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Canadian leaves monkhood after sex allegations

Former Phra Julien offers a wai for people to forgive him after he left the monkhood on Saturday. (Photo from @phrajuliensfoundation Facebook account)

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A Canadian monk popular among locals in Mae Hong Son for helping the poor has resigned from the monkhood following accusations of having sexual relationships with at least one woman.

Phra Julien, 42, posted a Facebook message on Sunday saying he had decided to leave the monkhood to seek forgiveness after violating the Dhamma principles by having sexual relations with women.

The former monk gave no details on the case. He posted a picture of himself wearing a white shirt after returning to layman's status as Julien Desilets alongside a monk believed to be Phra Khru Sujitpanyarat, who disrobed him. Other reports said he left the monkhood in a ceremony at Wat Ban Pae in Chomthong district in Chiang Mai province on Saturday.

His decision came one day after he posted photos showing the donation of fruit trees to villagers, probably in Sop Moei district of Mae Hong Son. Mr Desilets lived at Hua Putha Monastery in Sop Moei when he was a monk.

The Canadian was well known for his dedication to helping people in the district and other areas. The sexual allegations that were raised recently came as a shock for his disciples.

Veterinarian Somchai Sirithepsongklod on Friday claimed on his Facebook page that Phra Julien had behaved improperly by having sex with a female foreigner in Chanthaburi province and another woman on a separate occasion.

Mr  Desilets reportedly will study Dhamma at a temple in Roi Et province before returning to the monastery in Sop Moei.

"I will continue to devote myself to helping the poor in remote areas," he said.

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