Cambodia charges British English teacher with child sexual abuse

PHNOM PENH: A Cambodian court has charged a 37-year-old British English teacher with indecent assault after he sexually abused two teenage girls, an anti-pedophile organization said in a press statement on Friday (May 22).

NGO Action Pour Les Enfants (APLE), which assisted the police in a probe leading to the arrest of the man, said if found guilty, the suspect will be punished with one to three years of imprisonment.

APLE said in the press statement that the Siem Reap Provincial Anti-Human Trafficking and Juvenile Protection police, led by Police Colonel Chea Heng, arrested Watkin on Wednesday following the complaint from the mother of the two teenage girls aged 13 and 17.

It said the police conducted a forensic interview with the 13-year-old girl, who disclosed the abuse and implied that the accused had also molested her older sister.

"This case pertains to the third foreign national arrested in 2020 within APLE cases, marking the 14th foreigner, including six US citizens, five British, one Swedish, one German and one Australian national arrested since 2018 in relation to APLE Cambodia's Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation cases," the statement said.

In addition, 27 Cambodians were also arrested for Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation during the same period, it added.

APLE said it is working with the victims in order to ensure their emotional and physical recovery, while its lawyers are currently offering legal aid services to the family.

Cambodia launched an anti-pedophile operation in 2003 in a bid to end its reputation as a haven for child sex offenders. Since then, dozens of foreigners have been imprisoned for child sex crimes. - Xinhua/Asian News Network
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