CHON BURI – Banglamung Police have detained Khun Noi a 57-year-old man suspected of raping a four-year-old girl in a Chon Buri children’s shelter but he has denied committing the crime.
Investigators say the child was raped on repeated occasions after she was placed in the shelter in June when her mother was detained on a drug charge.
The shelter in Bang Lamung district is under the responsibility of the Social Development and Human Security Ministry.
The mother was released from prison last week and contacted the shelter to get her daughter back. They were reunited on Thursday afternoon.
The mother told police that later that night the girl became sick, so she took her to Bang Lamung Hospital early Friday morning. Doctors who examined the girl found that she had a fever and had been assaulted, with bruises on her body and bleeding from her vagina and anus.
The girl told her mother that she has been raped by several older boys almost every day when she was at the shelter. Even on her last day there she was raped in the morning, the mother said.
Pol Col Supachai Phuikaewkam, superintendent of Bang Lamung Police Station, took the girl to the shelter and she identified an older man, later identified as Noi, in his bed in the male quarters.
The man admitted knowing several children including the girl. He said the children helped push his wheelchair and he denied assaulting or raping the girl.
A former police officer who was fired in 1975 for drug dealing, Mr Noi said he had been living at a disabled shelter in Chachoengsao for many years after developing hip trouble that left him without the use of his right leg.
He later found out that he had a life-threatening disease and sought a transfer to get treatment in Rayong province. While waiting to be placed at the new house, he had been staying at the children’s shelter in Bang Lamung for more than month.
Despite the man’s denials, police said they were detaining him because the girl positively identified him as one of the people who assaulted her.
They said there was at least one other attacker but would not say how many they were looking for. They also said they could not confirm that older boys at the shelter were involved as the girl’s mother claimed.
The chief of the shelter has been transferred to work in Bangkok, awaiting a disciplinary investigation.
Social Development and Human Security Minister Paveena Hongsakula said on Friday night that the ministry’s shelter system nationwide needed to be reformed to ensure that the houses will be safe places for those who need assistance.
Ms Paveena said the Bang Lamung shelter lacked a security system such as closed-circuit cameras. As well, she said, there was no proper screening process for those who were being accepted into the shelter.
“People who work at shelters should have a spirit of social contribution so there must be training and screening of officials to ensure that they are ready mentally to care for children to prevent the same problems,” she said. Related Story Click Here