Sri Lanka child protection authorities are undecided on what action needs to be taken against a Buddhist monk who heads an orphanage in Gampaha after he was handed down a seven-year prison sentence by a London court on Friday for indecent assault on an underage girl.
Thames Buddhist Vihara Chief incumbent Ven. Pahalagama Sri Somaratana Thera, who runs children’s’ homes both in Britain and Sri Lanka was found guilty on four counts of sexual abuse on an under aged female during the period 1977-78.
He was found not guilty of rape.
Passing sentence on the monk, Judge Mathew of the Isleworth Crown Court said that the crime Ven. Somaratana had committed was "a betrayal of Buddhism".
The Thera is also the head of an orphanage in Pahalagama, Gampaha. The Pahalagama Sri Somaratana Nayaka Thera Foundation was incorporated by an act of parliament in 2010, enabling the Thera to ‘establish and maintain institutions for educational and social service activities such as children’s homes.’
Children’s Affairs Minister Tissa Karaliyedda and National Child Protection Authority (NCPA) Chairman Anoma Dissanayake declined to comment when asked about the fate of the homes run by the monk.
The monk has been banned from working with children for life in Britain and his name has been added to the country's sex offenders’ register.
The monk has powerful connections with ruling party members in Sri Lanka.