The Phnom Penh Municipal Court acquitted the publisher of the Khmer Times newspaper of sexual harassment charges Monday afternoon, in a case relating to accusations of sexual advances made to a former employee.
Judge Koy Sao announced the not-guilty verdict for sexual harassment on Monday. The judge said he had thoroughly considered statements from the plaintiff’s lawyer and the deputy prosecutor before making the decision. He gave no further explanation in court.
The trial was conducted last week with neither Mohan nor a defense lawyer present. A statement from the plaintiff’s lawyer accused Mohan of abuse of power and sexual harassment and requested $100,000 in compensation.
The case relates to accusations made by a former Khmer Times employee, April Reposar, in 2019, when she alleged that Mohan had made inappropriate advances by promising money for sex. Reposar left the country and has not attended the trial but has been represented by her lawyer Ham Phea.
Phea said he would speak to Reposar and decide what to do next.
“I think [the verdict] is not acceptable because we have submitted some evidence. However, it is the right of the client to appeal,” Phea said.
Reposar said in an email on Monday that she was not surprised with the verdict given Mohan’s connections. She pointed out that Mohan had not presented a defense in the courtroom.
“The justice system sure is f— up,” she said.
Mohan has not responded to emailed questions.
In 2019, Reposar supplied WhatsApp chats where Mohan apologized “for my proposal,” though in a later message he asked her to reconsider the proposition. Mohan denied the allegations at the time and said the chat logs were “heavily redacted and distorted.”
Additional reporting by Michael Dickison