Thursday, August 30, 2007

Man Arrested for Sexually Assaulting Children at a Thai Temple

By Rachel Krech
According to a recently published Los Angeles Police Department press release, a man who was once employed as a photographer and a janitor at a Los Angeles Thai temple has been arrested by police officers for sexually assaulting a total of 7 children who attended a summer school program at the temple.

The arrest happened back on July 31, 2007 at around 11:40 in the afternoon. The man, Chalearmchai Nopthaisong, the 41-year-old janitor and photographer, was arrested on charges of Kidnapping and Lewd Acts on a Child. As previously stated, the suspect was employed as a janitor and photography for the Thai Temple in North Hollywood.

Los Angeles Police Department investigators learned about the assaults when one of the temple's summer school students, a girl of about 7 years old, told her mother that Nopthaisong has grabbed her, locked her in a room of the temple, and took inappropriate pictures of her body. The victim's mother did not take it lightly as she immediately told the Thai Temple Head Monk, as well as the Los Angeles Police Department.

What the Los Angeles investigators found was shocking. The 7-year-old was not the only supposed victim of the suspect. Investigators discovered that there were six additional victims, ages ranging from 4 to 8 years old. Police still believe there may be even more victims out there who have not been identified or have come forth about their abuse or abuser.

Currently, Nopthaisong is being held in police custody. His bail has been set at $9 million. Nopthaisong has not been able to pay his bond, so he will remain in local police custody. Police also discovered that the said suspect is an immigrant of Thailand as well. The Los Angeles District Attorney has not announced his trial date to the press at this time.

Despite the suspect being held in police custody for the said charges, Los Angeles police and investigators are still searching for information about Nopthaisong. Investigators believe that there may be more victims out there, so they're urging anyone who may have been abused or anyone with information regarding the suspect or this specific case to contact Officer Alma Mercado at the Los Angeles Police Department, Juvenile Detectives, Sexually Exploited Child Unit at 213-485-2883. On weekends or during off-hours call the 24-hour toll free tip line number at 1-877-LAWFULL (529-3855).

Police have also released Chalearmchai Nopthaisong's mugshot, hoping that it will help people identify him or come forward with more information.

Note: Immigration status unknown; even if legal, this denotes broken immigration system.

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