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Canada woman defends Hindu priest accused of sexual assualt

Vancouver Desi  Abbotsford, March 08, 2013
First Published: 16:12 IST(8/3/2013) | Last Updated: 16:14 IST(8/3/2013)

A woman has come forward in defence of a Hindu priest who was booked for sexual assault of two teenage girls of his congregation.

While defending priest, she said the priest made a "big difference" during his tenure at an Abbotsford temple.

The woman was a defence witness at Karam Vir's British Columbia (BC) Supreme Court trial.

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

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," the woman said.

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.

About a month later she provided a video- and audio-recorded statement.

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

The girl, who had recently turned 18, also provided a statement.

Vir was arrested in November 2010 and fired shortly thereafter.

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