28 September, 2020

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Ven Somaratana Denies The Rape Charges:He Says ‘It Could Have Been Another Monk’

By  Nick Hitchens/Croydon Guardian –

Top monk on child rape charges

The Venerable Pahalagama Somaratana

One of the most senior Buddhist monks in the UK is accused of a string of sexual assaults on two girls aged under 10, including raping one in his temple’s shrine room.

The Venerable Pahalagama Somaratana, is charged with four counts of indecent assault and one of rape against a victim in Chiswick in the summer of 1978 and five counts of indecent assault against a second victim at the Croydon temple in the mid-80s.

Appearing in his saffron robes at Isleworth Crown Court last week, Ven Somaratana, 66, chief monk at Thames Buddhist Vihara, Dulverton Road, Selsdon for the past 31 years, denied all the charges and blamed mistaken identity for the allegations against him.

The court heard the first victim was attacked shortly after the monk arrived in England from Sri Lanka.

Prosecuting Richard Merz told the court the girl, aged nine, had been enticed into the monk’s room with fruit polos 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.

“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.”

Five assaults allegedly took place at Thames Buddhist Vihara in Selsdon

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

He said: “She says she was attacked by you in your room.”

During hypnotherapy in 2009 as an adult she revealled she was the victim of sexual assault The court heard both victims describe how he had them sit on his lap before he touched them.

Ven Somaratana denies the charges. He said he did not know how the first victim was raped but it could have been another monk.

He denied either girl had ever entered his room and said the temple plan meant people could always look in, so it would have been impossible to not be seen with the victims.

He said: “It is a very small room. It is very public people are sitting in front people can see in.”

Arguing against the rape in the shrine he said the room 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.

Read related stories here

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Latest comments

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    He have a point. I mean just to win the case. But remember . This monk, pope , Buddha , D.Lama , Jesus , Mohamed they were all men . Just like you and me.

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      This is like sweeping the carpet with one broom stick without a thought for the then children now adults who are still suffering of the consequences. Child molestation and child rape is more serious .BODI above please note. I wonder whether you put your self in that category? Very disapointing mate.

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        you heard me wrong. I’m with you. He should have [Edited out] a old upaska amma if he really cant control his appetite for sex. Children is very bad. Only if God speak to him and ask to marry a underage girl he can marry. It has happen in history. But remeber. Only if the Mighty Lord permit him.

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          Bodinayake, You and the editors are making this website another Lankaenews with your third-grade sentiments and language.

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      Bodinayake,
      For Buddhists, the majority who reads these websites that is, Buddha was the enlightened one. Other religious leader founders Jesus, Mohammed, are also the sacred ones in respective religions. This monk sounds like a man like you, who is insane.After all,you are a baldy as well. Not like me or any other decent folk. Pal, this hamuduruwo is a religious leader, not like you. He has sacrificed his life for charity, that we appreciate but this particular chairy has to maintain some discipline, failing which, he can’t stay in the order. When parents trust charities like temples to do good, it has to happen that way. When the trust is broken, it sends shock waves across the park. It is not good for the religion, it is a serious issue.

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        Ha ha editor, You clipped Bodinayake’s language up there following my comment but you still have some tosh here too.

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        So you keep Buddha on top and judge the rest? What about other modern day philosophers? If you don’t like the comment scroll down for the next one. Web is for everybody.

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          Web is not for the insane to destroy the world but for intelligent to make the world a better place. Remember what happened in 1945 when the nasty guys among the saviours learnt about the atomic bomb? Also remember when the wrong guy went to the white house in 2000? He went on rampage first destroying Iraq. The web abuse is more dangerous than even the war. This should be carefully handled by intelligent people.

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          400 million just follow it just like the rest of other religious retards who follow their religion by tradition. Like people who claim to be a Christian have not read their whole Bible page to page. Who say they are Muslim but never read the full Quran, it goes for all the so called religious nuts. Even you have no idea about how Buddha saw the world and asked his followers to do good for mankind. You are just “podi kes gahaka” distance from the guys who threw stone at the Mosque in Dabulla. Or you can be easily convert to become one. So Mr. Rupert. Back to squire one. Please do not insult Buddha by showing that you are Buddhist.

