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Last Updated: Friday, 18 February, 2005, 16:47 GMT
Hindu priest in rape trial jailed
A Hindu priest who "abused his position of trust" by raping a vulnerable woman, has been jailed for 12 years.

Ramanathan Somanathan, 41, who worked at a temple in Croydon, south London, left his 29-year-old victim pregnant after raping her twice.

After having an abortion the woman made several suicide attempts and became a loner, Croydon Crown Court heard.

Somanathan, of Thornton Heath, Surrey, was found guilty at the same court last month, and sentenced on Friday.

Spiritual guidance

Judge Simon Pratt told Somanathan: "You are still considered to be a danger to women; particularly those who are vulnerable.

"You have abused your exalted position within the community to get closer to this woman and I include in that two other witnesses who came forward.

"In sentencing you, you have run a close decision to being sentenced to life."

Det Con Rob Buckell said it had taken "tremendous courage" for both the victim and witnesses involved to give evidence.

"The priest has abused his position of trust. Within his own community the priest is an individual to whom they look to for spiritual guidance and assistance," he said.

"He hid behind his religion and preyed upon the vulnerability of his victims."


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