Monk to quit after sex harassment claims

( A Buddhist monk who lives in a pagoda in Vietnam’s mountainous north has asked religious authorities to allow him to give up his monk’s habit after a female journalist accused him of sexual harassment and requesting sexual favours from her.

Nguyen Thu Trang, an investigative journalist working for Vietnamese newspaper Phu Nu, told DPA on Monday that Thich Thanh Toan, 43, requested sexual favours from her in July and August while she was working on malfeasance stories about a real estate company.

The story went viral and caused public outrage against the monk’s behaviour.

Trang accused the monk of asking her to send him nude photos, fondling her chest and imploring her to engage in sexual messages with him.

Toan, the abbot of Nga Hoang Pagoda, northwest of Hanoi Vinh Phuc Province, admitted wrongdoing to Buddhist authorities on Saturday and asked them to allow him to be defrocked.

The case went public on September 23, when Phu Nu newspaper published the first in a series of articles focusing on Vietnamese real estate company Sun Group and their alleged attempts to destroy forest and develop a tourist site in Tam Dao National Park, a protected and celebrated site.

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