An American language teacher and popular TikTok star who was accused of having sex with a 16-year-old Bangkok girl was arrested by authorities late Sunday morning.
Police arrested Luke Nathanael Rockwell, 28, around the Phra Khanong canal near the Sansiri Backyard Community T77. He was charged with taking a minor over 15 but not over 18 away from parents for indecent purposes as part of Section 319 of the Criminal Code.
He faces up to 10 years in prison and fines of up to THB20,000.
The Southern Bangkok Criminal Court approved a warrant for his arrest. Rockwell admitted to the allegations levied against him including having sex with a minor and filming the sexual encounter. He was taken in for investigation at the Khlong Tan police station where legal proceedings are underway.
Police could not be reached for further comment as of Monday morning.
Rockwell, who made Thai news last week, was accused of having sex with a 16-year-old girl. According to the girl’s mother, 40-year-old Thanrachada, he came into contact with the girl about five months ago through social media and coerced her into a sexual relationship.
The mother told the authorities that her daughter met with Rockwell for sex several times until the girl needed medical treatment related to sexual complications. She filed a report at the Khlong Tan police station’s Women and Children’s Welfare division. It was also reported that Rockwell recorded clips of their sexual encounter which prompted the police to launch an investigation.
The age of consent in Thailand is 15, according to Article 279 of the Criminal Code. However, if a sexual encounter occurs with a teen (aged 15-18) outside the home it requires parental consent.
Rockwell enjoys a large audience on TikTok with over a million followers. His content has previously invited controversy, where in some videos, Rockwell has framed racist talking points as educational. A hashtag circulated in 2021 called #CancelTeacherLuke due to videos that were deemed offensive.
A former colleague of Rockwell’s told Coconuts last week that Rockwell displayed inappropriate behavior when he was a teacher in which he would show colleagues pictures of women he slept with without consent and making inappropriate comments to female students.