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'Abused' girl moved to new school

NAKHON RATCHASIMA: The 14-year-old student at the centre of the sexual abuse allegations involving a school director in this northeastern province will be transferred to a new school, an official involved in the case says.

Anan Dontree, of the Provincial Social Development and Human Security Office, said yesterday that the agency has enrolled the girl, a Mathayom Suksa 2 (eighth grade student) at Wat Ban Patong Tha Neon Samakkhee School in Bua Yai district, at a new school in Sikhiu district.

The girl will be moved to the new institute after her exams, Mr Anan said.

Mr Anan said the transfer was necessary as the student did not want to pursue further studies at her present school, saying she felt embarrassed about what had happened with school director Nathaphop Boonthongtho, 51.

Her last exam will now take place at the Nakhon Ratchasima Shelter for Children and Families where she is currently residing under the care of officials.

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Two 13- and 14-year-old girls who were classmates of the first girl have also been admitted to the shelter after claiming that they too had been sexually abused by Mr Nathaphop, said Mr Anan.

All three will undergo rehabilitation and counselling for 30 days. A mental and physical health evaluation will be conducted before being permitted to give statements to police.

Speaking about the progress of the case, Bua Yai police chief Kharom Boonsud yesterday said Mr Nathaphop told investigators he would acknowledge his charges today.

The school director faces charges of child abduction, performing an obscene act on a girl under 15 and defamation.

If he fails to report to police, a second summons will be issued, Pol Col Kharom said, insisting investigators would provide fairness to all sides.

Also yesterday, Suwit Sichai, acting chief of Nakhon Ratchasima Provincial Education Office, said a disciplinary panel had requested that Mr Nathaphop report to it as well.

The school director has been transferred to an inactive post during the panel’s investigation which will take about 120 days to complete, he added.