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

crime-British Columbia

Three arrested after Surrey RCMP-involved shooting in Newton

AMY REID SURREY NOW NEWTON — Three people are in custody following a police-involved shooting in Newton Friday afternoon. Shortly after noon, plainclothes officers attempted to…
Continue Reading »

Immigrant-language test

Woman loses Canadian citizenship for failing language, knowledge tests after it was granted in error

ADRIAN HUMPHREYS POSTMEDIA NEWS A would-be Canadian who received a grade of zero out of six on her citizenship language test and four out of…
Continue Reading »

India-Kashmir-Obama

Pakistani PM Sharif asks Obama to play role for resolution of Kashmir issue

MUNIR AHMED THE ASSOCIATED PRESS ISLAMABAD — Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Friday asked the U.S. President Barack Obama to play a role in…
Continue Reading »

LOCAL NEWS

crime-British Columbia

Three arrested after Surrey RCMP-involved shooting in Newton

AMY REID SURREY NOW NEWTON — Three people are in custody following a police-involved shooting in Newton Friday afternoon. Shortly after noon, plainclothes officers attempted to…
Continue Reading »

Whitecaps2

Spice Sports: Whitecaps announce new USL PRO team!

GOPI AND THE GORA FOR VANCOUVER DESI An exciting announcement was made this morning at UBC’s Gerald McGavin Rugby Centre. Soccer fans in Vancouver will…
Continue Reading »

Immigrant-language test

Woman loses Canadian citizenship for failing language, knowledge tests after it was granted in error

ADRIAN HUMPHREYS POSTMEDIA NEWS A would-be Canadian who received a grade of zero out of six on her citizenship language test and four out of…
Continue Reading »

Don't Miss...

desi bride loaded in gold

Indian bride draws flak for wearing $700,000 jewellery at her wedding

CEN AGENCY An Indian sweet maker made sure his daughter was the golden girl at her upcoming wedding by covering her in gold jewellery worth…
Continue Reading »

India

Video: Bear mauls Indian farmer to death, injures second man (Warning: Graphic Content)

VANCOUVER DESI An Indian farmer was mauled to death and another left seriously injured after a terrifying and unusual bear attack in Karnataka on Monday,…
Continue Reading »

Spiderman

Video: India’s real-life Spiderman scales buildings with bare hands

VANCOUVER DESI A 27-year-old man in India who is nicknamed the “real-life Spiderman” has become one of Karnataka’s leading tourist attractions for his ability to effortlessly…
Continue Reading »

desi victim

Victim of ski accident to open spinal-cord recovery centre in Richmond (w/video)

NICK EAGLAND VANCOUVER DESI Dhruv Kapoor realized he was in deep trouble as he barrelled down a ski run in Russell, Man., on an icy…
Continue Reading »

op-ed

Aziza Sindhu: How do you grieve for a tyrant father?

AZIZA SINDHU CALGARY HERALD My father, Salim M. Sindhu, passed away on Nov. 10. As a child, I wished he smiled at me, as a…
Continue Reading »


Bollywood Latest

Bollywood sex video

I can’t take nonsense: Sonakshi Sinha on why she lashed out at KRK on Twitter (w/gallery)

HINDUSTAN TIMES Some Bollywood stars tend to be diplomatic about controversies, and choose not to react. Sonakshi Sinha isn’t one of them. Last month, she…
Continue Reading »

Bollywood wedding reception

Photos: Khan-tastic wedding reception for Salman’s sister Arpita

VANCOUVER DESI While celebrities have reached the wedding reception for Salman Khans sister Arpita and businessman Aayush Sharma to wish them their best, photos have…
Continue Reading »

Bollywood-cricket

Cricketer Virat Kohli confirms he is dating Bollywood beauty Anushka Sharma

HINDUSTAN TIMES Remember we reported a few days ago how Virat Kohli said he had no problems blowing a kiss on field, the way he…
Continue Reading »