BURIRAM — Police said Wednesday a man who raped a 14-year-old girl is out on bail and not considered a flight risk, though the victim’s family complained that the investigation didn’t proceed fast enough.
Somchai Kerdpra, 65, confessed to the police and the media to assaulting the girl, who had mental conditions, at his home in Buriram’s Mueang Phai subdistrict. Her family went to the police in June when she was five months pregnant, but reached out to the press Tuesday saying they were afraid Somchai would go unpunished.
Police said the suspect assaulted the victim five times since January.
Somchai told a reporter the first rape was to punish her for stealing his goods, but said the following assaults were consensual.
“I was just punishing her because I didn’t want to hit her, so I did it to scare her from not taking money again,” he said. “Then she kept coming back to the house.”
The girl’s uncle said Somchai offered them 20,000 baht in compensation when the family filed complaints to the police, but they refused the payment.
“She said he would pay her 20 baht each time he did it,” the uncle said Tuesday. “He went around the village and mocked us, saying ‘raping a disabled kid is not wrong.’”
He also suspected the investigation took too long because Somchai was an influential person in the community.
But local police chief Col. Wissanu Arpornpong said the suspect was not a “big name” in the area, “just a regular old man” and did not seem to go around “bragging” about his deeds.
Somchai was charged with a number of offenses including rape of a minor, carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.