Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Priest charged with sexual molestation allowed to leave the country

That's a Hindu priest, in Houston TX, who's out on a $1 million bond after being arrested on charges of molesting two children in the early 1990s. And he's being allowed to visit India after posting a $10 million guarantee that he will return to the US.

Some poor sap has posted the guarantee for him. I'd like to see a follow-up, to see if he actually does return.

Yes, I'm cynical. Hindu priests generally are temple functionaries, whose job is to perform the rituals, keep the gods -- and the people -- satisfied. There is absolutely no sense of poverty, or charity tied into the job description. (This is different from sadhus or sanyasis, those who renounce the world and wander as mendicants, or go to the forests or mountains to commune with God.) The priests attached to popular temples, whether in India or in the diaspora, live incredibly luxurious styles. As do many (though certainly not all) gurus who attract large followings, especially those in the West.

Read that again: this guy posted a one million dollar bail.

Here's the story from the Indian Express.
In an arrangement described as "unusual" by legal experts, Peter Spiegel, an entrepreneur listed as a managing member, director and treasurer of JKP, Barsana Dham, the corporate name of the temple founded by Saraswati, agreed to pay the massive guarantee money in an arrangement approved by State District Court Judge Charles Ramsay, the American Statesman reported on its website.Saraswati retrieved his passport late last week, according to Hays County court records. A spokesman for Barsana Dham said the priest intends to visit India soon.

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