Buddhist monk, 82, who sexually abused two girls after befriending their parents in the 1970s and 80s is jailed for just two years
A Buddhist monk who molested two girls’ in their homes after befriending their parents has been jailed for just two years.
Kojiu Takeuchi, who calls himself Buddha Maitreya, pleaded guilty at Hove Crown Court to three counts of sexually abusing the girls.
The offences came to light following media reports of a separate case, when Takeuchi, 82, was jailed in October 2020 for sexually abusing a girl from the age of three until she was nine in her Brighton home between 1975 e 1981.
He was initially given three years in prison and ordered to serve a further year on an extended licence for one of the offences. He was given the same sentence to be served consecutively, making it eight years in total, however, he appealed.
The disgraced monk was given a reduced sentence so that both jail terms could run consecutively, making him eligible to be considered for parole next month.
But yesterday the Japanese monk found himself back at Hove Crown Court where he was slapped with a two-year jail sentence from Judge Jeremy Gold.
Kojiu Takeuchi, who calls himself Buddha Maitreya, (nella foto) pleaded guilty at Hove Crown Court to three counts of sexually abusing two 12-year-old girls throughout the 1970s and 1980s
Prosecutor Anthony Waller told the court that Takeuchi had won the trust of a Brighton couple in 1972 e 1973 before abusing their daughter, who is now in her sixties, at their home.
He later befriended a couple before abusing their daughter, who is now in her forties, in 1986 or 1987, the court heard.
Mr Waller said that the two complainants had never previously met and lived in different parts of the country.
The monk admitted that he indecently assaulted them.
Both of the victims, whose courage in reporting the abuse led to the latest charges against the perpetrator, attended court to read out their victim impact statements.
The disgraced monk was jailed for 14 months each for the two offences committed in Brighton, with the sentence to be served concurrently. He was jailed for 10 months for the later offence, to be served consecutively, making 24 months in total
One, from Brighton, spoke about carrying her burden alone.
She said: ‘At the time, I had no one to talk to. In the 70s it was a closed subject, and I couldn’t talk to my friends.
‘It took me a long time to tell my mum but I’m not sure that I told her everything as I was too ashamed, too embarrassed and I just didn’t have the words.
‘If they knew anything, they didn’t go to the police. And you went on to hurt other people.
‘Since finding out about your first conviction, I now feel guilty that maybe we could have stopped it.
‘My parents welcomed you into our home as a trusted guest. I was absolutely petrified knowing that you would be in my home. I dreaded the days that you were coming.’
The woman said her parent’s home was ‘a large house’ which meant that it was ‘easier’ for Takeuchi to ‘to be a predator – to hunt’ to the girls.
She added: ‘You had the trust of my parents to go anywhere. I would hide. I would watch where you would go. I felt I had to try to protect my younger sister.
‘As you were a Buddhist monk, everyone revered you and would treat you with the utmost respect. I wanted to shout out and tell them who you really were and I couldn’t.’
Takechui created Pure Land meditation centre and Japanese garden at his home in Newark, Northamptonshire. It remains a popular tourist attraction where children visit on school trips for religious education lessons
After seeing Takeuchi’s picture in press coverage of his previous case, the woman found the courage to contact Sussex Police.
She told the court that she thought that they would ‘brush it off as nothing but they took it seriously and now you are pleading guilty’.
The victim continued: ‘Now I have the stress of coming forward, putting myself through all of this because of you – the stress of talking to the police, of coming to court.
‘I have had to open up to my work managers to allow me tie off to attend court. This is something I won’t get over.
‘I wanted to see you today and I wanted to look you in the eye. I know what you did and I know what type of person you are.
‘You used your robes, your status as a monk and your role and power to get what you wanted.
‘I cannot forgive that you are claiming to be a Buddhist monk when you are against everything Buddhism stands for.
‘People trusted you. I don’t trust anyone with faith. I immediately think they are hiding something and hiding behind their robes.
‘I am angry that you could take advantage of my body. I am angry that you sexually abused a child. How many other women have you attacked? How many other lives have you affected? Lives have been ruined because of you.’
Takeuchi was first jailed in October 2020 for sexually abusing a girl from the age of three until she was nine in her Brighton home between 1975 e 1981
Takeuchi later went on to teach in Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire, before opening the Pure Land meditation centre and Japanese garden at his home in Newark, Northamptonshire.
The site remains a popular tourist attraction drawing thousands of visitors every year, including coach loads of school children.
It was even featured in an episode of the TV series Britain’s Best Back Gardens, presented by Alan Titchmarsh, in 2015.
It is not known whether other complainants might yet come forward in places such as Brighton and Hove, Cambridge, Lancaster, Lincoln, Nottingham and Reading where he is known to have stayed.
The other female victim said that her parents believed they had ‘met a real-life guru’, like many of the monk’s followers.
