Yesterday, Phnom Penh Municipal Court hands down two charges of indecent act against a minor under 15 and sexual intercourse with a minor under 15 to a 51-year-old Australian national after his arrest by the Anti-Human Trafficking police on suspicion of sexually abusing 6 boys aged between 5 and 13 years.
The suspect was arrested while leaving his apartment in Phnom Penh accompanied by two young boys. Media devices with a large volume of child abuse materials involving Cambodian and Western children were found in his possession and seized by police for analysis. The children were brought to the police station for interview and were later referred to a temporary shelter with order from Prosecutor. They received support from APLE’s social workers during the whole process and their families were informed of the referral in a meeting with police, prosecutor and representative from the department of social affairs.
According to APLE, the suspect has been living in Cambodia for more than five years, where he worked as an English teacher at a private children school.
It took too long for the collection of evidence due to the complicity of some families with the abuse, which could be motivated by the financial support they received from the suspect, and because of the close relationship the children had after the suspect groomed them over an extended period of time. From our experience, after such a substantial grooming effort, the child always fears in disclosing abuse and seeking out support, said APLE expert.