Police in Khon Kaen today are expected to ask a court for permission to hold an American man under investigation for the assault after he refused to re-enact the crime for the media.
Robert A. Gordon, 37, was arrested Oct. 2 at his condominium on Sukhumvit Soi 3 in Bangkok after police tracked his motorcycle from the northeastern province where he also allegedly attempted to sexually assault a 13-year-old girl.
Gordon, from the U.S. state of Colorado, reportedly confessed to the attack on the 45-year-old traditional-style massage therapist that left her beaten and bloodied. However, he claimed he acted under the influence of methamphetamines both at the massage parlor and the roadside honey stand where he is accused of exposing himself and advancing on the young girl while her parents weren’t nearby.
He is being held in a general-population cell at the Khon Kaen Police Station until investigators today request a 10-day detention order from the Khon Kaen Provincial Court to hold him at the regional prison.
Gordon threw a wrench into investigators’ plans, however, when he refused to participate in the crime-scene re-enactment usually staged by police for the media, relatives and the public. The American said he felt unsafe participating in the sideshow, which critics complain violates the rights of suspects and jeopardizes their chances of a fair trial.
Gordon’s worry about his safety appeared justified, as the victim’s son and other relatives went on record with Thai-language media to complain they were denied their chance to confront the suspect and alleged that he was being given special treatment by police.
The woman’s son, identified only as Ball, claimed that had the suspect been Thai, he would have been forced to do the re-enactment, although there is nothing in Thai law that requires the media circus to be held.
Thais, online, piled on, working themselves into quite the frenzy considering the huge number of sexual crimes committed regularly by Thais. Gordon’s case, however, is making Thais angry because it was a foreigner accused of the crime.
Police said they will try to convince Gordon to change his mind and make their jobs easier by confessing, but, in the interim, they will follow more established police procedures like interrogating him, interviewing witnesses and collecting evidence.
Currently, he faces charges of assault, rape and sexual abuse of the masseuse. No charges have yet been threatened for the incident involving the teen girl.
According to investigators, Gordon arrived in Thailand in January and applied for a long-term visa in Koh Samui. He reportedly most recently stayed in Amnat Charoen with a girlfriend, who, along with an attorney, has now arrived in Khon Kaen to assist him.
Police said the unidentified girlfriend told them Gordon wasn’t in Amnat Charoen on Sept. 27, the day of the two Khon Kaen incidents, but returned there briefly on Sept. 29 before leaving again, saying he had “some things to do.”
He was tracked back to Bangkok which, according to the Immigration Bureau, is his legal residence.
In Khon Kaen, Gordon allegedly had locked a door preventing his masseuse from leaving and violently raped her. He then is accused of escaping on his motorcycle, stopping after spotting the 13-year-old girl at the stand on Mittraphap Road in Ban Pai District of Khon Kaen.
A truck driver told police he saw Gordon exposing himself to the girl and honked his horn several times before stopping the oil tanker and getting out to stop him from attacking the girl.
Gorden again fled on his motorcycle. But his journey was tracked by police using footage from CCTV cameras between Isan and Bangkok.