Officer Avoids Rape Charge by Claiming Love for 14-Year-Old

The Preah Vihear Provincial Court on Monday charged a commune police officer who had intercourse with a 14-year-old girl with the lesser crime of sex with a minor instead of rape because investigators said the sex was consensual.

Sen Sokin, 30, a staff sergeant at the Sdao commune police station in Sangkum Thmei district, was accused of raping the teenager by the girl’s brother, said deputy provincial police chief Keo Chamroeun. But during police questioning, he said, both Mr. Sokin and the girl said the sex was consensual, leading to the lesser charge.

“We arrested him on Monday based on the complaint made by the brother of the girl, who accused him of raping his sister,” Mr. Chamroeun said. “The plaintiff said [Mr. Sokin] raped the girl three times during September and October.”

“Following questioning of the suspect and victim, they said they agreed together,” he said.

Under the criminal code, the rape of a minor carries a prison sentence of seven to 15 years. Sex with a minor under the age of 15, a separate crime under the Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation Law, carries a prison sentence of five to 10 years.

Khat Hun, chief of the provincial police’s minor crimes bureau, said the police officer received the lesser charge because he said that he loved the girl.

“The suspect admitted to having sex with the girl, but he said he did not force her because he loves the girl,” Mr. Hun said.

“I think this case is not a rape case because they love each other and it happened one or two months ago,” he said, “but he is still at fault because he had sex with a minor.”

Mr. Hun said Mr. Sokin was handed to Investigating Judge Veng Muoyky, who charged him with having sexual intercourse with a minor under 15 years old, and placed him in provisional detention at the provincial prison. The judge could not be reached for comment.

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