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School chief faces police probe over alleged relations with teen

Jan 24. 2018
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By Prasit Tangprasert
The Nation

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PROVINCIAL POLICE Region 3 has set up a team to investigate claims that a 51-year-old Nakhon Ratchasima school director had an inappropriate romantic relationship with a 14-year-old Mathayom 2 schoolgirl.

Bua Yai district superintendent Pol Colonel Kharom Boonsod said yesterday that the initial probe, as per the region chief Pol Lt-General Damrongsak Kittiprapat’s order, would be complete within three days. 

If the accused school director was deemed guilty, police would file a charge under the Criminal Code’s Section 317 of taking away a minor under 15 from the parent/guardian. 

This is punishable with imprisonment of three to 15 years and a fine of Bt6,000-Bt30,000, he said.

Ban Patong Thanoen Samakkee School director Nathapop Boonthongtho – who was transferred immediately on Tuesday to an inactive post pending a disciplinary panel investigation – has not been seen this week. Nor has the girl, although her mother said she was staying with a relative in Sakhon Nakhon. 

The girl’s 40-year-old mother, whose name was withheld to protect the girl’s identity, yesterday insisted she didn’t believe her daughter would behave in this way. She also said that an “unfair” allegation had been brought forward “against an innocent teenage girl” by the mother of the girl’s Mathayom 3 ex-boyfriend. 

She said she would wait to hear from her daughter about what really happened and would not take any legal action against the school director yet. 

The Nakhon Ratchasima Primary Education Service Area Office 6’s fact-finding probe into the allegations should be complete by next week, said office director Sanong Sudsa-ard. 

If there has been wrongdoing, the case would be forwarded to the provincial education office to launch a serious disciplinary probe against Nathapop, he said.

This could lead to him being fired from the civil service without pension or benefits if deemed guilty.

Sanong also addressed questions about claims that Nathapop had conducted an inappropriate relationship with a Prathom 6 student at his previous school.

Sanong said Nathapop was found to have inappropriately touched the girl and was punished with a 5 per cent salary reduction for two months plus a transfer to this school. He said Nathapop had settled the case with that student’s family, although he didn’t elaborate.

Education office deputy director Supapongsa Chantharang, who led the investigation’s preliminary fact-finding panel, said yesterday that his team had interviewed four members of the school committee, the ex-boyfriend and two close friends of the girl.

 They had found some grounds suggesting Nathapop had demonstrated inappropriate behaviour towards the girl. He said Nathapop allegedly paid special attention to the girl and often took her out alone. Supapongsa said the team would interview more teachers and students to get more details. 

He urged the girl to talk to his team so they “could directly hear from the damaged person”. Nathapop should also explain his side of story to ensure justice to all parties, Supapongsa said. 

Nathapop has called in sick and has not yet presented himself for his new duties at Nakhon Ratchasima Primary Education Service Area Office 6.

 

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