Religion News in Brief

Associated Press/June 28, 2001

Wheeling, W.Va. -- A former Hare Krishna devotee has admitted to sexually abusing two girls and a woman at the New Vrindaban Hare Krishna community in the late 1980s.

James A. Prins, 50, of Moundsville, pleaded guilty on June 18 to three counts of first-degree sexual abuse in Marshall County Circuit Court. He was sentenced to serve eight months in prison and three years of probation. He must pay his victims' medical costs and register as a sex offender.

Prins abused a 9-year-old girl, an 11-year-old girl and a 39-year-old woman. He was arrested after an internal investigation by the National Child Protection Office of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness.

Victims who came forward were referred first to the Children of Krishna Inc., created in 1996 to support survivors of sexual abuse within the Krishna movement nationwide, and then sent to state police.

The charges against Prins are not the only ones at the New Vrindaban community. In 1998, Biswanath Sarkar failed to appear in Marshall County Magistrate Court on a charge of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl at the New Vrindaban Palace of Gold. He has not been found.

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