Naotunne Vijitha Thero faces court on child sex abuse charges in Melbourne

A senior Buddhist monk has faced a Melbourne court, charged with child sex offences dating back to the 1990s and early 2000s.

The Venerable Naotunne Vijitha Nayaka Thero, who is the abbot of the Dhamma Sarana temple in Melbourne’s south-east, is facing 13 charges including sexual penetration of a child under 16 and indecent act with a child under 16.

Police charged Mr Vijitha earlier this week, saying three complainants had come forward.

The incidents allegedly took place between 1996 and 2004, and police allege Mr Vijitha came into contact with the complainants through his role at the Keysborough temple.

Court documents reveal detectives from Victoria Police’s sexual crimes squad charged Mr Vijitha with inappropriately touching several girls.

On Friday, the monk faced court dressed in traditional orange robes for a brief filing hearing.
He was not required to speak or enter a plea and was accompanied by senior figures from the temple.

The monk was released on bail, and the case was adjourned until November 10 for a committal mention.

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