Nathaphop Boonthongtho, 51, who faces disciplinary action over his alleged sexual abuse of a 14-year-old, has allegedly angered his bosses further by his absence from work.
“If he is absent from work for 15 consecutive days without a valid reason, he will be punished for a serious disciplinary violation,” Suwit Sichai, acting chief of Nakhon Ratchasima Provincial Education Office, said yesterday (Jan 29).
The school principal has not turned up for work for six straight days, citing illness.
Officials are checking a medical certificate Nathaphop submitted to back his claim that he is suffering from a lung infection, said Sanong Susa-at, head of Education Zone 6, which oversees Nathaphop’s school – Wat Ban Patong Tha Neon Samakkhee School, in Bua Yai district.
The school director said he needed to see doctors on Sunday (Jan 28) and today (Jan 30) but would return to work on Thursday (Feb 1), Mr Sanong said.
Nathaphop has been transferred to an inactive job as a result of the scandal.
He and the girl have kept a low profile since the sex scandal sparked a media frenzy.
Bua Yai police chief Col Kharom Boonsod said on Sunday that Nathaphop had contacted officers and promised to turn himself to police tomorrow (Jan 31).
The scandal prompted Mr Suwit to sign an order yesterday kick-starting a disciplinary probe into accusations of sexual abuse now involving at least two female students.
The investigation must be wrapped up in 180 days, he said.
An initial investigation found the 14-year-old girl, who is studying in Matthayom 2, or Grade 8, became involved in an intimate relationship with Nathaphop. In Line messages, Nathaphop even called the girl his “wife”.
The girl’s parents have still refused to allow police to question their daughter, Mr Sanong said.
Social welfare officials yesterday suggested the girl and her mother stay for a while at the Nakhon Ratchasima Shelter for Children and Families, hoping this will help relieve anxiety the girl is suffering from as a result of the publicity, he said.
A 13-year-old school friend of the girl also allegedly fell prey to Nathaphop.
Her parents lodged a complaint with police on Saturday, accusing the school director of trying to sexually assault their daughter in his car. He allegedly offered the girl B2,000 to have sex with him, but she refused, the parents said.
Police have so far questioned 20 witnesses and are looking to hear what Nathaphop and the 14-year-old girl have to say, deputy Bua Yai police chief Lt Col Sukri Plangkan said.
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