French teacher with MOE Language Centre investigated by Thai authorities, confirms ministry
SINGAPORE: The Ministry of Education (MOE) on Thursday (Feb 7) confirmed that Jean-Christophe Quenot, a French teacher at its Language Centre, is being investigated by Thai authorities.
According to Thai media, the 51-year-old was arrested in Bangkok on Monday, accused of buying sex with teenage boys.
"Jean-Christophe Quenot is a teacher in the French department at MOE Language Centre," said the ministry in response to queries from Channel NewsAsia. "We are doing internal checks, and note that this matter is being investigated by the Thai authorities."
The ministry added that it takes a "serious view of misconduct by our staff" and "will not hesitate to take disciplinary action against those who do not adhere to our standards of conduct and discipline".
"In serious cases, their service may be terminated," it added.
A check by Channel NewsAsia showed that Quenot's name had been removed from the MOE Language Centre website shortly after the police announcement. He was previously listed under the French department.
When asked about the vetting procedures for hiring overseas teachers, MOE added that Quenot had undergone all the relevant processes before he was appointed as a teacher in 2001.
"As with all potential employees, foreign teachers are required to undergo a pre-employment screening process before they are hired," MOE added.
"Each applicant goes though background screening and health checks. Their professional qualifications, criminal and financial declarations are also vetted.
"Mr Quenot underwent these checks when he was appointed as a teacher in 2001."
Quenot was arrested in a hotel room in Soi Inthamara 47 near the Phaya Thai district, The Nation reported.
He is alleged to have approached boys aged between 13 and 15 at the Huay Kwang Stadium, and asked them to have sex with him.
At the hotel, police also found a computer with pornographic material, hard disks, cameras, a tripod, condoms, as well as packs of Kamagra oral jelly, which is used to treat erectile dysfunction.
They also found a video of the suspect having sex with a teenage boy.
The MOE Language Centre was set up in 1978. It has two campuses in Bishan and Newton and offers classes in seven languages.