Selsdon Buddhist monk jailed for 1970s sex attacks on young girl
A LEADING Buddhist monk has been jailed for seven years for a string of sexual assaults on an under-age girl in the 1970s.
The Venerable Pahalagama Somaratana, 65, who has been chief monk at Thames Buddhist Vihara, in Dulverton Road, Selsdon, for the past 31 years, was convicted of four counts of indecent assault on a nine-year-old girl in Chiswick in 1978.
Somaratana, who is one of Sri Lanka's leading Buddhist monks and is said to be good friends with the Sri Lankan president, had 24 witnesses called by the defence to verify his character.
But he was found guilty of the indecent assaults when he appeared at Isleworth Crown Court last month.
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Sentencing him at the same court this afternoon, Judge Matthews said his crimes amounted to "a betrayal of Buddhism".
See next week's Croydon Advertiser for full story.