Cleghorn….victim of injustice in
The Cambodian group accused of bribing teenage girls to falsely testify against convicted Kiwi rapist Graham Cleghorn has broken its silence with claims he filled his home with girls as young as 11.
Cleghorn, 58, formerly
of Petone, is serving a 20-year jail term in a
The centre has hit back with claims Cleghorn and his wife procured girls from poor villagers to live with them as house servants. It said some of the 10 servants were made to massage Cleghorn at night and five testified that he raped them.
The New Zealand Government raised concerns about the handling of Cleghorn's 2004 trial, which lasted just nine hours.
An appeal was conducted and dismissed without his knowledge in January. Foreign Affairs Ministry officials have held meetings with Cambodian authorities in an effort to bring about another appeal at which Cleghorn would be present.
Cleghorn claimed he owned valuable land adjacent to the ancient Angkor Wat ruins and a corrupt judge who wanted the land persuaded his sister, head of the centre, to offer teenage girls US$10,000 to press rape charges against Cleghorn. His daughter, Heidi Madeley, said the centre's allegations were "outlandish".
But the centre sent detailed explanations of its position to a New Zealander who was advocating a fair appeal for Cleghorn.
In the e-mails, it claimed the rape complainants were among a group of 10 girls, some as young as 11, who lived with Cleghorn. It said police questioned staff at two private clinics who said Cleghorn's wife had regularly brought the girls in for injections that prevented pregnancy.
"The five girls who testified and five others who were questioned by police were poor Cambodian girls aged 11-19 who lived with Cleghorn and his (wife), supposedly as domestic helpers.
"Why did he need 10 domestic helpers (when) one or two are enough for serving him and his (wife)?"
It also questioned the legitimacy of Cleghorn's relationship, claiming his wife, Buot Touer, was actually in a relationship with another man.
She had come to live with Cleghorn as a pubescent girl, the organisation claimed.
Cleghorn and his wife were arrested in October 2003 and found guilty in February 2004. Touer was given a three-year suspended sentence for conspiracy.
Mrs Madeley claimed she had visited the complainants' village and four of them had wanted to retract their evidence.
The girls lived with Cleghorn as employees of his shrimp farm. Many families were counting on an alleged US$10,000 bribe from the centre to buy their way out of poverty.
The organisation denied
using bribery in its work in corruption-rife
and a few other organisations in