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        mate. There is no problem when you take Buddhism just like the theory of evolution or gravity. But you guys take it as a religion. Just like Mulla Omar took Islam.David Koresh took Christianity. That’s the bitter truth between you and me. You have to get your bolt’s tightened first. You don’t need to send your child for a religious organization to fix him/her. Not all of us in the world are Buddhist Daham Pasl students. Not all in the world is Bad. Hope you understand my science.

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          Your science is as good as your hair..doesn’t exist. It is not me but 400 million others worship Buddhism as a religion. If you don’t want to take it that way, just move away, no need to attack a religion. Most people who believe in it cannot defend it here. It’s not like Mulla Omar, but most follow Buddhism like Dalai Lama. Whether one sends kids to Daham Pasala or not shouldn’t be your problem. The issue at hand is the trust placed by parents in sending kids to temples unsupervised has been breached by ‘one’ monk among million others. It’s still not good enough to attack a religion, but to get our act right. There are thousands of stories that were made public recently on child abuse at the catholic church, but they don’t criticise Jesus for that. You are seriously deranged.You should have attended Daham Pasala at this particular monk’s temple, he would have fixed you.

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      What is the point you are making? Are you trying to say that the monk (the Human) was a superior person like Lord Buddha, Jesus Christ or Dalai Lama, or these spiritual leaders were human just like Bhikku Somaratana and was susceptible to commit heinous crimes. You may be a a Buddhist, but it seems that either you are confused or trying to confuse other people because the monk has been found guilty and that you are unable to accept it.
      In my book, common sense tells me that the monks karma in this life or in past life has caught up with him. Mistaken identity was a really feeble excuse that the law courts have not accepted. By attempting to pass the buck to an unknown monk in this way, Bhikku Somaratana has not only tried to evade his responsibility, but also he has stained all other brother monks that had associated him and resided at those premises during his periods of tenure at those places. As a result of his claim, Sri Lankan Buddhists in London would now wonder who else amongst the monks that they know is a child molester and rapist. Can you see now see the seriousness of the claim that Bhikku Somaratana has made in order to save his own skin.

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    Bodinayaka should be reminded that this case involves not only alleged rapes but child abuse. As far as I am aware none of the religious leaders he names above are on record for committing child abuse! Being a man “just like you and me” is hardly an excuse.

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      I don’t know why this consider as a big issue. He is just a man like rest of us. He should be trial and give him sentence if he is guilty for the child abuse. I can write this in suddha sinhala like this ” Hamuduruwo kiyala buduhamudurwai, kaattah paiyaa naginawne.” Child abuse is not new thing for religion business. If you wikipedia you may find so many. I would strongly advice you guys not to send any teen or even leave a small baby ( Athadaruwek ) with a religious person. I mean who shows that he is a very religious person. you know what I mean.

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        Mr Bodhinayaka, please don’t use foul language in a public forum, and it does show what your background is. Please go and wash your mouth, or better still wash your keyboard. The point the public is making is that clergy are generally considered trustworty because they wear the robe or the habit, principally because people carry beliefs and social conventions to think that they are pious people. When that trust is broken by their behaviour, it leads to a breakdown of the social order relating to the clergy and the trust. Clergy may be human, but the society place a greater trust on them than the average Joe Bloggs. That is why when the trust was broken the clergy stands out for greater criticism. Clergy who takes vows of celibecy or vinaya rules are expected to abide by them. Break them at their peril. Excuses are not accepted, and there is no need for others like you to defend them. Do you expect us to bow to this guy, just because he is now camouflaging himself in a yellow robe that he is no longer entitled to wear.

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    Is he talking about his clone?

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      No Just like children he is lying. Or we can say like the other guy , sorry the other monk from Dabulla told us that the video was a fake. The first ABC of Buddhism . Pansil Pada Pahama mun kadanakotta gihiyo kohoma balti gahiiyda?

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    It’s not a big issue by Sri Lankan (Buddhist)standards.. Only difference is no children ever complain against a Bikku in Sri Lanka.

