According to prosecutors, Wirapol Sukphol took unofficial custody of a girl under the age of 15 from January 2000 to the middle of 2001 and raped her.
Wirapol, 38, was formerly known as Luang Pu Nen Kham but has since been stripped of this honorific title in light of accusations against him of money laundering and child abduction.
He fled to the United States when police began investigating the claims against him, prompting prosecutors to seek his extradition. This was granted by a US court and he was brought back to Thailand on July 19.
Prosecutors said the teenage girl formerly filed a lawsuit against him for rape and unlawful detention at Si Sa Ket Provincial Court but she failed to testify.
This led the court to drop the case and conclude the sexual act was consensual. But prosecutors said they had grounds to pursue the case further.
The first hearing in the new case will be held on June 8 next year, the Criminal Court said after Wirapol was taken there yesterday from Bangkok Remand Prison.
In addition to criminal charges, the former monk was slapped with a civil lawsuit by the prosecution seeking to have his assets and those of eight others worth a total of B40 million seized under the anti-money-laundering law. A witness hearing to that effect is under way.
Wirapol gained infamy as the “jet-set monk” in 2013 after a video was released that showed him travelling aboard a private jet in a monastic robe while counting money.
He also showed off designer sunglasses and was seen carrying an expensive Louis Vuitton bag. Wirapol was found to own dozens of luxury cars and vast tracts of land.
As Nen Kham, he ruled the Khantitham forest monastery in Kanthararom district, Si Sa Ket province as its abbot. He was expelled from the monkhood in absentia after fleeing for inappropriate conduct including having sex, boasting of supernatural powers and indulging in a lavish lifestyle.
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