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US man charged for molesting underage girls in Siem Reap

Khy Sovuthy / Khmer Times Share:
Mr Cline has been placed in pre-trial detention. Swift News

Siem Reap Provincial Court has charged a US national with indecent acts for allegedly molesting four underage girls.

Court spokesman Yin Srang yesterday said an investigating judge on May 22 charged Rugh James Cline with indecent acts and placed him in pre-trial detention.

Mr Cline was arrested on May 20 at the provincial police station after he was brought in for questioning over accusations that he molested the girls.

Brigadier General Duong Thavry, provincial deputy police chief, said last week that Mr Cline was arrested after provincial anti-human trafficking and juvenile protection officers received a complaint from mothers of two girls who were sexually abused.

Brig Gen Thavry explained that police identified a total of four abused girls related to the case, all of them under the age of 15.

She said Mr Cline molested the girls multiple times beginning earlier this month, adding that the suspect offered each girl $10 to $50 each time he molested them.

Khoem Vando, a child protection specialist with Action Pour Les Enfants (Aple), yesterday said he was notified by the court that Mr Cline had been charged. He added that the organisation has provided legal aid services to the victims as the case continues.

“After the families of the four underage girls asked for support, Aple has provided a lawyer to defend the four victims and their families,” Mr Vando said.

According to a statement released by Aple, Mr Cline’s victims were aged between 12 to 15 years.

The organisation also noted in the statement that together with its partners, it will continue to assess, monitor and provide support to the girl victims in order for them to recover from trauma and carry on with their lives in the healthiest way possible.

Mr Vando noted that cases of foreigners sexually abusing children in Cambodia continue to happen.

“According to figures that sources have reported to Aple about cases of foreigners who committed sexual abuse on children in Cambodia, if we compared the figures between the first five months of 2018 and 2019, the numbers are similar,” Mr Vando said. “Now foreign suspects seem to be more careful than before, and they use all sorts of strategies to sexually exploit children.”

An Aple investigation published last year noted that foreign tourists suspected of paedophilia continue to visit the Kingdom to exploit weak law enforcement, with as many as 102 cases recorded in 2017 and 89 cases in 2018.

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