Jailed Thai ex-monk gets further 16 years for raping teen girl

Wirapol Sukphol has been sentenced to 16 years in prison for abducting and raping a 13-year-old girl.

    Jailed Thai ex-monk gets further 16 years for raping teen girl
    Wirapol Sukphol was sentenced in August to 114 years in prison [File:Sakchai Lalit/AP]

    A Thai court on Wednesday sentenced a former Buddhist monk known for his lavish lifestyle to 16 years in prison for raping a 13-year-old girl, whom he also impregnated.

    Wirapol Sukphol, formerly known by his monastic name of Luang Pu Nenkham, was sentenced in August to 114 years in prison after a court found him guilty of fraud, money laundering and computer crimes.

    He will only serve 20 years on those charges because that is the maximum for someone found guilty of multiple counts of the same offence.

    He was seen in a YouTube video in 2013 holding wads of cash on a private jet. The same year, he was accused of having sex with an underage girl and was expelled from the monkhood.

    He fled to the United States and was extradited back to Thailand last year.

    "He raped a 13-year-old child and abducted her from her grandmother, but he denied it," Thanyanit Nitikrainon, a legal officer from the office of the attorney general who attended the court hearing, told Reuters.

    "The court found him guilty of both offences, sentencing him to eight years for each."

    The victim, now 32, said she was satisfied with Wednesday's sentencing.

    She said she would present the ruling to the Sisaket Juvenile and Family Court, where she has filed a lawsuit against Wirapol requesting 40 million baht ($1.2m) in child support in a case the court had put on hold pending Wednesday's ruling.

    Wirapol's high-profile cases have highlighted a series of sex and money scandals that have rocked Thailand's Buddhist institution in recent years, resulting in calls for reforms of religious institutions.

    The military government that came to power after a 2014 coup has stepped up efforts to clean up Buddhism by arresting monks involved in corruption and scrutinising temple finances.

    Thailand: Living in limbo

    The Slum

    Thailand: Living in limbo

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies