6 August, 2020

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Britain’s Most Senior Buddhist Monk Accused Of Raping Two Girls Under 10 (one in his temple’s shrine room) – Daily Mail UK

By IAN GARLAND –

On trial: The monk is facing nine assault charges at Isleworth Crown Court (file photo)

One of Britain’s most senior Buddhist monks is accused of carrying out a string of sex attacks on two young girls aged under 10.

The Venerable Pahalagama Somaratana, 66, is facing nine counts of rape, indecent assault and sexual assault.

One girl claims Somaratana abused her in the shrine room of Croydon Temple – where he has been chief monk for the past 31 years.

The attacks are alleged to have taken place on one victim in Chiswick, London during the summer of 1978.

A second woman claims she was indecently assaulted at Croydon Temple during the mid 1980s.

Somaratana appeared at Isleworth Crown Court last week to deny all charges against him.

The Sri Lankan-born monk told the court he was the victim of mistaken identity.

Prosecuting Richard Merz told the court the first victim, who was nine in 1978, had been enticed into the monk’s room with fruit Polo sweets and told to sit on his lap.

Later, he told the court, Ven Somaratana cornered her in the temple shrine and raped her.

He said: ‘You used to see her in the corridor downstairs and ask her upstairs.

Accused: Venerable Pahalagama Somaratana has been Chief Monk of the Croydon Temple since 1981

Three times this happened, three times. The victim says the person who did this to her in the shrine rooms was someone who gave her the fruit Polos.’

Mr Merz added the second victim, who was aged between nine and 10 during the alleged attacks in 1984 and 85, was also enticed into his room with sweets at the temple in Selsdon, South Croydon, which he founded in 1981.

He said: ‘She says she was attacked by you in your room.’

The second victim only recalled the assaults during hypnotherapy sessions she underwent as an adult in 2009.

Somaratana denies the charges.

He suggested in court that another, unidentified, monk could have been responsible for raping the first victim.

And insisted it would have been impossible to carry out attacks in either his temple room or the shrine – because there was little privacy and the temple was always occupied by worshippers.

He said: ‘There are so many people coming from 9am to 9pm they regularly go to the shrine room.’

The trial is expected to last three weeks.

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Latest comments

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    Suwapathwewa, Never send your children to a man wearing silly hats or robes. That’s dangerous. Pope Benadic cover up the child molester priest who did the blind kids. And now this guy.

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    ane pow, we should’nt be writing anything to incite hatredness. wait till the dooms day.

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    There may be more than 2 victims. This guy has been in business for 31 years.

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    What this “robed” person did to the former Deputy High Commissioner in London nearly 2 years ago is now chasing after him. Whether this man is a genuine monk or not, he might have preached a lot about “Karmic force” to his devotees without realizing that he himself will have to experience it one day as a result of his own mischievous conduct. When he challenged the DHC in London, this “priest” was boasting about his affiliation with Mahinda Rajapakse, the present President of Sri Lanka. Now the both leaders have become helpless.

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    “…..He suggested in court that another, unidentified, monk could have been responsible for raping the first victim….”

    What a shameful betrayal of another monk? He should speak for his innocence if he did not commit this crime but not to suspect the other monks. In other words, admits that this kind of thing can happen in a Buddhist temple beside his his feeble argument that the temple is always crowded and there is no chance for such act.

    This is really a silly argument. It is the duty of a monk to establish a friendly, calm and religious atmosphere in the temple enabling the devotees whatever the age groups are to feel comfortable and secure. But for this “robed” person, only the presence of devotees can prevent that kind of crime but not the teachings of Buddha. This man has no chance.

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      Sathya ? Really?

      Croydon Victim – attacked in shrine room.

      Priest quote – ” this would have been impossible as there were always people present in the shrine room. “

      How does this translate to ?

      ” but for this robed person, only the presence of devotees can prevent that kind of crime, not the teachings of the Buddha.”

      you are very strange indeed!

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    I understand a number of Doctors who have benefited from the immense political strength that the priest has with the Government has given evidence in support of his good cahracter.Last Monday even a statement from the Sri lankan High Commission was read giving the priest a good caharacter certificate.It is a shame that the Sri Lankan High Commission has come forward to support the priest.I really admire the first victim for coming forward even at this stage.She has nothing to gain in coming forward with this complaint as she is a highly qualified professional and comes from a upper middle class family in the UK with everyone in her family being professionals

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    He must be a member of JHU who attacked a mosque and prevented the Muslims from praying! These fellows are a discrace to Buddhism and monk-hood. True Buddhists know this is not what the great Buddha preached.

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    Insofar it doesn’t seem that there is clear evidence of the rapes. If it is proved, it is indeed a terrible offence to the victims, to the whole humanity, and to the three precious Gems (Buddha, Dharma and Sangha).

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    In the same manner how some of those forces that accuse War Criminals by affording cover and protection to the very accused, using veiled hands, the guilty will never be exposed for certain.

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    My wife and I knew Ven. Somaratana and all the other Buddhist monks at London Buddhist Vihara, Chiswisk very closely from 1977 when I was living in Chiswick so close to the temple. I am so confident Ven.Somaratana would never have done anything with this regard to this accusation. In my view it’s totally fabricated and malicious. At that time we went to the temple often and at times my wife waited at the temple for me to come from work. Giving a polo or sweets is nothing, what all priests did was anything remaining / excess from what they received from dayakas, they gave it to all of us (anyone who wanted). We were in London from 1977 to 1982 and now we live in Australia but I wish I was in London now to truly to come forward and defend Ven Somaratane, the Buddhists and Sri Lanka. The damage this false accusation (in my view and my wife’s view and I am sure shared by many others) has caused to Ven Somaratena, the Buddhists of the world and Sri Lanka as a whole is enormous. What I cannot understand is (1) Why was this allegation ever brought towards Ven. Somaratana (2) How come a lady (at that time 9 years old girl) bring this allegation after 35 years and (3) How come a jury found evidence beyond reasonable doubt of Ven.Somaratnas guit in Indecent Assault? (4) How can anyone ever imagine that a rape or indecent assault could have ever taken place at London Buddhist Vihara, Chiswick (at that time a very small building).
    If Ven.Somaratana would ever have even attempted to do anything like this he would have definitely be banished from the temple at that time. He was only a podi hamuduruwo at that time. Ven. Saddhatissa, Ven. Piyatisasa, Ven. Khemananda, etc., had so much power and influence. Further more if I ever got even a hint of this at that time I would never have even attempted to defend Ven. Somaratana. Why I am defending him is because I am so sure that he never even hinted of any such behaviour at that time (We were physically there and went to the temple at least twice a week). What he wanted at that stage was to get to know many people, develop positive realationships and learn English. All of which he has done so well for over 35 years. Yes ! he use to smile with us and joke and he treated us extremely well. He was an outgoing monk who had a lot of potential. Also originally being from Gampaha I know for sure that he did tremendously well for his Pahalagama temple. Our parents have been dayakas of Pahalagama temple for so many years. Now I am in Australia and I am sorry that I am not in London to be of assistance to Ven Somaratana at this time of need.
    Further more if anyone knows the then London Buddhist Vighara which had only 3 small rooms upstairs and one toilet kitchen and a shrine room cum hall down stairs no one could ever imagine that anyone could ever attempt to abuse a child or rape. It’s totally indecent for the lady (then a child) to have fabricated / or thought of how she (at age 9) has been at this small building all alone on Sunday. Obviously (if she ever went to the temple) she would have come to the temple with her father or mother or an adult Uncle or Aunty. Then where were these people when the said incidents happened? In London no child ever goes to Sunday school on her own. Also if it happened after Sunday school where were the other 20 or so children and their parents! Also Sundays were very busy days at the temple and in that temple on Sundays there was no privacy at all for anyone. What nonsense is to say that even an attempt of rape or child abuse could have ever happened in the Shrine room above all places. If the lady (then the girl) ..

    [Edited out]

    I would also kindly request all who write responses to be more thoughtful and avoid writing specially about things they hardly know about. If anyone can write “I was there in 1977 or 1978 and try to substantiate his / her point of view” I would like to hear your views with an open mind.
    About the conviction (which is definitely not rape) but only child abuse (I cannot believe that it ever happened !). How come the jury think that the lady was not truthful about rape but she was truthful about making her sit on the hamuduruwos lap, etc. When one can say one lie telling so many other lies is simple. That’s why as a positive thinker I believe one should not lie even once. Where is the evidence that it ever happened? Has anyone given evidence that they ever saw the hamuduruwo being ever involved in this type of an offence? How can a jury find this hamuiduruwo guilty purely on the word of one lady (then a child aged 9). In my view the jury could have easily been swayed by the lady’s breaking down (which is said to have happened in court). But the jury in my view should have found Ven.Somaratana innocent ! From what I know of law an accused is presumed innocent until found guilty beyond reasonable doubt:
    “ The presumption of innocence, sometimes referred to by the Latin expression Ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, non qui negat, is the principle that one is considered innocent until proven guilty. Application of this principle is a legal right of the accused in a criminal trial, recognised in many nations. The burden of proof is thus on the prosecution, which has to collect and present enough compelling evidence to convince the trier of fact, who is restrained and ordered by law to consider only actual evidence and testimony that is legally admissible, and in most cases lawfully obtained, that the accused is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If reasonable doubt remains, the accused is to be acquitted”. ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Presumption_of_innocence)

    (Edited out)

    I respect anybody’s views provided they are backed up with substantial evidence !
    I sincerely hope and wish for the sake of Ven. Pahalabama Somaratna, Buddhism as a whole and Sri Lanka as nation the real truth will come out soon.

    Yours Truly,

    Kushan Dharmawardena

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    Madarchhodd hai saare buddhist monk aur buddhist……Harami no. 1… Insaniyat ke naam pe Dhabba….Maaro saalo ko nanga kar karke…..

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