https://www.cambodiadaily.com/news/poli ... ims-79194/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;Police Close Orphanage Over Child Sex Claims
BY BEN SOKHEAN AND SIMON HENDERSON | MARCH 6, 2015
Police shut down the Our Home orphanage and school in Phnom Penh on Thursday, two days after child sex abuse allegations led to the arrest of its director—a former head of the anti-pedophile NGO Action Pour Les Enfants (APLE), which carried out the investigation.
Hang Vibol was arrested on Tuesday following a monthslong investigation into complaints of child sex abuse, said Lao Lin, chief of the juvenile protection unit at the Interior Ministry’s anti-human trafficking department.
On Thursday, the same joint team of police and Ministry of Social Affairs officials returned to the orphanage and shut it down, packing more than 60 children into vans and trucks bound for shelters run by other NGOs.
“We have been investigating him for a long time,” Mr. Lin said, confirming Tuesday’s arrest. As he spoke inside the orphanage grounds, staff and European volunteers shepherded tearful children with trash bags full of belongings into the vehicles.
Oum Sophannara, director of child welfare at the Social Affairs Ministry, who helped lead the investigation, said authorities felt they had no choice but to close the orphanage.
“Today, we decided to close that center because we…found evidence of child abuse,” he said, adding that a four-month investigation had followed an initial complaint made by “a child’s guardian who claimed to witness him committing child abuse.”
Mr. Sophannara added that 62 children—42 boys and 20 girls—were removed from the orphanage and placed into the care of three child-protection NGOs—Pour un Sourire d’Enfant (PSE), Enfants d’Asie Cambodia (ASPECA) and the M’lup Russey Organization. More than 20 children were also sent back to their families.
APLE released a statement Thursday describing how police had requested that the organization investigate sex abuse claims against Mr. Vibol, who was APLE’s first director when it launched in 2003.
APLE director Samleang Seila said Mr. Vibol’s relationship with the organization was irrelevant, and that he was pursued with the same vigor that his organization brings to all investigations of child abuse, uncovering seven separate allegations.
“Sex offenders can be anyone, but in this case, it is horrifying that a person who worked for more than 20 years to protect children is found to be abusing them,” Mr. Seila said.
“I think this is a clear message that we will investigate anyone, regardless of who they are,” he said, adding that charges of indecent assault with aggravated circumstances had been brought against Mr. Vibol last night.
The charges could not be confirmed through officials.
Mr. Vibol founded Our Home orphanage and school in Meanchey district’s Boeng Tompun commune in 1999, and it continued to operate during his two-year tenure as APLE director. Prior to that, he worked as a juvenile rights officer with local rights group Licadho.
Phann Sophea, a staff member at Our Home, said shutting down the facilities was an injustice and that he believed that his director was innocent.
“Police are accusing him of sexually assaulting children, but nothing like that has ever happened and any time activities like bathing and showers happen, there are supervising staff,” he said.
Mr. Sophea added that he believed that the accusations against Mr. Vibol were false, and made by a person with a vendetta against him.
“The person is a French national, who has had a dispute with our rector before,” he said, declining to name the individual.
Mr. Sophannara at the Social Affairs Ministry confirmed that a French national was behind the complaint, but said he could not provide any more information.
As they helped the children into the vans and trucks Thursday, Spanish, French and Swiss volunteers, as well as staff at the orphanage, said they understood the need to take action against the allegations but were upset by how quickly the children had been removed.
“You can see, they have treated them like animals,” said one enraged senior employee, whose French was translated by a 20-year-old Swiss man who arrived at Our Home five days ago and, like all of his colleagues, declined to be named.
“It is not right to treat them like this, to take them away from their brothers and sisters without telling them where they are going or letting them say goodbye.”
more...Orphanage Director Claims Child Sex Case Fabricated
BY SIMON HENDERSON AND KHY SOVUTHY | MARCH 7, 2015
The former chief of anti-pedophile NGO Action Pour Les Enfants (APLE), who was jailed Friday by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on charges of indecently assaulting children, claimed the allegations were fabricated by APLE founder Thierry Darnaudet as revenge for reporting his ex-boss to authorities over similar allegations in 2013.
Hang Vibol was APLE’s first director in 2003 but left the organization he helped set up alongside Mr. Darnaudet two years later to work exclusively as head of the Our Home orphanage and school in Meanchey district, where he was arrested on Wednesday afternoon.
“The Phnom Penh Municipal Court charged him with indecent assault based on articles 246, 247, and 248 of the criminal law [as] he committed indecent assault against many children,” said deputy municipal prosecutor Kol Bon on Friday, declining to comment further.
On Thursday, APLE released a statement acknowledging its role in the arrest and resulting relocation of more than 60 children at the orphanage, which was shut down on Thursday. The group said it had pursued its ex-director with the same vigor as any other suspected pedophile after being asked by the authorities to investigate Mr. Vibol.
But outside the courtroom yesterday, Mr. Vibol said Mr. Darnaudet was taking revenge on him after Mr. Vibol attempted to report the Frenchman to authorities two years ago for violent and sexual assault against children.
“Thierry Darnaudet was angry with me because I sent a report to the Ministry of Social Affairs and the Ministry of Interior in 2013 asking them to ban the APLE president from running an organization in Cambodia,” Mr. Vibol said.
“I knew his story—I knew he had committed child sex abuse in India and Cambodia,” Mr. Vibol said.
Mr. Vibol claimed that two disgruntled former senior staff members, who he had forced out of Our Home two years ago, had done Mr. Darnaudet’s bidding by filing false complaints and then manipulating innocent children into accusing him of sex crimes.
“I did not commit these crime against the children—I deplore child abuse,” said Mr. Vibol, who worked as a juvenile rights officer for local NGO Licadho in the 1990s.
“In the cases I am accused of, I was bathing them normally like any father would bathe a child, but Jean Marie Anno and Keo Pisethdara twisted this,” he said, referring to his two former colleagues.
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- Sir Duncan
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Like the spoilt child she is, she will not be happy till she destroys herself from within and breaks your heart.
astute observation by duncan.
some of the tactics aple uses with kids as bait are abhorrent and destructive to those kids.
on probabilty alone, i believe mr vibol.
There was also his lengthy emails exchange with a former SHV french pedophile that were published online on some weird website.
I have no idea about the guy as I don't think I ever met him, but some think there is shady side of him.
Thierry Darnaudet was accused of violently assaulting a child in India a few years ago, but the charges were dropped. I don't think there was anything sexual in nature about the accusations (not that this justifies violence).
He also tried to kill himself while living in Calcutta. This was in 2007.
I don't think he is a pedophile, but I do think that he's done a remarkable job of burying both those stories and that says a lot about his character.
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