Monk faces new charge of child sexual abuse

Venerable Naotunné Vijitha Thero, of Damma Sarana temple, is facing 21 charges of alleged child sexual abuse.

by Cam Lucadou-Wells

A Keysborough-based senior monk is now facing accusations of child sexual abuse against six alleged victims, a court has heard.

Naotunne Vijitha, 68, who is denying 21 charges, appeared at Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on Friday 1 December by video link from his lawyer’s office.

The abbot of the Dhamma Sarana temple is facing a new charge of an indecent act with a girl under 16 between 1994 and 1995 in Springvale, which relates to the sixth complainant.

In total, he is contesting nine counts of sexual penetration of a child under 16 and 12 counts of an indecent act with a child under 16.

The offending allegedly occurred against six girls in Springvale and Keysborough between the mid-1990s and early-2000s.

In August, Vijitha was initially charged by police over alleged child sexual abuse of three girls dating back to the mid-1990s.

After media reports, Victoria Police announced in September that two further alleged victims came forward.

Witnesses are set to be cross-examined during committal hearings at Melbourne Magistrates’ Court.

Vijitha was bailed to re-appear at court on 6 May.