Lowell Residents Boycott Pagoda Over Monk Row

More than 300 Cambodian-Americans in Lowell, Massachu­setts, de­cided Sunday to boycott all religious services at their local Buddhist temple in response to the head monk’s support for a fe­male layperson who was allegedly caught on video having sex with a Cambodi­an monk, a local official said.

Hundreds of people have protested over the past two weeks after the video was posted on YouTube allegedly showing the monk, Nhem Kim Teng from Svay Rieng province, with local layperson Maya Men, who is employed at the temple.

“The community decided to boycott all religious events because the head monk there refuses to dismiss the woman and she remains res­ident inside the temple,” Lowell city councilor Nuon Veasna said by telephone yesterday.

According to Mr. Veasna, the head monk dismissed Nhem Kim Teng—whose U.S. visa he said expired Monday—from the temple last Thursday, but his location was unknown.

“We have made an official com­plaint to the Ministry of Cults and Religion,” he said.

Phnom Penh’s chief monk Khem Sorn said he expected the Buddhist hierarchy would meet soon to decide what action to take over the allegations.

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