Nepalese court finds 'Buddha Boy' guilty of child sexual abuse

By Gopal Sharma

KATHMANDU (Reuters) - A Nepali court has found a man who thousands believed was a reincarnation of the Buddha guilty of child sexual abuse, a court official said on Tuesday.

As a teenager, Ram Bahadur Bamjon drew international attention in 2005 when tens of thousands of people turned up to see the so-called 'Buddha Boy' sitting cross-legged under a tree in a dense forest in southeastern Nepal for nearly 10 months.

Devotees said he could meditate for several days without water, food or sleep.

Sadan Adhikari, registrar of the Sarlahi district court, said Bomjon had been found guilty of child sex abuse, without giving details. The court will sentence Bomjon, 33, on July 1, Adhikari added.

Bomjon, who faces up to 14 years in prison, could not be reached for comment. His lawyer, Dilip Kumar Jha, said that there was no evidence against his client and that they would appeal the case in a higher court.

In January, Bomjon was arrested by the Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) of Nepal Police from a house on the outskirts of Kathmandu where he had been hiding since the court issued an arrest warrant against him following allegations of sexual abuse.

(Reporting by Gopal Sharma; Editing by Sudipto Ganguly and Miral Fahmy)