Singer Appeals Child Prostitution Conviction

A popular singer who was sentenced to seven years in prison for pro­curing child prostitution maintained her innocence at the Court of Appeal in Phnom Penh on Wednesday, claiming that she did not provide a 14-year-old girl to a man for sex, a judge said.

Ou Reaksmey, who worked for tel­e­vision production company Rey Meas and karaoke video production firm Chhlong Den, was con­victed by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court in August for bringing the girl to have sex with a Cambodian-American man for three days in a row.
Ms. Reaksmey was arrested at her home in Pur Senchey district’s Choam Chao commune in Jan­u­ary 2014 after the girl’s mother filed a complaint with police.

“We questioned the victim directly and her mother but two other witnesses were absent,” Ap­peal Court Presiding Judge Plang Samnang said of Wednesday’s closed-door hearing, adding that questions were also put to Ms. Reaksmey.

“The accused rejected the accusations and claimed to not have brought the minor to have sex with the man,” he said. “But the plain­tiff told the court that the suspect brought her to have sex with a bald-headed old man.”

Judge Samnang said the girl told the Appeal Court that she agreed to have sex with the man be­cause Ms. Reaksmey had prom­ised her fame in exchange.

“The victim said Ms. Reaksmey had told her, ‘If you want to be a superstar, please sleep with him,’” the judge said. “The victim then agreed to sleep with the man, who claimed he would promote her to be a superstar.”

The age of consent in Cambodia is 16.

Judge Samnang said the Cambodian-American man—who has never been identified—remained at large. “The court has still not found that guy yet,” he said.

“Our Appeal Court will consider the evidence and on February 29, we will announce whether the conviction is correct or not,” he added.

Ms. Reaksmey and her lawyer, Nou Chantha, both declined to comment on Wednesday.

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