Monk charged with child pros­ti­tu­tion

Lesotho Times - - International -

PH­NOM PENH — A se­nior monk in western Cam­bo­dia who con­fessed to sex­u­ally abus­ing 10 novices and then pay­ing them to keep quiet is to stand trial for child pros­ti­tu­tion, po­lice said yes­ter­day.

He gave the novices aged 11 to 17 be­tween 50 000 and 100 000 riels ($12.50 to $25) “to buy their si­lence be­fore hav­ing sex­ual in­ter­course with them”, Duong Thavary, head of the po­lice ju­ve­nile pro­tec­tion bureau of Siem Reap prov­ince, told dpa.

Vung Chet was ar­rested on Sun­day af­ter he “con­fessed be­fore us”, the po­lice of­fi­cer was quoted as say­ing by the Cam­bo­dia Daily.

The boys were threat­ened with dis­ci­plinary ac­tion if they did not com­ply, the re­port said.

The po­lice were tipped off by vic­tims’ fam­i­lies, Duong Thavary said.

Vung Chet was the chief monk at the pagoda for two years in Siem Reap, the prov­ince which is also home to Angkor Wat ar­chae­o­log­i­cal site.

He was de­frocked on Sun­day be­fore be­ing ar­rested, as the law does not al­low for monks to be taken in by law en­force­ment, the re­port said.

If con­victed he could face 10 to 15 years in prison for child pros­ti­tu­tion and five to 10 years for sex with a mi­nor.

In Cam­bo­dia, it is not un­com­mon for monks to be­gin their train­ing as small chil­dren, leav­ing home to live at a pagoda as novices un­der the care of older monks.

For boys from a poor back­ground, it of­fers room and board as well as education, with monks some of the most ed­u­cated mem­bers of so­ci­ety.

Sex­ual abuse of men and boys goes rel­a­tively un­re­ported, com­pared to that of women, ac­cord­ing to lo­cal NGO First Step Cam­bo­dia.

The NGO es­ti­mates that around one in six men are sex­u­ally as­saulted dur­ing their lives, ac­cord­ing to 2013 re­search. — DPA

Monk charged with sex­ual abuse of his ju­niors

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