A recently ordained monk was defrocked and arrested in Takeo province on Saturday morning after admitting to raping a young nun at his pagoda multiple times earlier in the week, police said on Sunday.
Kheav Sophal, 37, was arrested at Prang Andet pagoda in Samraong district on Saturday morning after he admitted to raping a 21-year-old nun three times on Wednesday evening, said deputy district police chief Khun Yan.
According to Mr. Yan, the victim was fast asleep after taking sleeping pills when Mr. Sophal broke through the bamboo floor of her house at around 8 p.m. and forced himself upon her.
“That’s why she felt sleepy and powerless to stop the suspect,” he said. “But she was able to scratch his back several times while he was raping her.”
Mr. Sophal, who was ordained about five months ago, threatened to kill the victim if she reported the attack to anyone, causing her to delay reporting the crime until Friday evening, Mr. Yan said.
“At first, the victim did not dare to file a complaint against the offender because she was afraid,” he said. “After she talked with her mother, she decided to come to see us and filed the complaint with us.”
Upon arriving at the pagoda, police found scratches on Mr. Sophal’s back and he confessed to the crime, he said, adding that the suspect was being held at the provincial police office and would be sent to the provincial court today.
According to Mr. Yan, Mr. Sophal was released from prison in 2014 after serving five years for theft with aggravated circumstances.
The monkhood has been beset by cases of rape and other violent crimes in the past year. Cults and Religion Ministry spokesman Seng Somony said the latest case could serve as an opportunity to put measures in place to prevent future attacks at pagodas.
“It is just an individual mistake,” she said. “However, the management of each pagoda should strengthen their discipline so that culture and religion can be better respected.”