A 49-year-old abbot in Udon Thani has been arrested for sending messages to more than a dozen girls and offering to pay them for sex.
On Wednesday, Pol Lt Col Akkapol Yeekoh and Pol Lt Col Watanyu Khaochaimaha, inspectors of Udon Thani provincial police, said that officers have apprehended Phra Pramuk Kittipattho, abbot of Wat Pa Nong Pla Sew in Ban Phue district.
The abbot was charged with indecent conduct, possessing pornographic material and attempting to deprive persons aged 15 and below of their parental care.
The charges were laid against him after he was defrocked.
The abbot then returned to using his real name, Pramuk Charoensuk.
Police searched his living quarters at the temple and seized as evidence two mobile phones, a tablet as well as pornographic pictures and video clips.
Investigators managed to extract from his contact records chat messages he sent to almost 20 girls offering to pay them to have sex with him. He had also shared videos and pictures with the girls.
Noi, 36, the mother of one of the girls, told police her 12-year-old daughter received lewd messages from the abbot who also tried to seduce her and talk her into having sex with him for money.
Her daughter refused to go and see the monk and told her mother about his misconduct.
Noi said she consulted the village headman who advised her to file a police complaint.
Noi accused the monk of offering to pay her daughter 2,000 baht to sleep with him.
He also sent the girls his location so they would be able to find their way to meet him at the temple.