His whereabouts remain a mystery, but the Cambodian Buddhist monk at the center of a sex-tape scandal currently playing out in a Lowell, Massachusetts, courtroom has broken his silence over a number of allegations that have enraged and divided the U.S.’ second-largest Cambodian-American population.
In a statement received Tuesday and dated April 22, Nhem Kim Teng admits he appears in the video, which was posted on YouTube and caused outrage in the community, but denies it shows him breaking his vow of celibacy inside a local pagoda with Maya Men, a laywoman who he was working with on a new $10-million temple project.
“Some parts [of the DVD] really shows me, but other parts are not me at all. The sex scene happened somewhere else—not in the pagoda in Lowell,” the monk said in the statement.
Nhem Kim Teng said that a time-of-recording date of April 14, 1980, appears on the video, while another date on the disc itself states that the recording took place on October 22, 2012. Nhem Kim Teng also argued that because it was not filmed at the pagoda—where witnesses can attest he was on the second date—it cannot be him in the act of sex.
A statement by the U.S.-based Community of Khmer Monks organization and the Vatt Khmer temple authorities, also received Tuesday and dated April 24, agrees with Nhem Kim Teng’s version of events and concludes that because “the date of the DVD proves that it was filmed on April 14, 1980…the committee of monks cannot consider it as evidence.”
The woman in the tape—who has brought a civil lawsuit against five Lowell men for illegally distributing the video—also claims the video does not show her having sex with the monk. However, her explanation as to what is happening during the sex scene differs.
“We were not having sex; he was rocking back and forth with me,” The Lowell Sun newspaper reported Ms. Men telling Lowell Superior Court last week.