A former Sri Lankan Hindu priest in Australia could face deportation to Sri Lanka after being convicted of indecent assault.
Premakanthan Rajaratnasarma was a priest at the Shri Shiva Vishu Temple in Carrum Downs when a 23-year-old woman approached him on July 12, 2004.
Frankston Magistrates’ Court heard last Wednesday that the woman was feeling vulnerable and struggling with issues when she attended the temple to pray and receive blessings from a priest. Leading Sen-Constable Bronwyn Martin said Rajaratnasarma invited the woman to his unit on the temple grounds.
“The defendant then did the victim’s horoscope and took her to a different part of the house where he began blessing her with prayer powder,” Sen-Constable Martin told the court.
The court heard a second woman complained to police after he did the same to her in April, 2009.
Defence lawyer Mary Baczynski said her client had lost his job and his home since being charged. “He was granted refugee residency and now has permanency status, but this could be in jeopardy now and he could be deported,” she said.
“This has been weighing very heavily on him and his family.”
Magistrate Ross Betts described Rajaratnasarma’s actions as a “serious betrayal of trust”.
After taking into account health issues and the guilty plea, Mr Betts sentenced him to 18 months’ jail, wholly suspended for two years. .