By our legal reporter
Melbourne: A former Hindu priest of the Sri Shiva Vishnu Temple, Carrum Downs faces deportation to Sri Lanka after being convicted of indecent assault by Magistrate Ross Betts of the Frankston Magistrate Court.
The verdict came after many court hearings, indignation in the community and attempts to reach an out of court settlement failed. The priest does not work in the Shiva Vishnu Temple anymore and was last rumoured to be working outside Melbourne.
A report in the Frankston Standard Leader (June 6, 2011) Says: “ Premakanthan Rajaratnamsarma,64, was a priest at the Sri Shiva Vishnu Temple, Carrum Downs, when he was approached by a 23 year old venerable and struggling woman for prayer and 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.
“During the blessing he indecently t ouched t he woman’s groin, breasts and buttocks. The court heard a second woman complained to police after he did the same to her in April, 2009.”
‘‘The defendant approached the 28-year-old victim . . . and, on finding out she wasn’t having much success in her life, invited her to see her horoscope,’’ Sen-Constable Martin said. After indecently assaulting her in his unit, he tried to kiss her”’ the report says.
‘‘The victim was shocked and became visibly upset and couldn’t stop crying. She felt dirty and violated,’’ the court heard.
According to the report,Magistrate Ross Betts described Rajaratnasarma’s actions as a ‘‘serious betrayal of trust’’.
Premakanthan Rajaratnamsarma’s defence lawyer Mary Baczynski told the court 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.
After taking into account health issues and the guilty plea, Magistrate Ross Betts sentenced him to 18 months’ jail, wholly suspended for two years.