Over the years, there has been numerous cases of monks misbehaving in Thai media — from flaunting their jet-setting lifestyle to beating a 9-year-old to death. One Thai monk, however, currently finds himself squarely in the media spotlight of a major American city for his alleged crimes.
Thai monk Sripai Biadnok, 48, was arrested in the US last week for allegedly sexual assaulting two children in a Chicago Buddhist temple almost 20 years ago.
After being picked up on a warrant in Nevada, then extradited to Chicago on Thursday, Biadnok was ordered held in Cook County Jail on US$20,000 (about THB620,000) bail by the Central Bond Court on Friday, reported The Chicago Tribune.
Biadnok was reportedly operating the Maisamakeetum Temple in Las Vegas at the time of his arrest.
The monk stands accused of sexually assaulting two minors at Phrasriratanamahatatu Temple — located in the North Side of the Windy City’s Sheridan Park neighborhood — where he reportedly taught young children the Thai language and culture between 2000 and 2002.
Judge David Navarro charged him with felony counts of predatory criminal sexual assault and aggravated criminal sexual abuse, reported NBC Chicago.
As of press time, Phrasriratanamahatatu Temple has not responded publicly to the charges.
Chicago police urged anyone with additional information to call the Special Investigations Unit at 312-492-3810.
A quick google search revealed that Sripai, who formerly went by the last name Kootlakitto, was once an advanced-level dharma (religious) scholar at Chamnihathakarn Temple in Bangkok Pathum Wan district, according to The Sangha Supreme Council of Thailand.
Subscribe to The Coconuts Podcast for top trending news and pop culture from Southeast Asia and Hong Kong every Friday!