Police officers in Surin have detained a primary school teacher on suspicion of sexually harassing at least 16 girls in his class since last year.
Yesterday, Pol Maj Gen Chanchai Pongpichitkul, commander of Surin Provincial Police, said the 39-year-old teacher, identified as Sailab Oontan, was apprehended at a house in Phanom Dong Rak district on Wednesday morning, before being taken for questioning at the district police office.
Sailab has been remanded in custody at Surin Provincial Court for further legal proceedings pending his bail request.
The arrest came after the victims’ parents lodged complaints with Phanom Dong Rak police against the Prathom 3 (grade 3) teacher who allegedly made indecent advances and sexually harassed the girls who attended his class.
The suspected harassment began when the students were in Prathom 2 (grade 2), according to police.
According to police investigators, at least 16 school girls, between the ages of 8 and 9, suffered harassment. Each student was harassed at different times and places in the school.
The young victims and their parents have been summoned by police to give statements in a session to be joined by the prosecutors, psychologists and social workers.
Police said they have gathered sufficient evidence and will ask the court to issue a warrant for Sailab’s arrest should he be granted bail.
The arrest warrant will be sought jointly by Surin Provincial Police and Phanom Dong Rak police following an order to seek the warrant made by Pol Lt Gen Panurat Lakboon, commissioner of Provincial Police Region 3.
The arrest warrant was being secured urgently because Phanom Dong Rak district is located near the Thai-Cambodian border, making it easy for the accused to try and flee the charge if he gets bail, according to Pol Maj Gen Pongpichitkul.