A 20-year-old Buddhist monk was charged by Kandal Provincial Court yesterday for having sex with a minor in his pagoda room in Kandal province’s Khsach Kandal district.
Seng Buntha, a military police officer with the provincial anti-human trafficking and juvenile protection department, identified the suspect as Sou Pha, a monk residing at Svay Chroum pagoda in Khsach Kandal district’s Svay Chroum commune.
He said the suspect was charged with sexual intercourse with a minor under the age of 15 and faces from five to ten years in jail if convicted. Mr Pha has now been sent to prison.
Mr Buntha said that according to a military police report, the suspect last year went to study at a local English language centre in Svay Chroum commune where he met his 12-year-old victim. They later reportedly fell in love and became a couple.
“They became girlfriend and boyfriend. The suspect always persuaded her to visit his room,” he said.
“He promised to marry her when she turned 18. He had sex with her many times in his room at the pagoda.”
Mr Buntha added the girl’s parents filed a complaint against the monk to district military police on Thursday once they heard about the scandal.
The suspect was later arrested, defrocked and expelled from the pagoda on Friday before charges were laid yesterday.