May 17, 2005

Buddhist Monk Convicted of Sex Abuse Dies


Associated Press Writer

May 17, 2005, 12:06 AM EDT

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka -- A monk drank poison and later died after becoming the first Buddhist clergyman to be convicted of the sexual abuse of a child in Sri Lanka, court officials and police said.

Monk Bellana Panniyaloka was found guilty of grave sexual abuse of a 16-year-old girl in 2001 and was given the maximum 20-year penalty, court official N.K. Siripala said.

Soon after the sentence, Panniyaloka drank from a bottle he had concealed in his robes and collapsed, Siripala said. He was rushed to a hospital, where he later died.

"He had consumed a large quantity of insecticide and died of poisoning," said Hector Weerasinghe, director of the ColomboAbuse Tracker Hospital.

The priest belongs to a temple in Nugegoda, just outside the capital Colombo, where the victim was a Sunday school student, Siripala said.

Monday's conviction came a day after a senior Buddhist monk was arrested on charges of sexually abusing a teenager in another Sri Lankan temple, officials said.

Posted by kshaw at May 17, 2005 07:15 AM