Traditional Healer Arrested for Raping Teenager

A traditional healer was arrested in Pursat province on Monday over accusations that he repeatedly raped the 13-year-old niece of a patient after he told the girl that sleeping with him would facilitate her aunt’s healing, police said.

Police arrested Prum Someth, 72, after a neighbor reported the incident to local officials, according to Liv Seng Hem, police chief in Kandieng district, where the healer lived.

During questioning, Mr. Someth admitted to having sex with the girl six times at a house owned by the girl’s grandmother in Kanhchor commune since mid-October, when he began treating her sick aunt, according to Mr. Seng Hem.

“Commune police arrested the healer after questioning when he confessed that he slept with the underage girl,” he said, adding that the victim’s grandmother, Prum Phat, 54, had enlisted the help of the healer because her 32-year-old daughter was sick.

Ms. Phat allowed Mr. Someth to stay in a house on her property with Ms. Mom, and sent her granddaughter to assist him, the police chief said.

“During treatment, the healer invited the girl to his room and told her that he can’t give effective treatment to her sick aunt until she slept with him,” Mr. Seng Hem said, adding that the suspect would be sent to court today.

Hem Sophal, Kanhchor commune police chief, said the victim told police she agreed to sleep with Mr. Someth. Under Cambodian law, a person who commits “debauchery” against a minor under the age of 15, even if the victim gives consent, faces a prison sentence of between 15 and 20 years.

Kanhchor commune chief Khiev Noun said the rape had occurred because the victim’s family placed too much faith in the healer.

“Even though the girl agreed to sleep with him, we still arrested the healer because he persuaded and cheated the girl in order to give better treatment to her aunt,” he said.

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