Monk Is Defrocked for Torture of Pagoda Boy

A monk was arrested and defrocked Wednesday in Banteay Meanchey for brutally torturing a 9-year-old pagoda boy under his tutelage over a period of several months, local officials said.

The monk, Khat Soty, 21, is accused of punishing the boy severely for minor infractions by burning him with a lighter, pouring boiling water on him, shocking him with electricity, and dripping hot candle wax onto him, according to Hem Sarin, the chief of Chhnuor Meanchey commune in Preah Netr Preah district.

Mr. Sarin said the monk would also badly beat the boy, let other pagoda boys stand on his back, and spray his buttocks with an aerosol deodorant, then use a lighter to set the flammable substance on fire.

“He was punished by the monk because he sang a song while the monk prayed,” Mr. Sarin said.

The child is now receiving treatment for his injuries at a clinic in the commune, and local authorities have been in touch with his mother in Kratie, he said.

Ith Ratha, deputy chief monk at the Prasat Preah Chhnuor pagoda, where the torture took place, said Mr. Soty had arrived at the temple a few months ago from a pagoda in Kratie, and had then invited several monks and pagoda boys from his former pagoda to join him, including the boy he tortured.

Mr. Soty was friends with the grandson of the pagoda’s chief monk, which could explain why the alarm was not raised sooner on his treatment of the young boy, Ith Ratha said.

“The other monks did not say anything about this case because they were afraid of Khat Soty because they heard that Khat Soty was well-connected,” he said.

Mr. Soty was sent to provincial police headquarters after his arrest and is expected to appear before the Banteay Meanchey Provincial Court today to face charges, police said.

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