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Seven charged over school rape scandal

Police yesterday pressed charges against seven men — five teachers and two alumni of a school in Mukdahan province — for alleged sexual assaults on a 14-year-old student over the past year.

All denied the charges and applied for bail which was granted, according to Pol Col Namchai Sriwiang, chief of Phueng Daet police station which is overseeing the case.

Pol Col Namchai said the suspects are accused of repeatedly molesting the girl since March last year.

The charges came after the girl’s grandmother informed police last Monday the girl had told her about the assaults and they wished to press charges.

According to the report, in March last year, the girl was lured by a maths teacher to a staff room where he sexually assaulted her.

The girl and her grandmother claim the teacher continued the assaults before inviting the other six men to join in at different times and locations.

The attacks were said to have taken place in several locations, including classrooms at the school and the houses of the suspects.

The girl told police that another 16-year-old student, a girl in Grade 10, had also been assaulted by the group.

In her statement to police, the girl said the men had also videoed the assaults and threatened her against telling the police.

In the case of the second alleged victim, deputy police spokesman Pol Col Krisana Phathanacha­roen told the media yesterday an investigation is underway and police are prepared to press further charges. The second girl has apparently given a statement.

Pol Col Krisana said national police chief Chakthip Chaijinda had ordered a forensic team to gather evidence from the scenes of the alleged crimes as well as the suspects’ homes.

Meanwhile, the Education Ministry has launched a disciplinary probe against the five accused teachers, according to Amnat Wichayanuwat, secretary-general of Office of the Basic Education Commission.

The men have been transferred to the Educational Service Area Office pending the results of the probe and if the accusations are found to hold ground, they will face severe penalties.

For now, the ministry has withdrawn their teachers’ licences due to the serious nature of the allegations, according to Mr Amnat.

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