Buddhist monk is facing accusations of sex abuse

By Phillip Zonkel, Contra Costa Times, Aug 22, 2011

Local temple has ordered Camnong Boa-Ubol to return to Chicago

LONG BEACH, CA (USA) -- A Buddhist monk who has been accused of sexually assaulting two girls and fathering a child with one of them at a Buddhist temple in Chicago in 2000 has been told by the head monk at his Long Beach temple to return to the Windy City and address the accusations.

Temple officials at Vipassana Foundation in Long Beach told the Press-Telegram on Sunday they first heard about the accusations against monk Camnong Boa-Ubol that afternoon when members and supporters of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, handed out fliers detailing the allegations against Boa-Ubol.

Boa-Ubol has been living at the Westside temple on and off about two years, said temple member Samantha Bunma.

The allegations of sexual abuse by Boa-Ubol became public last year when a woman from the Chicago area filed a lawsuit against Boa-Ubol, the Wat Dhammaram temple and P. Boonshoo Sriburin, the temple's head monk, alleging negligence, intentional infliction of emotional distress and gender violence, according to a report in the Chicago Tribune.

The woman alleges in the lawsuit that Boa-Ubol began sexually assaulting her in Wat Dhammaram when she was 14 and continued for nearly a year until she became pregnant. A recent DNA test concluded with a near 100 percent probability that Boa-Ubol was the father of her 11-year-old daughter, the Tribune reported.

In their response to the lawsuit, Wat Dhammaram and Sriburin acknowledged the woman "probably became pregnant as a result of an act of sexual intercourse with defendant Boa-Ubol" and the DNA testing "was reported as showing that defendant Boa-Ubol was probably the father," the Tribune reported.

In the other alleged incident, Boa-Ubol had turned off the lights during a tutoring session with a 12-year-old girl, lifted her shirt and kissed and fondled her breasts while pressing against her, the Tribune reported.

The girl's family immediately reported the alleged abuse to monks at Wat Dhammaram. Shortly after, Sriburin wrote a letter to the family, saying the temple's monastic community had resolved the matter and that Boa-Ubol would return to Thailand.

But within months of the November 2000 letter, Boa-Ubol was back in the U.S., at another temple and continued to interact with children.

Sriburin said in an interview that the head monks at Wat Dhammaram chose not to inform the Long Beach temple about Boa-Ubol's alleged sexual abuse. He said that under the structure of Theravada Buddhist temples in the U.S., Boa-Ubol was free to continue practicing, the Tribune reported.

When Sriburin told Pramuan Simsriwatna, the head monk at Long Beach's Vipassana Foundation, on Sunday night that he knew about the accusations against Boa-Ubol, Simsriwatna asked: "Why didn't you guys take care of this? It happened at your temple? Why is he here in California?" Bunma said.

Following that telephone conversation, Simsriwatna questioned Boa-Ubol about the accusations and then said, We don't know if you did it or didn't do it, but you can't stay here anymore. You need to return to Chicago and take care of this, Bunma said.

"We want to do the right thing," Bunma said.