Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday tried a former monk over the alleged rape of a five-year-old girl in Prek Phnov district in January.
Presiding Judge Ham Mengse identified the accused as Prum Seth, 39, a former Buddhist monk from Chhovaing commune’s Prasat village, located in Kandal province’s Ponhear Leu district.
Judge Mengse said the victim was a five-year-old girl living in Ponhearpon commune’s Thom Tbong village, located in Phnom Penh’s Prek Phnov district.
He said Mr Seth was accused with rape with aggravating circumstances under Article 241 of the Criminal Code and faces between seven to 15 years in jail. He added that the accused was arrested in February.
Judge Mengse said that at about 5.30pm on January 31, the victim was playing alone in front of her house in Ponhearpon commune while her parents were not home.
Judge Mengse said Mr Seth, who at the time had just left his monkhood and was staying with a friend who lived in the same commune as the victim, passed by the victim’s house. The accused then took her to stay with him overnight at an abandoned cottage.
“After he took the victim to the abandoned cottage, he sexually abused her and raped her numerous time,” Judge Mengse said. “After the rape, he confined her in the cottage overnight.”
“He told her not to tell her parents or anyone else. He also threatened to beat her if she told anyone,” he added.
Judge Mengse noted that the victim’s parents that day reported her disappearance to police.
He added that at about 6.30am on the next day, the victim returned home. The victim’s mother inspected her and saw she was injured. The victim told her mother about what happened.
Judge Mengse said the victim’s parents immediately filed a complaint against the accused to police, leading to Mr Seth’s arrest at about 7.30am on February 1 at the cottage in Ponhearpon commune.
During his trial yesterday, Mr Seth denied the allegations. However, he confessed that he took the victim to stay with him overnight at the cottage, where he kissed her and molested her. He said he did not have sex with her.
“I regret my mistake,” Mr Seth said. “I would like to ask the court for a minimum sentence and I promise that I will not make the same mistake again.”
A verdict is due October 4.