Girl, 4, claims rape by HIV man at Thai shelter

THAILAND - An ongoing police investigation has suggested that an HIV-positive man with some mobility impairment is among the alleged abusers who sexually violated a four-year-old girl at a state-funded shelter in Chon Buri.

The suspect, who could not move his right leg, has stayed at the shelter for nearly a month.

The victim identified him as an attacker, but the man denied any wrongdoing. He is now in police custody.

Social Development and Human Security Minister Pavena Hongsakul has vowed to take a tough stand against any official found to have been negligent or involved in the sexual abuse of the girl, who is now in hospital.

"If found guilty, the officials will face harsh punishment," Pavena said yesterday. She also ordered checks at all other shelters to prevent such an incident recurring.

The victim was remanded into the care of the Chon Buri Home for Children and Family about two months ago after her mother was arrested for drug abuse.

After her release from prison, the mother was reunited with her daughter, but within hours, it was discovered that the little girl had been sexually abused.

Chon Buri police say the girl told her mother that while she was at the shelter, she had been raped on a number of occasions by older boys at the home.

Bang Lamung Police Station superintendent Colonel Supachai Phuykaeokam said the last alleged abuse occurred on Thursday morning, just before the girl was reunited with her mother. The mother took her daughter to hospital after she discovered bleeding near her genitalia.

"We will investigate this complaint and bring the culprits to justice," Supachai said.