Police are looking for a senior monk from a well-known temple in Nan province, northern Thailand, who is accused of assaulting juvenile novices for over two years.
The deputy abbot, who is thought to be on the run, is also accused of stealing more than a million baht from the temple’s bank account.
Police in Nan province said a provincial court issued an arrest warrant for the missing abbot, Thanet Thanamangkhalo, and that they are attempting to locate him.
The monk is accused of molesting a person 15 years of age or younger who is not a spouse, with or without their consent, and of committing sexual indecency against another person in the same age range, with or without their consent.
The cops raided the abbot’s lodgings and discovered a handcrafted pipe for smoking marijuana and lubrication gel.
Nan Police said, the novice who exposed the deputy abbot stated the man had sexually harassed him for two years. According to the novice, the abbot regularly harassed him and the other novices, threatening to take away their scholarships if they refused his approaches or attempted to expose him.
The deputy abbot is also the head administrator of the novices’ Dharma school in the province.
The mistreated novice ultimately told his mother about the senior monk’s pedophilia, and they agreed to file a police report.
According to Nan Police, the deputy abbot would spend the night with the novices in his living quarters, kissing and groping them.
He allegedly also drank and ate at night, violating Buddhist precepts regulating monastic life.
The novice monk was taken to a nearby hospital for a medical evaluation before being transferred to the Nan Shelter for Children and Families for emotional counselling.