Social support center manager jailed for molesting underage girls

By Binh Nguyen   May 15, 2020 | 05:12 pm PT
Social support center manager jailed for molesting underage girls
Nguyen Tien Dung stands trial for child molesting in HCMC, May 15, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Binh Nguyen.
A Saigon social support center manager will spend four and a half years in jail for molesting underage girls during his night shifts.

Nguyen Tien Dung, 49, was found guilty of "molestation of a person under 16" by a court in HCMC’s Binh Thanh District. The court found him guilty of repeatedly molesting four underage girls and ordered him to pay each victim VND20 million ($857) in compensation.

Dung was a manager of the center’s document management division at the HCMC Social Support Center run by the municipal Department of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs.

He admitted his guilt at court Friday.

While holding Dung responsible for committing the crime on many occasions, molesting children he was tasked with being responsible for, the court took cognizance that it was the first time he was committing such a crime and that he had cooperated fully with the authorities. They said they would consider these in deciding whether or not to reduce part of his punishment.

According to the indictment, four girls 14 to 16 years old were admitted to the center in Room C2 (for girls only) along with many others on May 29, 2019. Since Dung knew they were addicted to cigarettes, he used the knowledge to satisfy his lust.

For a month, during his night shifts at around 9 p.m., Dung would go to the bank of Room C2 via the parking lot. He would stand outside the window and invite the girls outside for cigarettes and food. He would fondle their breasts at this time. Once, he had a girl masturbate him.

Two months later, some of the girls were transferred to another center and others went home. Last November, the family of one girl reported his actions to the police in Binh Thanh District. Dung was arrested the same month. Police investigation found each girl was molested by Dung two to four times.

The Social Support Center in Saigon receives vagrants, beggars and homeless people. After three months, those who have families are allowed to go home while the rest are moved to shelters.

The director of the center, Vo Thi Thanh Kim, was demoted in January for Dung's actions.

Around 700 children in Saigon have been sexually harassed, molested or abused in the last five years, according to official figures. Many of them were injured, mentally scarred, pregnant, or even killed.

A person found guilty of child molestation can be sentenced from six months to 12 years.

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