November 2020

Buddhist monk sentenced for sex offences in Brighton

A Buddhist meditation master whose garden was visited by 10,000 every year was today jailed for six years after admitting to sexually abusing a three-year-old girl at her home more than four decades ago. 

Koji Takeuchi, 80, who featured in an episode of Alan Titchmarsh’s 2015 TV series Britain’s Best Back Gardens, went over to the girl’s house for meditation sessions with her parents and told them he would look after her so they could sleep in.  

Takeuchi – who gives his name as Buddha Maitreya – told the three-year-old girl, ‘I’m your boyfriend and you’re my girlfriend’ as he subjected her to ‘rough, forceful, firm and insistent’ abuse between 1975 and 1981. 

Lewes Crown Court in Hove heard he was a regular visitor to the family home in Brighton when he was a monk. He was invited to host mediation sessions for Buddhists in the home.

In exchange for letting him stay overnight in the house, he would look after the girl the next morning to let her parents sleep in, the court heard.

Gabby Henty for the prosecution told the court: ‘When she was very little, aged 3, her parents created a relationship with the defendant.

‘He used to come to their house for mediation sessions. He was a monk and this was a significant event. Community posters were put up to ask people to come and take part.’

Takeuchi, 80, started abusing the girl from the first occasion he was alone with her.

‘He would say to her I’m your boyfriend and you’re my girlfriend, this is a secret between us,’ Mrs Henty said,

‘She thought he was rough, forceful, firm and insistent.’

The girl told her mother who confronted the monk.

‘He acknowledged that he touched her and loved her but not that it was abusive,’ Mrs Henty said.

In a harrowing impact statement, his victim said her life had been ruined by the abuse.

‘I had been taken advantage of and groomed by this man at my most vulnerable. I reached out to adults but there had never been any action.

‘He was a trusted adult, respected and powerful. I have always thought I wasn’t believed. What Buddha Maitreya has done has destroyed me.

‘I was a little girl at home. I should have been safe with my parents. He took advantage of that and of me.

‘I could have had a whole different life if someone had looked out for me, if someone had saved me, if Buddha Maitreya had never abused me. He took away my childhood and I will never get that back.’

His Honour Judge Jeremy Gold QC told the ex-monk his offences were aggravated by his position of trust, invited into the family home to perform Buddhist ceremonies.

‘You took advantage of that situation to abuse a young child and it has had an effect on her life for the years that followed.’

Takeuchi, who uses Buddha Maitreya as his professional name, was given two consecutive three year sentences with an additional one year extended licence for each.

HHJ Gold said: ‘This makes an overall sentence of six years custody and two years extended custody, expressed at eight years.’

The judge also imposed an indefinite Sexual Harm Protection Order meaning the monk will be a registered sex offender barred from working with vulnerable adults or children for life.

The religious leader ran facilities in Nottinghamshire and India.

Maitreya is originally from Handa, near Nagoya, in Japan. The meditation master previously lived as a Zen monk and describes himself as enlightened.

He claims to have followers all over the world and uses his website to raise funds for two project in India.

The former monk sees 10,000 visitors a year at his Japanese garden in Nottinghamshire which has been closed during lockdown.

The garden was featured in an episode of Alan Titchmarsh’s 2015 TV series Britain’s Best Back Gardens.

He BBC News and Sky News Covid-19 is a grave warning for the future of mankind.

Buddha Maitreya, from North Clifton, Nottinghamshire, has told his followers: ‘We have to change the way we live now on this planet.’

The former Buddhist monk has also appeared in several national newspapers.