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Woman comes to rescue of Hindu priest charged of sexual exploitation of teens

Vancouver Desi  Abbotsford, March 07, 2013
First Published: 23:58 IST(7/3/2013) | Last Updated: 00:01 IST(8/3/2013)

A woman has come forward in defence of Hindu priest, Karam Vir, accused of sexually exploiting two teenage members of his congregation in March 2010.

The woman, who cannot be identified due to a publication ban, was a defence witness at British Columbia (BC) Supreme Court, where she stated that the priest made a "big difference" during his tenure at an Abbotsford temple.

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The woman said that before Vir arrived in 2008, the temple was unclean and had financial problems, which she described through an interpreter as "very bad, actually".

She said Vir properly submitted donation receipts and operated according to temple rules.

As a result, the temple's assets grew and the facility was tidy.

She said that because of the changes he made, Vir had a "mixed" relationship with the temple management "some were happy, some were not", she said.

Vir is charged with two counts of touching a young person for a sexual purpose and one count of sexual assault.

Vir's trial, which began in Chilliwack last month, continued on Wednesday in BC Supreme Court in New Westminster.

On March 12, 2010, leaders from the temple, located on Walmsley Avenue and run by the Fraser Valley Hindu Cultural Society, told police they had received anonymous letters accusing a person in authority of sexual misconduct.

Earlier that day, a 17-year-old girl showed up at the Abbotsford police station to make a complaint about Vir and provided with a video- and audio-recorded statement about a month later.

During the investigation the name of another possible victim surfaced and police contacted her.

Vir was arrested in November 2010 and fired shortly thereafter.

Courtesy Vancouverdesi.com

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