed blood on the bed on which the ritual is performed, she assumed her daughter was on her period.

But when the pair returned home, the bleeding worsened, and they went to the district referral hospital, where doctors confirmed that the girl had been raped.

“We went to the pagoda and then questioned the suspect [at the police station], and he admitted…he had raped the girl,” Mr. Chhoeun said, adding that the monk said he used incense and prayers to convince the girl he was carrying out a legitimate ritual that would cure her illness.

“The girl has strong beliefs and her family trusted the monk and did not expect anything like this,” he said, adding that Mr. Ny was defrocked before being sent to the provincial police station for further questioning.

Srey Ren, chief of Po Romchak commune, where the pagoda is located, said Mr. Ny was well known in the area for his water blessings—which are not part of Buddhist doctrine—that he claimed cured the effects of black magic.

“This monk had a good relationship with the girl’s family and visited their house frequently,” Mr. Ren said. “But he did not respect Buddhist doctrine properly…and must be punished according to the law after being defrocked, because the victim is a juvenile.”

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