Police say they are searching for a man suspected of sexually abusing three girls between the ages of 10 and 12 at a church-run care house in Kratie province last month.
The alleged crimes occurred in Chhlong district’s Chhlong commune between September 1 and 4, but the director of the care house did not file a complaint with the authorities until September 30, according to commune police chief Sok Samnang.
The children staying at the center were left in the care of Nor Thy, 37, who was not officially employed by the church but often stayed at the facilities with his wife, Nav Saihou, 32, the director of the center.
“The suspect sexually abused the young girls in the center while his wife was away,” Mr. Samnang said, adding that the alleged victims said Mr. Thy had used bribery and promises of future employment to manipulate them into performing sexual acts.
“The suspect called one of the victims to his room and let her sleep in his bed before he began to assault her,” Mr. Samnang said, adding the suspect promised to find the 10-year-old girl a job as a teacher and gave her 5,000 riel.
Mr. Samnang said police then interviewed the 12 children staying at the center, and two other 12-year-old girls told police Mr. Thy had sexually assaulted them.
During the time of the alleged crimes, Ms. Saihou was in Sambor district attending a Christian conference run by Foursquare, the Christian ministry that runs the center. Ms. Saihou said that when she returned from the meeting, her husband was no longer at the center.
Ms. Saihou said one of the victims told her about the alleged assault upon her return, and she then informed Foursquare Cambodian administrator Pow Naret.
“After I knew my husband raped the kids in the church I reported it to my boss to get some advice from him. My boss then told me to file the complaint to the police,” she said, adding that she did not immediately tell Mr. Naret about the alleged crimes because she thought the girl was lying.
Mr. Naret could not be reached for comment Thursday.
Deputy Kratie police chief Oum Phy said that he was aware of the case and that police were currently looking for Mr. Thy in Tbong Khmum province.
“We are searching for the suspect in Kroch Chhmar district because that is his hometown,” Mr. Phy said.
(Additional reporting by Taylor O’Connell)