Case against London monk begins

A sexual abuse case against the chief monk of Selsdon Buddhist Temple in London had started proceedings at Isleworth Crown Court on Monday.

Court sources told the BBC that the members for the jury were selected before the case began.

The highly respected Buddhist monk has been charged with raping an underage girl in the 1970s and sexually abusing another during the same period, the Metropolitan Police said.

Both cases will be proceeding together, court sources told the BBC.

The alleged rape and incidents of indecent assault occurred in Chiswick, west London, in 1977 and 1978. Both alleged victims claim the monk had assaulted them on several occassions.

Ven. Pahalagama Somaratana, 65-year-old chief monk of Thames Buddhist Vihara at Dulverton Rd, Croydon, has pleaded not guilty of all charges. (BBC Sinhala)