Nepal court sentences ‘Buddha Boy’ to 10 years in jail for sexual abuse

Kathmandu, Nepal — A Nepali court sentenced a man who thousands believed was a reincarnation of the Buddha to 10 years in jail on Monday for child sexual abuse, a court official said.

As a teenager, Ram Bahadur Bamjon had drawn international attention when in 2005 tens of thousands of people turned up to see the “Buddha Boy” sitting cross-legged under a tree in a dense forest in southeastern Nepal for nearly 10 months.

Court official Sikinder Kaapar of the Sarlahi district court in southern Nepal said a judge had also ordered Bamjon, 33, to pay $3,750 in compensation to the victim.

Bamjon could not be reached for comment by Reuters, but his lawyer, Dilip Kumar Jha, said he would appeal in a higher court.

Bamjon was arrested at a house on the outskirts of Kathmandu in January.

The ruling comes nearly two decades after he first gained international attention after he retreated into the jungle at age 15 to pray for 10 months, local media reported at the time. His followers once claimed that he did so without food, sleep or water.

Those claims were never independently verified, but it led some to laud him as the reincarnation of Siddhartha Gautama, who was born in Nepal some 2,500 years ago, and later became known simply as Buddha, meaning “enlightened one.”

This post appeared first on cnn.com
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