During police questioning, jump rope trainer allegedly admitted grooming and raping boys
Nalinrat Tuthubthim, an activist against sexual abuse in Thai schools, attends a Bad Student rally in Bangkok on November 21, 2020. (Photo: AFP)
The coach of a skipping rope team has been accused of raping three boys under the age of 15 in Chonburi province, eastern Thailand, in a case that has shocked locals.
Sitthipan Sawangwan, 41, was arrested by police last week after a relative of one of the alleged victims filed a complaint against him.
During questioning, the jump rope coach, who has also scouted young boys for roles in television soap operas, admitted grooming and raping the boys, according to a senior police officer.
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Police said their investigations indicated seven other youths may have been raped by the coach.
“Teachers are supposed to have our children’s best interests at heart, but this man breached our trust and preyed on our children,” a resident said anonymously on social media about the case. .
In recent months and years, there have been several grim cases of teachers, to whom most Thais give automatic respect, sexually abusing children in their care.
In a similar case in 2020, a disadvantaged 14-year-old girl was repeatedly sexually assaulted and raped over a period of one year by five of her teachers and two male students at a school in Mukdahan province.
Last month, a 52-year-old physical education teacher who worked at a school in Kamphaeng Phet province in northern Thailand was arrested for allegedly raping a female student over an eight-year period from the when she was only 13 years old.
The teacher allegedly made a video recording of himself raping the girl in order to force her into silence by threatening to post the recording online if she told anyone about the abuse.
He also impregnated her twice and forced her to have an abortion, police said.
In a similar case in 2020, a disadvantaged 14-year-old girl was assaulted and raped repeatedly over a period of a year by five of her teachers and two male students at a school in Mukdahan province, in northeast Thailand, according to police.
A 16-year-old girl attending the same school was also abused by some of the same attackers.
The two girls were repeatedly raped for about a year from March 2019 and the perpetrators recorded some of the sex acts on their cellphones.
In several countries such as South Korea, Pakistan and Norway, repeat offenders convicted of serious sex crimes can be castrated by law or local authorities are considering doing so.
They warned the victims that they would distribute the recordings online if they told anyone. Silenced in this way, the girls continued to suffer repeated abuse, investigators said.
Rape and other forms of sexual abuse remain prevalent in Thailand, where the Ministry of Justice recently proposed a Violence-Related Recidivism Prevention Bill that would legalize the chemical castration of sexual predators in order to prevent recurrence.
In several countries such as South Korea, Pakistan and Norway, repeat offenders convicted of serious sex crimes may be castrated by law or local authorities are considering doing so.
“Chemical castrating should be considered for all those convicted of child molestation,” said Per-Willy Amundsen, Norway’s former justice and emergencies minister, adding that “all measures should be considered” against the “pedophile monsters”.
The Thai government is considering an equally drastic measure as more than 1,000 convicted sex offenders went on to commit further rape and other sexually-related crimes in the first year after their release from prison, according to the Department of Corrections.
About 1,700 men convicted of sex crimes re-offended within two years of their release, while more than 2,100 re-offended within three years.