Buddhist monk charged with sexually assaulting teen boy
A monk at a Buddhist temple in Tennessee has been charged with sexually assaulting a 15-year-old boy, authorities said.
Sayasith Sitthipanyo, a 57-year-old man who lived at the Wat Lao Xaoput Buddhist Temple in Nashville, was arrested Thursday and charged with seven counts of sexual battery by an authority figure and eight counts of displaying sex acts to a minor, the Tennessean reported.
Police said Sitthipanyo watched porn and had illicit physical contact with the teen during a four-month period earlier this year, from February through May. The alleged incidents took place after Sitthipanyo started paying the teen for work he did around the temple, police said.
An investigation by detectives from the department’s Youth Services division led to Sitthipanyo’s arrest, WTVF reports.
Sitthipanyo remained jailed as of late Thursday in lieu of $220,000 bond.
Nashville police ask anyone with additional information, including details about other potential victims, to call (615) 862-7417.
The mission of the temple, according to its Facebook page, is to educate members on the importance of being Buddhist and to spread its teachings throughout the United States.
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