The former chief monk of the capital’s Por Satharam pagoda who was implicated in a sex scandal in June has officially left the monkhood amid fierce public criticism, a senior monk official said.
Van Vanny was the subject of a probe by the Ministry of Cults and Religion on June 24 after photos of his alleged sexual encounter with a woman at the pagoda, also known as Pochentong, in Por Sen Chey district went viral on Facebook.
Both Vanny and the woman denied the affair during questioning and claimed the pictures were photoshopped in an attempt to defame them.
Prom Sophy, Por Sen Chey district deputy chief monk in charge of Buddhist disciplines, confirmed to The Post on Monday that Vanny had left the monkhood.
“[Van Vanny] no longer stayed in monkhood. He left to end public suspicion,” Sophy said.
Sophy could not confirm if Vanny’s alleged sexual encounter with the woman was true or fabricated as claimed by him.
“I think it’s already finished. Please stop asking, it’s not useful. This is a social concern. Please stop digging up the story using those photos,” he said, adding that there had been no lawsuit brought against Vanny.
Vanny’s alleged sexual misconduct was brought back to light on Monday when a Facebook user under the name Jou Mary posted his pictures in monk robes along with a message accusing him of betrayal.
“I bought it [the robe] for you. But you should not keep it anymore if I mean nothing to you now. Thanks for your lie ... We had been through the good and bad times for nearly a year; we had faced all the problems together.
“After everything is resolved, you leave monkhood and you also leave me because you follow your family,” said the Facebook post.
Sorn Chey, the executive director of the Affiliated Network for Social Accountability, said the latest Facebook post, believed to be from Vanny’s alleged lover, had seemingly proven the ministry’s investigation useless and eroded public trust.
“[Officials] should take legal measure to prevent anyone from insulting the religion like this, otherwise Buddhism will fall into disgrace,” he said.
Mony Semm Sophea, the acting Por Sen Chey district chief monk, urged monks to refrain from posting non-religious content on Facebook to avoid damaging the image of Buddhism.