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Friday, July 19, 2024

Nepalese Spiritual Leader ‘Buddha Boy’ Found Guilty Of Sexually Assaulting Minor

A judge at the Sarlahi District Court found him guilty of sexually assaulting an underage girl and said sentencing would be on July 1

A controversial spiritual leader known as ”Buddha Boy” was convicted by a court in Nepal on charges of sexually assaulting a minor. The leader whose real name is Ram Bahadur Bomjan was arrested in January for the sexual assault of a minor as well as suspicion of involvement in the disappearance of at least four of his devotees.

A judge at the Sarlahi District Court found him guilty of sexually assaulting an underage girl and said sentencing would be on July 1. He could face at least 12 years in jail but can still appeal against his conviction.

The 33-year-old guru, whom his followers believe to be the reincarnation of Gautam Buddha, became famous as a teenager after followers said he could meditate motionless for months without water, food, or sleep. However, some reporters filmed him eating, and he was also spotted sleeping when his followers said he was meditating in private.

Accusations of abuse and misconduct against Bomjan stretch back more than a decade. Dozens of assault complaints were filed against him in 2010. At the time he said he had beaten followers because they had disturbed his meditation.

On the run for years, the 33-year-old was arrested by officials from Nepal’s Central Investigation Bureau this January on the outskirts of Kathmandu in January this year. During the arrest, police also seized Nepalese banknotes worth $227,000 and other foreign currencies amounting to $23,000.

Before he went on the run, Bomjan still commanded a legion of followers as the allegations against him mounted. At one point tens of thousands of people had gathered to witness his reputed miracles of meditation deep in the jungle.

While aged 16, Bomjan disappeared for nine months to wander the wilderness of eastern Nepal, prompting a round-the-clock vigil by Buddhist monks who prayed for his safe return.

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