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      Not yet. You see my friend. The point is people who are called monks get caught in several human but not religious activities. Remember the guy with Wal Uuru mas and whiskey? The guys who do ” Huniyam and Waseee gurukam” and now the guys who let the children sit on their lap and touch the boobies or whatever whatever because I can give you a lot. Bikku is no a miracle breed. THEY ARE JUST LIKE YOU AND ME WEARING A SAFFRON ROBE. Like pope is not Jesus. He is just a guy wearing a silly hat and a costume. Mullas are not MOhammed, they are just guys wearing long beard and a small hat.

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    Why Polos? not Wall Uuru Mas this time? okay I get it. No Wal Uro in UK. Only the domesticated Halal pigs.

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    The acts of Child abuse and homosexuality is nothing new even with the clergy, as there is evidence to prove of it’s existance during the times of the Buddha where he has adviced. Other than to the character story of the Buddha, in Mahawansa where the Buddha who is supposed to have ordained his only son Rahula at the age of even, there is no factual evidence. This may be a ruse by the Sangha then, to get the children ordained for comfort of the elder priests. The reason, if Lord Buddha regreted as said, when his father came to protest and there after to lay vinaya that a child should be of age, although he does not mention by number, states that one capable of chasing birds from the fields. This is interpritted to be around a fiftenn years. This whole damn thing must be a fib of the Sangha who wrote Buddhism, because if the Buddha regretted of having commited a fault of ordaning his own son at seven, what of his high intellect not to have understood the situation before. He cannot be fallible afterall?

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      Are you commenting on a family issue? Because your comment has no relevence to this article. It is not the story in the Mahawansa, which is a pure Sri Lankan script, but Buddha’s stories are known to Buddhists all over the world through Buddhist literature. Even if it has no evidence, which religion is based on scientific evidence? Whatever it is, it doesn’t matter here. This monk has been charged with rape of a girl, whether underage or overage. He committed the ultimate crime of breaching the trust the little one’s parents’ placed on the guy. If he is guilty, quite possibly so, he is an opportunitistic bas-tard. Although irrelevant here, under this specific subject,indeed, the practice of handing over kids to temples and churches has to stop.

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        I wonder what will happen if the Web should be handled by intelligent people like Rupert. This remind me that old saying ” Kanaya nethi walatta lula pandithya” . You see my friend. Buddha never preached that saying. But it’s a fact. You look at everywhere. It’s been shown as a fact. Repeat it again ” Kawiyaa nathi walata Lula pandithya.

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          Bodinayaka,
          You do wonder but the correct adage is ‘Lula nethi walata kanaya pandithaya’, not the other way round.

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    Some You should remember this thype of thing with out any dought, So Gahaw wanam Gahavvakiyala Siura dee la yanne sasu. other wise if you do to Sri Lanka Jail , The Peiseners will will give you worse Punishment Desrobing you. That will be wery pain full than Raping a Girl SADU.

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    the doomes day has come to this hammudhuru today? what next???????

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      what next? he will be released, not enough evidence. We still don’t know he did it or not.( truth is a process you know ) But multiple claims suggest that he is not good so will reach his dooms day. But remember God is nothing more than a man’s way to explain the nature yet we don’t understand. It divide humans. It has caused us crusades, Dabulla issues, LTTE, Child abuse. To consider Polos as a fruit, Naughty Ururmas with whiskey, Pin Keta accounts, Bribing god’s with fruits and coconut crushing s on stone lingams, Plastic garlands and finally lands in the name of religions theocracy.

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    …you guys missed the point completely… the accused is saying that he didn’t do what was apparently proven though he is implicating another monk, that another one had done it… not him….. (what does that mean my friends ?) I bet that both would’ve done the miserable acts “however cuddly it appears on CCTV” over the years… how many years… some would’ve come as colleagues done it…. and gone away someplace else to evade consequences….. or returned to SL to spread the mechanism to do it here the fondly way it is done….. So the British Police has to figure out the meaning of what the accused has said “in a state of Fear & Shame” and find the others who would’ve been involved before they grow their hair and “change the names” to dissolve into the population and disappear from being charged, put on trial and punished… … I have my doubts… you can guess what the SL police would’ve done… but in the UK it could be frightening for any other sinner to get away….. from Heathrow or Gatwick or the tunnel…

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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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