A Buddhist priest, convicted of over 25 counts of sexual abuse, has been sentenced to seven years and nine months behind bars in Germany. His victims over 15 years were seven boys, aged four to 13.
The 62-year-old man, identified as Hans D. [AP] or Genpo D. [Suddeutsche Zeitung] for privacy reasons, was convicted in Augsburg state court, the dpa news agency reported.
The monk also took pornographic photos of his victims, and possessed other child pornography, AP reported.
The man admitted to his crimes going back to 2001, so the case will be a speedy trial and it means that his victims won’t appear in court.
The Buddhist’s crimes were revealed in July 2016, when a woman reported to the Criminal Investigation Department. She claimed she had approached the clergyman because she was seeking help: her husband had died, and the priest offered his help. An affair began, but the priest abused her two sons. In particular, he repeatedly had oral intercourse with the children, and took obscene pictures using his smartphone, that “show off the naked sex parts,” according to the prosecution, as cited by Sueddeutsche Zeitung.
According to the judge, the Zen priest always applied the same tactic with the victims: he used his charismatic personality to force the children into being submissive. The relationship of trust that developed between the monk and the victims also played a special role, Judge Lenard Hoesch added.
The prosecution added that the priest had been looking specifically for minors in difficult situations. For example, one of the victims was a refugee boy whose father was murdered. In another case, it was a teenager with drug issues who had been sent to the Buddhist temple by his parents.
The photos from the courtroom showed the priest covering his face from the photographers.
Genpo D. suffered a stroke two years ago, and described this as a punishment from God, as reported by the Suddeutsche Zeitung. Witnesses in court said that the priest’s left arm often twitched.
The eventual sentence is 21 months longer than the defendant’s counsel had asked for.