Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday convicted an ex-monk and sentenced him to 11 years in jail for raping a 5-year-old girl in Prek Pnov district in January.
Presiding Judge Ham Mengse identified him as Prum Seth, 39, from Kandal province’s Ponhear Leu district.
He said the victim lives in Prek Pnov district’s Ponhearpon commune.
Judge Mengse noted that Mr Seth was charged with rape with aggravating circumstances.
“The court decides to convict and sentence him to 11 years in jail,” he said.
Judge Mengse said that at about 5.30pm on Jan 31, the victim was playing alone in front of her house while her parents were out.
He said Seth, who had quit the monkhood and lived with a friend in the commune, kidnapped her and took her to stay overnight with him in an abandoned cottage.
“After bringing her to the cottage, he molested her and raped her several times,” Judge Mengse said. “After the rape, he forced her to stay overnight in the cottage and warned her not to tell her parents or anyone else. He threatened to beat her if she did.”
He noted that after the child went missing, her parents alerted local police after they could not find her.
Judge Mengse said that at about 6.30am the next day, the victim escaped when Mr Seth was asleep and walked home from the cottage.
He noted that the mother checked her and found injuries to her genitals. The child then told her what happened.
Judge Mengse said the parents complained to police, who arrested Seth at about 7.30am in the cottage.
The victim’s father yesterday lauded the court’s decision, but said the sentence was too lenient.
“I appreciate the court’s ruling, but I think that his sentence is too low,” he said. “He was an older person who forcibly raped my youngest daughter. The court should have sentenced him to at least 15 years [the maximum] in jail.”
Mr Seth could not be reached for comment on his sentence yesterday.
However, during his trial on Sept 4, he denied raping the girl.
He confessed that he brought the child to stay overnight with him, but claimed that he only touched her genitals.
“I confess that when she was staying with me I merely kissed her and touched her genitals,” Seth told the court.
“I did not have sex with her because she was too young.
“I regret my mistake and I would like to ask the court give me a light sentence. I promise that I will not do this again,” he added.