Two charged in separate rapes of 5-year-olds

Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday charged a 27-year-old man with raping a five-year-old girl, while in a separate case Battambang Provincial Court also charged a 16-year-old boy with raping a five-year-old girl, court and police officials said.

Em Sokha, 27, was arrested Saturday and charged yesterday with the rape of a five-year-old neighbor in Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district, said district penal police chief Yim Davuth, adding that Mr Sokha was in detention.

Mr Sokha allegedly found the victim outside her school on Saturday, invited her for a walk, then took her to a pagoda in Toek Thla commune and raped her in the bathroom, Mr Davuth said.

“The mother of the victim was scared and searched for her daughter…. Then she came back home and saw her daughter…and the victim reported to her mother what the suspect did to her,” Mr Davuth said. “I sent the suspect to be charged at the municipal court.”

He said the mother told police that Mr Sokha used to bring her daughter to school, but that she had had stopped allowing this after the girl reported that he was touching her inappropriately.

In a separate case, a 16-year-old was arrested Saturday and charged yesterday with the rape of a five-year-old neighbor in Battambang province’s Sampov Loun district, said provincial deputy prosecutor Uy Samphea.

“The suspect is in pre-trial detention in the provincial prison and the investigation is ongoing,” Mr Samphea said.

The mother complained to military police on Saturday that her daughter had been raped by Mr Kamry at a farm near her house in Srei Meanchey commune, according to district deputy military police chief Ouh Kamal. The suspect had come across the victim when she was picking fruit from a guava tree, he added.

Lim Mony, deputy director of the women and children’s rights program for Adhoc, said 300 cases of rape were recorded nationwide by Adhoc from January to July this year. Of those, she said 195 involved victims who were under or close to 10 years old.

“In many cases, the suspects were drunk and ignorant,” said Ms Mony, adding that she did not have statistics on hand for 2009.

In a Nov 15 interview, National Police commissariat spokesman Kirth Chantharith said that between January and August this year, 188 rape cases were recorded, up from 154 for the same period last year. Mr Chantarith could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Yin Mengly, Battambang provincial coordinator for rights group Adhoc, said the number of reported rape cases was on the rise in his province, “especially underage rapes,” although he said he did not have figures available. Mr Mengly blamed alcohol, pornographic videos and a lack of education, among other things.


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