Abbot faces arrest for sexually molesting novices

Abbot faces arrest for sexually molesting novices

A warrant will be sought for the arrest of a former abbot of a well-known temple in Lop Buri accused of sexually molesting seven novices, a senior police officer said on Tuesday.

Police had summonsed Phra Khru Sutthawaraporn, also known as Phra Charan, 49, former abbot of Wat Hua Chang in Lop Buri, several times, but he failed to show up, Pol Maj Gen Chaiyaporn Panit-attra, chief of Lop Buri police, said.

Earlier, the parents of two novices filed a complaint with police, saying their children had been sexually abused by Phra Khru Sutthawaraporn, then abbot of the temple, on several occasions. The two were reportedly among seven novices allegedly sexually abused by the accused monk.  

Police had looked into the complaint and found the allegations had grounds. They had summonsed the accused monk to testify, but he failed to appear, Thai media reported on Tuesday.

The monk had resigned as abbot following the allegations but was believed to have remained in the monkhood.

The Lop Buri police chief said investigators would now obtain an arrest warrant for the accused monk, who had reportedly fled the temple. He said any other novices who had been abused by the former abbot should come forward and file complaints with police. 

The monk's room at the temple was found locked on Tuesday. The other monks at the temple refused to give any comments when asked about the scandal. They said only that it was all over because the abbot  had already resigned, Thai media reported.

A 21-year-old man, one of the monk's victims, alleged he had been sexually molested by the then abbot for about 10 years when he was a novice, according to Naewna Online. 

The monk had called him to his room almost every night and would become upset if he refused. After sexually abusing him, the abbot had given him 200-300 baht each time, said the young man, who had earlier filed a complaint with police.

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