Even more incriminating were accusations of multiple sexual relationships with women — a cardinal sin for monks. Among them was a 14-year-old girl with whom he allegedly had a son, a decade ago. The mother filed a statutory rape case against him last week.
Police have yet to determine how many people he swindled, but the trail of disappointed followers is long.
One of them is a Bangkok housecleaner who remembers first hearing him preach a year ago.
“His voice was beautiful, it was mesmerizing. He captivated all of us with his words,” said Onsa Yubram, 42.
When he ended his sermon and held out his saffron bag, hundreds of people rushed forward with donations.
“His bag was so full of cash, they had to transfer the money into a big fertilizer sack. He told us, ‘Don’t worry, no need to rush. I’ll stay here until the last of you gets to donate,’” she said.