Buddhist monk jailed for 12 years in France for multiple rapes

A court in eastern France on Wednesday sentenced a Buddhist monk originally from Bhutan to 12 years in prison over a series of rapes at a communal living compound, including minors.

Buddhist monk jailed for 12 years in France for multiple rapes
Illustration photo: AFP

Karma Tshojay, 56, was found guilty after four women, disciples at the “Temple of 1,000 Buddhas” or their children, accused him of multiple rapes and sexual assaults in the 1990s and 2000s.

One of the victims was raped from 11- to 13-years-old, while another was just nine when she was sexually molested, the court heard.

Tshojay, known as the Tempa Lama at the site in La Boulaye, has denied the claims since his arrest in 2012. He spent two years behind bars before being freed on bond.

He continues to live in the region with his wife, but has been excluded from the community, which claims to have the first Himalayan temple built in Europe.

But the court acquitted a second monk, also from Bhutan, who was accused of sexually assaulting a minor under 15-years-old.

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How France plans to prevents youngsters accessing online pornography

France is set to announce new measures this week to prevent youngsters from accessing porn websites, in the latest round of a years-long struggle to protect children from explicit material.

How France plans to prevents youngsters accessing online pornography

“I plan to put an end to this scandal,” Digital Affairs Minister Jean-Noel Barrot told the Parisien newspaper on Monday.

France’s data protection and media regulators Cnil and Arcom are set to announce their latest proposals to rein in porn websites which are in theory subject to a 2020 law requiring age verification.

Previous attempts have been held up by privacy and technical concerns, as well as court action by the websites.

To its frustration last September, a Paris court ordered Arcom to enter into mediation with several porn websites including market leader Pornhub, holding up efforts to block them.

READ MORE: France hits Google and Facebook with huge fines over ‘cookies’

Under the new proposal, people wanting to access explicit material will need to download a phone application that provides them with a digital certificate and code, the Parisien reported.

The code will be needed to access a porn website under a system “which will work a bit like the checks from your bank when you buy something online,” Barrot told the newspaper.

“2023 will mark the end of our children accessing pornographic sites,” he added.

President Emmanuel Macron, who is married to former school teacher Brigitte Macron, promised to make protecting children from porn a priority during his bid for re-election last year.

In November, he launched the Children Online Protection Laboratory, an initiative that aims to bring together industry giants and researchers to look for ways to shield minors online.

In September last year, a report entitled “Hell Behind the Scenes” by French senators concluded that there was “massive, ordinary and toxic” viewing of porn by children.

The report found that two thirds of children aged 15 or less had seen pornographic content.

The French production industry has been roiled by a series of sexual assault cases in recent years in which women have come forward to allege rape, mistreatment and manipulation by directors and fellow actors.