The Supreme Court on Friday upheld the earlier sentencing of a former monk, Neth Khai, to 20 years in prison for producing and distributing pornography.
Khim Ponn, presiding judge at the Supreme Court, announced the verdict for Khai, who did not appear in court, and who had appealed for a reduced sentence for his charges on July 2.
Judge Ponn explained Khai’s offences were too severe to allow a shorter sentence.
“Even [though] the accused pleads guilty, the accused committed a serious crime affecting social morality as well as Buddhist rules, causing damage to other monks’ values,” he said.
Formerly affiliated with Sras Chork pagoda, Khai was arrested in 2010 after police discovered he had secretly taken photographs and videos of more than 600 women bathing in religious ceremonies while he was working as a monk offering traditional blessings.
Four women were listed on the initial complaint, including one minor, and Khai was ordered to pay each victim between $10,000 and $12,500, in addition to his prison term.
During the pervious hearing, Neth Khai admitted to his offences but said during the past four years spent in prison he had arduously tried to improve himself, and had realised his mistakes.
“I was obsessed with wealth. The greed made every person hate me,” he told the court at the time.