Abbotsford Hindu temple priest guilty of sex crimes on teen girls in his congregation

Published: May 3, 2013
Abbotsford

The Hindu temple in Abbotsford is shown in this Nov. 17, 2010 file photo. A priest who was fired from the temple has been found guilty of sexually interfering with two teens in the congregration. Wayne Leidenfrost/PNG files

 

ELAINE O’CONNOR
VANCOUVER DESI

A priest at an Abbotsford Hindu temple has been found guilty of three counts of sexually interfering with two young women in his congregation.

Karam Vir, 33, was charged in November 2010 with two counts of touching a young person for a sexual purpose and one count of sexual assault.

Justice Neill Brown delivered his verdict in B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster Friday, and ordered Vir remanded to custody until his sentencing in August.

In reviewing the evidence, Brown painted a picture of long-term friendships that had developed between Vir and the two teenagers over months.

These relationships of trust were breached when Vir made sexual advances, sexually exploiting the girls, then 17.

The girls’ identities are protected by a publication ban.

“I believe their testimony in the way that Mr. Vir exploited their trust,” Brown said. “I find credible the complainants’ evidence that Mr. Vir sexually touched them . . . I find both complainants were fearful.”

In both cases, the court heard that Vir approached the girls at the temple while they were dealing with struggles with boyfriends.

Vir befriended them, offering advice, and built separate friendships with the girls. In both cases, this involved private visits to his living quarters, outings, and long phone calls — hundreds over a few months, some lasting hours.

The first complainant alleged Vir three times forced kisses on her and forced brief sexual intercourse and/or touching on her three times before she pushed him away, crying and asking him to stop.

In the other case, Vir gave the girl a ring to “protect her.” During their friendship she repeatedly asked Vir to stop talking about wanting to get physically involved with her and resisted his advances, once when he hugged her and tried to touch her chest and again when he pushed her on to a bed after giving her the ring.

The investigation began when members of the Walmsley Avenue Hindu temple approached police with an anonymous letter accusing Vir of sexual interference with a teenage girl in March 2010.

The letter had also been circulated to about 10 businesses in the community.

That same day, one of the girls attended the police station and made a similar statement. She alleged that Vir had kissed her, had touched her inappropriately, and also offered her alcohol.

During the Abbotsford Police Department major crime unit investigation another alleged victim was identified.

The trial of the Indian national began in Chilliwack in February, but was transferred to New Westminster in March.

The young women testified via closed-circuit television, expressing to the court that appearing in public with their stories would bring shame on their families.

A woman who testified in Vir’s defence stated that he had done an excellent job of getting the temple back in good physical and financial shape since he joined in 2008, but that his leadership rankled some of the temple membership. He was fired shortly after charges were laid.

Vir’s sentencing hearing will take place in Chilliwack at 10 a.m. on Aug. 14.

eoconnor@theprovince.com
twitter.com/elainereporting


Tags: , ,





Featured

bully

Video of Sikh boy being bullied, called ‘terrorist’ on school bus goes viral (w/ video)

VANCOUVER DESI A video of a young Sikh student in the U.S. being bullied and called a “terrorist” by a group of children on a…
Continue Reading »

vaccinate

Pakistani police arrest hundreds of parents for refusing to vaccinate their kids against polio

RIAZ KHAN THE ASSOCIATED PRESS PESHAWAR, Pakistan — Hundreds of parents in northwest Pakistan were arrested and jailed on charges of endangering public security after…
Continue Reading »

Aliya

Indian family struggles to feed 41-pound baby addicted to curry (w/ video)

VANCOUVER DESI An Indian family is struggling to make ends meet and feed its 10-month-old baby who weighs an “astonishing” 41 pounds – making her…
Continue Reading »

LOCAL NEWS

Flowers, cards for owners of Manitoba convenience store beaten by man

THE CANADIAN PRESS BEAUSEJOUR, Man. — Owners of a convenience store in Manitoba who were beaten by a customer are seeing an outpouring of support….
Continue Reading »

Canadian men pleased Ernest Fenwick MacIntosh jailed in Nepal for abuse of child

By Michael Tutton THE CANADIAN PRESS HALIFAX — Two men who testified against Ernest Fenwick MacIntosh say his conviction in Nepal for the sexual abuse…
Continue Reading »

Canadian men pleased Ernest Fenwick MacIntosh jailed in Nepal for abuse of child

By Michael Tutton THE CANADIAN PRESS HALIFAX — Two men who testified against Ernest Fenwick MacIntosh say his conviction in Nepal for sexual assault of…
Continue Reading »

Don't Miss...

Hands Against Racism

Hands Against Racism: Send us a selfie and make a statement against racism (with video)

VANCOUVER DESI Vancouver Desi’s digital anti-racism campaign, Raise Your Hands Against Racism, officially kicked off Thursday, with people across the Lower Mainland sending in selfies…
Continue Reading »

triplets

U.S. mom with 2 kids celebrates one-month birthdays of rare identical triplet boys (with photos)

COREY WILLIAMS THE ASSOCIATED PRESS ST. CLAIR SHORES, Mich. – A suburban Detroit couple who have two older children are adjusting to life after becoming…
Continue Reading »

File photo: An Indian Muslim bride, her hands decorated with henna, attends a mass wedding organized by a social service organization in Mumbai, India, Sunday, Feb. 15, 2015. AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool

Groom dumped by bride-to-be for a wedding guest accuses her of drugging him before ceremony

VANCOUVER DESI A 25-year-old Indian groom who was dumped by his bride-to-be for a wedding guest after he suffered an alleged seizure has accused his…
Continue Reading »

bikram

Vancouver woman sues hot yoga guru Bikram Choudhury for sexual assault

SUSAN LAZARUK VANCOUVER DESI A Vancouver woman is claiming the leader of one of B.C.’s largest yoga chains repeatedly sexually assaulted and coerced her over…
Continue Reading »

murder plot-Pakistan-love triangle

U.S. man convicted of setting up fatal shooting of Pakistani wife while walking with young son

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS MORRISTOWN, N.J. — A man was convicted Thursday of setting up the fatal shooting of his Pakistan-born wife while the couple was…
Continue Reading »


Bollywood Latest

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan to perform a song and dance number in promo video for Jazbaa

HINDUSTAN TIMES Since Aishwarya Rai Bachcha’s comeback film doesn’t involve a song and dance number, the Bollywood star has decided to come up with a…
Continue Reading »

This image released by Fox Searchlight Films shows Lillete Dubey, left, and Richard Gere in a scene from "The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel." (AP Photo/Fox Searchlight Films, Laurie Sparham)

Film Review: Despite a classy cast, Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel lives up to its title

JOCELYN NOVECK THE ASSOCIATED PRESS If you’re going to do a movie sequel that doesn’t quite measure up to the original and seems rather hurriedly…
Continue Reading »

Ranbir Kapoor-sports

Ranbir Kapoor abruptly ends conference when pressed about Katrina Kaif

HINDUSTAN TIMES Ranbir Kapoor made an abrupt exit at a press conference after he was continually pressed about his rumoured relationship with fellow Bollywood actress…
Continue Reading »