Friday, 7 March 2008

US Hari Krishna leader accused of pedophilia in Cambodia

Asia-Pacific News
Mar 6, 2008

Phnom Penh - The president of a Hari Krishna-affiliated aid organization has been arrested in a guesthouse, allegedly in the company of two young girls in a state of undress, an anti-trafficking police chief said Thursday.

US national Thomas Rapanos Wayne, alias Tattva Darshan Das, whose age was not given, president of the non-government organization Bhaktivedanta Eco Village (BEV) Cambodia, was allegedly arrested in a Phnom Penh guesthouse in the company of two girls aged 12 and 16.
The age of consent in Cambodia is 15.

Phnom Penh Municipal anti-trafficking police chief Eim Rathana said Wayne was arrested Wednesday and investigations were continuing.

'The American has denied the charges, and we must continue to investigate,' Rathana said by telephone.

BEV registered in Cambodia as an aid organization focusing on agricultural assistance, education and child care in 2006.

An anti-trafficking group which said it assisted in arresting Wayne, Action Pour Les Enfants (APLE), said by email Thursday that the alleged victims had been cooperating with the investigation.

Rathana said Wayne had yet to be charged Thursday evening.

The relatively obscure branch of his BEV organization in Cambodia claims to assist 'little children and even university students aspiring to learn,' according to its website.

Cambodian authorities have arrested dozens of foreign pedophiles in recent years, often with the help on non-government organizations such as APLE, in an effort to shake off its reputation as a haven for child molesters.

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