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Cambodian monk charged with sexually molesting young French girl

The Associated Press, December 31, 2007

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia -- A Cambodian Buddhist monk may serve up to three years in prison if convicted on charges of molesting an 8-year-old French girl visting the ancient temples of Angkor with her family, officials said Monday.

The monk, Ouk Ratha, was charged with sexual harrassment Saturday after police received a complaint from the girl's parents, said Sun Bunthong, a police officer in Siem Reap province.

He said the monk, who has been defrocked, lured the girl to a quiet spot among the temples Friday before touching her genitals.

Under Cambodian law, the monk faces a prison term of up to three years if convicted, the officer said.

The ancient temples, Cambodia's no. 1 tourist attraction, are located in Siem Reap province, about 230 kilometers (143 miles) northwest of the capital Phnom Penh.

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