She said: ‘When I was eight, I was introduced to Maitreya by my dad who, like many of Maitreya’s ‘followers’, believed he had met a real-life guru.
‘My dad thought he was introducing his little girl to a spiritual leader – a Buddhist monk.
‘This persona made it very easy for him to infiltrate the trust of my parents, both of whom were interested in meditation.
‘It also meant that when he was admiring me, my parents saw it as a compliment rather than a cause for concern.
‘In fact, that façade of ‘Buddha’ that he strategically presented to the world was what enabled him to be left alone with me when I was 12.
‘When Maitreya became lascivious and molested me in my living room, I lost the sense of safety in my own home.’
One of the victims said as a child, she had wanted to be a priest but Maitreya – ‘a Buddhist monk and a pillar of the community’ – caused her to lose her belief
The woman said she had tortured herself for many years, asking herself why she didn’t shout at him and why she froze when he abused her.
She added: ‘Moreover, since he had groomed my parents so successfully, I had been led by them to understand that it was a privilege to be in his presence – that it was a privilege to have him come to our house.’
She said that, as a child, she had wanted to be a priest but Maitreya – ‘a Buddhist monk and a pillar of the community’ – caused her to lose her belief.
She added: ‘All my faith seemed to die when the Buddha turned out to be just a lecherous man whose only real interest in our family was gaining access to my pre-pubescent body.
‘His Japanese garden is still a local attraction which draws coaches full of children from local schools who are learning about Buddhism in their RE lessons.
‘Over the years, I have spent time wrestling with the pain of not feeling adequately empowered to formally report what happened to me.
‘I can only pray that I was his final victim although I have often been wracked with intense anxiety over my suspicion that there will have been many others who have felt unable to find a voice and come forward.
‘I have had to listen to Maitreya, the local celebrity, being revered by people during yoga classes or during chance conversations about gardens or local attractions.
‘It wasn’t until I read in a news article in 2020 that at least one other girl had experienced that side of the Buddhist monk prior to my ordeal in 1986 that I finally felt that I was no longer so completely isolated.
‘I had never felt able to report the incident officially for fear of being dismissed as a troublemaker or attention-seeker.
‘I am so immensely grateful to that anonymous person who was brave enough to speak out about her own ordeal with Maitreya.
‘It is because of her that my voice was unlocked. She courageously paved a very difficult road for Maitreya’s other victims.
‘I’d like to end this statement by thanking her – whoever and wherever she is – for her immense act of bravery in coming forward and speaking out.’
Takeuchi’s barrister Kate Chidgey said, in mitigation, that Takeuchi had pleaded guilty early in the proceedings and was entitled to a shorter sentence as a result.
Miss Chidgey said that his health had deteriorated since he was jailed two years ago, adding: ‘He has had issues with loss of hearing. He requires a cataract operation.
‘He has had arrhythmia of the heart and erectile dysfunction.’
Upon sentencing Judge Gold Takeuchi that he took advantage of two young girls, adding that it was ‘the most appalling abuse of trust’
Upon sentencing, Judge Gold said: ‘You were holding yourself out as a spiritual leader, gaining the trust of others and being invited into their homes as a result.’
But Takeuchi took advantage of two young girls, the judge said, adding: ‘That was the most appalling abuse of trust.
‘Those families looked to you for spiritual guidance, and you repaid them by carrying out the horrific abuse of young girls.’
When you were last before the court, the judge said, reporting of that case prompted others to come forward and report what had happened to them.
He said: ‘Those events have had a profound effect on their lives. It is perfectly apparent to me that there has been psychological harm.’
Takeuchi was jailed for 14 months each for the two offences committed in Brighton, with the sentence to be served concurrently.
He was jailed for 10 months for the later offence, to be served consecutively, making 24 months in total.
Takeuchi remains the subject of a sexual harm prevention order and a registered sex offender who is barred from working with children and vulnerable adults.
Takeuchi remains the subject of a sexual harm prevention order and a registered sex offender who is barred from working with children and vulnerable adults. His garden (nella foto) is still used as a tourist attraction
After Takeuchi was jailed again, Detective Constable Stewart Cameron, from the Sussex Police Safeguarding Investigation Unit, in Brighton, who led the latest investigation, said: ‘Takeuchi travelled around the country teaching meditation.
‘He also owned a set of Japanese gardens in Nottinghamshire which regularly featured on television programmes and was visited by thousands of people each year.
‘But he used these to hide the sexual abuse he carried out on young girls. He ingratiated himself with their families in order to gain their trust to carry out the crimes.
‘Takeuchi had a devastating impact on the lives of his young victims. After his first conviction, they showed courage to come forward and report the abuse that happened to them.
‘This investigation demonstrates that we will always follow up reports made by victims, regardless of how long ago the events are said to have occurred, to support them and to seek justice for them wherever possible.’
The identities of the victims are protected by law.