Popular Thai Monk Defrocked in Sex Scandal – Los Angeles Times


Popular Thai Monk Defrocked in Sex Scandal

April 01, 1995|From Associated Press

BANGKOK, Thailand — Thousands of abject followers packed the streets to bid farewell Friday to one of Thailand’s most popular religious figures, who was forced to surrender his monk’s robe in a sex scandal.

Yantra Ammarobhikkhu was accused of breaking his vow of chastity by having sex with prostitutes. He denies ever going to a “temptation place,” but he agreed to leave the monkhood to stop the brawling within his church over his extraordinary case.

“I don’t want to take off my robe,” he said.

Then he did. As he walked out of the Royal Temple at 3 p.m., about 2,000 followers surged forward, chanting “excellent one,” as riot police stood by.

Many burst into tears when they noticed that the 44-year-old man who had led them for 21 years no longer wore a monk’s brown robe.

“When I saw him in that green robe I got so upset,” said Srivan Vanavichai, 48, as the tears welled up in her eyes. “I can’t believe he did anything wrong. . . . Everybody loves him.”

The Supreme Council of Buddhist Monks ignored for more than a year charges that Yantra had made love to several followers and even fathered a child.

It was only about a month ago, when Yantra was charged with cavorting with prostitutes in Australia and New Zealand, that the council agreed to rule on the case.

On Monday, after a one-day hearing at which Yantra was not allowed to testify, the council ordered Yantra defrocked by Friday.

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