The Siem Reap Provincial Court on Wednesday charged the director of an unlicensed English language school with procurement of child prostitution for allegedly pimping out his teenage students to foreigners volunteering at his school.
Veha Long, 32, was arrested on Monday after a months-long investigation into allegations from a former volunteer at the Underprivileged Children School in Sotr Nikum district that the director would arrange sexual encounters with his students for volunteers who made donations to the school.
“We already charged him and he was sent to the provincial prison for pretrial detention,” said Keut Vannareth, provincial court prosecutor.
Mr. Vannareth declined to say whether Mr. Long had confessed or to provide any details of the alleged crime.
On Tuesday, provincial anti-human trafficking police chief Duong Thavary said Mr. Long had denied the allegations, which included the claim that he had pimped out at least two 17-year-old boys.
The two boys were among nine students found to be staying with Mr. Long at his Siem Reap City rental house at the time of his arrest and who are now in the care of the provincial social affairs department.
Chao Leak Vanna, a monitor for rights group Licadho who has spoken with the nine teens and some of their parents, said the teens all claimed the allegations against Mr. Long were not true and the parents believed he was innocent.
“They requested our organization to help get the charge against Mr. [Long] dropped because he is a good person and he always helps children in the village learn English,” he said.
Ms. Thavary said authorities had ample evidence to secure a conviction, which would land Mr. Long in jail for up to five years.
“Those people can oppose his arrest because it is their right, but we have enough evidence to prove that Mr. [Long] committed what he is accused of,” she said.
Police say they tracked Mr. Long’s movements during their investigation and have unspecified “online” evidence of him making arrangements for volunteers to have sex with his students.
© 2014, All rights reserved.