Traditional Healer Charged With Raping Patients

A 68-year-old traditional medicine healer in Battambang province was arrested and charged on Saturday for raping a woman, and sexually abusing or raping three others including an underage victim, when they went to him for treatment, police said Sunday.

Chea Tab was arrested in Mong Russei district’s Chrey commune on Friday after he allegedly raped a 22-year-old female patient who had gone to him as she was blind in one eye, said Kith Heang, district police chief. Upon questioning, the suspect confessed to raping the victim twice in the past two weeks, and also sexually abusing two other women who were seeking treatment, Mr. Heang said.

“The suspect raped the 22-year-old victim twice when she was sent by her parents for treatment… After her parents complained, two other women also complained,” Mr. Heang said. “During his five years as a traditional healer, Chea Tab sexually abused and raped many victims…but they didn’t dare report to the po­lice because they were ashamed and afraid that their husbands would get angry.”

“In fact, the suspect, Chea Tab, does not know how to treat patients. He only lures them to rape them or sexually abuse them,” Mr. Heang said.

Chet Vanny, deputy provincial police chief, said the suspect was charged with rape and sexual abuse on Saturday and is currently being held in pretrial detention in the provincial prison.

“Now the police are trying to find other victims, and we are also investigating whether he raped an underage girl who is 15 and stayed with him for traditional healing,” Mr. Vanny said.

In Kompong Thom province last year, another traditional healer was arrested for raping a woman, and possibly dozens of others, under the pretense of administering medical treatment.

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