Cofounder of anti-sex-trafficking group hit with more rape charges

Reuters News
Posted: Feb 14, 2014 7:51 PM

By Jonathan Kaminsky

OLYMPIA, Washington (Reuters) - A cofounder of an anti-sex-trafficking group who fled Washington state for his native Nepal after being accused of raping his teenage stepdaughter has been hit with additional charges stemming from the alleged abuse, prosecutors said on Friday.

Dhan Pun, 41, was arrested last March and charged with two counts of third-degree child rape and one count of third-degree child molestation in connection with accusations that he had raped his then-15-year-old stepdaughter.

But Pun posted $50,000 bail and fled to Nepal ahead of a November court date, said Kathy Jo Blake, a deputy prosecuting attorney for Snohomish County. His defense lawyer had been negotiating a plea agreement with prosecutors at the time, she said.

The additional charges against Pun, which were filed in King County Superior Court earlier this week, accuse him of raping his stepdaughter four or five times a month between 2010 and 2012, beginning when she was 13. They include two counts of second-degree child rape and a second count of third-degree child rape.

Prosecutors said the abuse began in 2009 after Pun created a fake online identity of a boy that he used to befriend his stepdaughter on Facebook.

When the girl confided the abuse to Pun's alter-ego, she was encouraged to continue having sex with Pun, according to court documents.

Prosecutors say they would like to return Pun, who is wanted on a $100,000 fugitive warrant, to the Seattle area to face the charges, but the United States has no bilateral extradition treaty with Nepal.

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"Its been extremely difficult when we've tried before to extradite people from countries where there is no agreement," Blake said. "I don't believe we've been successful."

Together with his wife, Pun founded the Women's Prevention and Protection Center Nepal Foundation in Washington, which is devoted to "fighting against human trafficking and changing lives one woman, one child at a time," according to its website.

In the event Pun returns, King County prosecutors are requesting his bail be set at $500,000.

(Editing by Dan Whitcomb and Prudence Crowther)