Monk Defrocked, Arrested for Rape of Minor

A 20-year-old monk was arrested in Kratie province on Tuesday after being defrocked on Monday for allegedly sneaking out of his pagoda and raping a 14-year-old girl he claimed he loved, police said.

Nem Bunnang, who lived at Wat Tamao in Prek Prasap district, was arrested by police following a complaint made by the mother of the girl, whom he allegedly raped on Sunday night, said Huot Lim Heang, chief of the provincial police’s serious crimes bureau.

“We arrested the defrocked monk based on the complaint from the victim’s family,” Mr. Lim Heang said. “At about 9 p.m. [on Sunday], the suspect changed out of his monk robes and came to rape the girl at her house behind the pagoda.”

Mr. Lim Heang said the monk knew the girl and contacted her shortly before going to the house where she lived with her aunt to make sure that she was alone.

Deputy district police chief Tuon Nara said the monk raped the girl after arranging to meet her.

“He said he was just coming to visit, but when the girl opened the door, he pushed her to the floor and raped her,” he said. “When the [girl’s] cousin arrived, the monk climbed out of the window and fled to the pagoda.”

Mr. Nara said police found the monk’s jeans, cap and T-shirt near the girl’s home.

“The suspect claimed he did not rape the girl, but that he loved her,” he added, explaining that the pair met shortly after Khmer New Year in April.

Mr. Lim Heang said Mr. Bunnang had to be defrocked on Monday before the police could arrest him Tuesday, and that he would be sent to the Kratie Provincial Court today to be charged with rape of a minor.

“Yesterday, the monk officials and the provincial department of cults and religion officials joined together to defrock him,” Mr. Lim Heang said. “We will send him to the provincial court tomorrow.”

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