By: Isuru Parakrama
Colombo (LNW): The Child Protection Alliance addressing a letter to President Ranil Wickremesinghe raised strong concerns regarding the continuous direct activity with children by Ven. Pahalagama Somarathana, Chief Prelate of Vidyaravinda Pirivena, Pahalagama, Gampaha, who is a convicted child molester.
Somarathana Thera was convicted to serve seven years in prison for child sexual abuse on June 01, 2012 by Ilsworth Crown Court in the United Kingdom, the Alliance wrote, reminding that the Thera lost his appeal, and the conviction was upheld but the sentence was later reduced to six years in June 2013.
“The 65-year-old was jailed for seven years and was put on the Sex Offenders Register for life. The judge also told Somarathana that he must never work with children again,” the group quoted the Court verdict.
The Child Protection Alliance also revealed that Somarathana Thera is now living in Sri Lanka as the Chief Prelate of Vidyaravinda Pirivena, Pahalagama, Gampaha, and works knowingly and directly with children, in what the group described as a deliberate violation of the Court’s orders.
Child protection being a national crisis in Sri Lanka with child abuse being the second highest grave crime reported by the Police, the Child Protection Alliance urged the President to shed his attention on this matter, and take urgent action to protect and promote the rights of vulnerable children, the true beneficiaries of the future before the religious privileges of a convicted child sex offender.