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Videos depicting sexual acts between an art teacher charged with statutory rape and his alleged victims have been circulating on Twitter for days, Prachatai English has found. 

Source: Andreas Eldh (CC BY 2.0)

The videos first appeared on 17 January, the same day the 37-year-old suspect was arrested by police in Nakhon Ratchasima province. Police accused the man, identified by local media as Kanthapit, of filming his sexual encounters with multiple students, including underage individuals, at the school where he taught.

It is unclear who posted the videos to Twitter but the footage is quickly making rounds on the internet. A user account that published the videos has picked up 34,000 followers in recent days. Some of the videos, which appear to show explicit sexual acts between Kanthapit and a minor, have been viewed at least 450,000 times, according to the Twitter’s audience display. 

Although a reporter for Prachatai English reported the account and its videos to Twitter’s moderation centre on 19 January and flagged them as ‘child sexual exploitation,’ no reply was ever received, and no action was taken against the videos as of writing time. 

The episode reflects the testimonies by victims of sexual abuse in many parts of the world that videos of their plight often find their way to social media and continue to be readily available on the internet long after the crimes were committed. 

It is unclear whether the failure by Twitter to swiftly remove the videos flagged by Prachatai English is connected to the recent shakeup at its headquarters. Twitter’s new owner Elon Musk has axed a large number of technicians overseeing the site’s safety and content moderation, leading to warnings from many experts that the move could open a sluice gate for dangerous or abusive content on the platform. 

Police said investigators were alerted after Kanthapit accidentally posted videos of himself and his victims on the school’s LINE chat group. School officials said Kanthapit was immediately suspended from his job, pending an investigation. The victims were identified to be students from the classes of Mathayom 3 through Mathayom 6 (Grade 9 to Grade 12). 

Before police could move in and apprehend Kanthapit, the art teacher stabbed himself in the chest with a knife on 17 January and was sent to a hospital. His wounds were said to be non-life threatening. Police later arrested him on charges of statutory rape and violation of the Computer Crime Acts, which prohibits the import of illegal material into the computer system. 

Pol Col Sanchai Pisaipan, chief of Non Sung police station, which has jurisdiction over the case, said that Kanthapit was granted bail by the court on 19 January. Sanchai added that more victims and their parents are stepping forward to file charges against Kanthapit.

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