Buddhist Priest Arrested for Allegedly Paying for Sex with an Underage Girl

“We’re extremely shocked by this news,” his temple said.
japan, buddhism, priest, monk, sex, arrest, child, minor
The priest admiknew the girl was underage when they engaged in sexual activity. Photo: Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images 

A Japanese Buddhist priest was arrested for allegedly buying sex from an underage girl. 

Kazumasa Takai, 42, met the girl, 17, on social media. She was reportedly looking for a sugar daddy and had disclosed her age to the priest, who admitted to knowing she was underage, broadcaster Fuji News Network reported.

After corresponding for a few days, the two in May met at a hotel located in greater Tokyo and spent less than two hours together in their room. Takai committed “lewd” acts before paying the girl 50,000 yen ($366), according to the Fuji News Network report.

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Takai admitted to his crime after getting arrested on Monday, Japanese newspaper Mainichi Shimbun reported. The legal age of consent is 13 in Japan but it’s illegal to solicit paid sex from anyone under the age of 18

Though Japanese Buddhist priests are granted some sexual freedoms—like marrying, which their Catholic counterparts can’t do—they’re expected to live a life of virtue. 

But that doesn’t mean crimes don’t happen. Monks and priests alike in Japan have been embroiled in sex crimes. Earlier this year, a priest was among nine men who were arrested on suspicion of engaging in sexual acts with a minor at an orgy. Internationally, monks have also been accused of sexually abusing pupils or nuns

Takai’s case has disturbed many, including the people who worked with him.

“We’re extremely shocked by this news—he worked here for 10 years,” a spokesperson of the Sōzenji temple in Tokyo’s Hamura city, where Takai worked as a priest, told VICE World News.  

“I learned of this only when the police came yesterday,” the spokesperson said, asking to refrain from using his name because the case is ongoing. 

The crime came to light only after the police conducted a routine “cyber patrol,” when officers investigate potential leads and trace suspected crimes on the internet. After finding the girl’s profile, they launched an investigation and found evidence of sexual exploitation of a minor. 

If found guilty, Takai faces a maximum penalty of five years’ imprisonment, which mandates labor while serving their time, and a fine of up to 5 million yen ($36,646). 

The police plan to investigate whether Takai has solicited other minors for sex, Fuji News Network reported. 

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