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Chief Sanghanayaka Thera Of Great Britain Sentenced To 7 Years In Prison For Child Abuse

The Colombo Telegraph, June 5, 2012

London, UK -- The Chief Sanghanayaka Thera of Great Britain and chief incumbent of the Thames Buddhist Vihara has been convicted of four counts of indecent assault on a underage and sentenced to 7 years in prison, a judge ruled today. He is also banned for working with children for life and his name is added to sex offenders register, a court spokesman told The Colombo Telegraph.

Venerable Pahalagama Somaratana, 65, of Dulverton Road, Croydon was convicted at Isleworth Crown Court on May 1 of four counts of indecent assault on a female under 16 between January 1, 1977 and December 31,1978 at an address in Chiswick.

He was found not guilty of the rape of a female under 16 between January 1,1977 and December 31,1978 at an address in Chiswick and not guilty of indecent assault on a female under 14 between January 1,1985 and December 31, 1986 at an address in Croydon.

In May 2010 Child Abuse Investigation Command officers began an investigation into historical allegations of indecent assault and rape. On Tuesday, 14 September 2010 a (then) 64-year-old monk was arrested on suspicion of an historical indecent assault and rape. He was questioned at Heathrow police station and later bailed pending further enquiries

He was charged on September 12, 2011 and further charged on  November 11, 2011.

On Friday, September 23 Pahalagama Somaratana appeared on bail at Feltham Magistrates’ Court charged with rape of female under 16 between January 1, 1977 and December 31, 1978 at an address in Chiswick and indecent assault on a female under 16 between January 1, 1977 and December 31, 1978 at an address in Chiswick.

Pahalagama Somaratana has been charged with another eight counts of sexual abuse on Friday, November 11 the London Metropolitan police told Colombo Telegraph. According to the metropolitan police these eight indecent assaults on a female under 14 took place between January 1,1985 and December 31,1986 at an address in Croydon.

The 65-year-old Pahalagama Somaratana Thero appeared on bail at Feltham Magistrates’ Court on Friday, December 2 and was bailed to appear at Isleworth Crown Court on December 20, 2011.



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