A woman looking for calm on meditation retreat finds chaos after abbot sexually harassed her

Photo via Channel 7

A 20 year old Thai woman announced yesterday that an abbot sexually harassed her at a temple in the southern province of Nakhon Si Thammarat while on a meditation retreat. The abbot denied the allegations and accused the woman of blackmailing him for money.

The woman recounted the incident with Channel 7 yesterday. She asserted that the abbot subjected her to repeated instances of sexual harassment during her nine-day dhamma retreat, prompting her to cut short her programme ahead of schedule.

The woman claimed that she planned to stay at the temple for nine days to fulfil a vow she made after benefitting from some good fortune. One day, the abbot used his feet to poke her bottom while she was meditating.

Then, the abbot inappropriately touched her face, causing her to insist on leaving the temple’s premises. The abbot denied her request, asserting that the auspicious time for departure was yet to come and urged her to wait for two days.

While she was waiting to leave the temple, another sexual assault occurred. The woman stated that the abbot broke into her bathroom while she was taking a shower. She complained about his behaviour and immediately called her mother to pick her up at the temple.

The abbot denied the allegation made by the woman and insisted that he always abided by monkhood rules and regulations. The abbot also accused the woman of attempting to blackmail him for money and alleged that she was involved with an influential drug gang in the area.

The abbot clarified that the woman had entered the retreat alongside 23 other participants and she chose to deviate from the departure schedule. She intended to complete the full nine-day retreat, a decision he and the other monks accommodated.

The abbot also blamed the woman for violating several rules of the temple. She failed to properly enrol in the retreat program, neglected her assigned duties, and invited unauthorised relatives onto the temple premises.

The abbot insisted that he did not sexually harass the woman. He added he chased her away from the temple due to a rule violation.

The woman filed a legal complaint against the abbot. Following her media interview, she lodged an official complaint at Pipoon Police Station and formally reported the incident to the Nakhon Si Thammarat Provincial Abbot.

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Petch Petpailin

Petpailin, or Petch, is a Thai translator and writer for The Thaiger who focuses on translating breakingThai news stories into English. With a background in field journalism, Petch brings several years of experience to the English News desk at The Thaiger. Before joining The Thaiger, Petch worked as a content writer for several known blogging sites in Bangkok, including Happio and The Smart Local. Her articles have been syndicated by many big publishers in Thailand and internationally, including the Daily Mail, The Sun and the Bangkok Post. She is a news writer who stops reading news on the weekends to spend more time cafe hopping and petting dwarf shrimp! But during office hours, you can find Petch on LinkedIn and you can reach her by email at petch@thethaiger.com.

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