The disrobed monk known for his lavish lifestyle and for raping a minor is finally having his day in criminal court for rape charges stemming from incidents that allegedly happened 17 years ago.
Nen Kham, a former monk who has been stripped of his Buddhist robes and title, pleaded not guilty yesterday to charges of raping a minor at Criminal Court, reported Bangkok Post.
The charges against him state that he illegally took custody of a girl younger than 15 and raped her. The events allegedly began in January 2000 and ended in mid-2001. He is also suspected of fathering a child with her, though no charges have been filed regarding that suspicion.
Wirapol Sukphol, 38, who was known as Luang Pu Nen Kham when he was ordained and is still generally referred to as Nen Kham, has faced more than just rape charges. He has also been accused of money laundering and fled to the U.S. in 2013 to avoid the charges against him.
In the U.S. he established an unofficial Buddhist teaching center.
Nen Kham became infamous when a 2013 video of him in his robes on a private jet with a Louis Vuitton bag counting money circulated. He was also seen with other high ticket items unbecoming of a monk and was found to own over 100 luxury cars and many pieces of land.
When he was ordained, he was the abbot of the Khantitham Forest Monastery in Si Saket province. After hearing of the charges pending against him and fleeing, he was disrobed in absentia for sexual misconduct and his materialistic life.
He was extradited to Thailand on July 19 of this year. The first hearing in the rape case will be on June 8 of next year and the former monk is being held at Bangkok Remand Prison until then.
Aside from the case in Criminal Court, Nen Kham faces civil charges of money laundering, alongside eight other defendants, over assets worth THB40 million (USD1.2 million)
Since 2013, the government has already seized over THB380 million (USD11.4 million) worth of his assets.
A hearing for the latest money-laundering case should be scheduled soon.
The former monk faces a total of five charges, including raping a minor under 15 years old, which carries a jail term of up to 20 years.