"He used his authority to make them do things they did not wish to do."
Mohanial Rajani, aged 76, of Thurmaston, Leicester, was jailed for three-and-a-half years on Friday, September 14, 2018, at Leicester Crown Court for sexual assault on two young women.
He pleaded guilty to four counts of sexual assault, representing a course of conduct.
Rajani, a former Hindu community leader admitted inappropriately touching the women on at least 10 separate occasions each.
He sexually assaulted one victim in 2008 and the other woman, between 2012 and 2013.
The women were devotees of a Hindu sect where Rajani was a prominent member and leader of the Leicester congregation.
The assaults happened during religious massage sessions, at a place of worship in Leicester and at his home.
It was heard that Rajani told his victims that he was a ‘god’ and they should surrender their minds and bodies to him.
Esther Harrison, prosecuting, said:
“He claimed to be a guru and used that position to exploit his victims in what was a gross abuse of trust.”
“He did not claim to be a guru publicly, not even to his own family.”
The victims were submerged in the culture of the sect from a young age and grew up believing it was not their place to question it.
Miss Harrison added: “He used his authority to make them do things they did not wish to do.”
“He bullied them claiming that if they did not do so they would suffer consequences.”
The victims eventually told their parents that they were scared of him.
Rajani told them that he would put fear in their next life as well as in this life.
After one incident in 2012, one of the victims needed to stop him, which led to him being secretly filmed during a confrontation with victims in 2013.
The victims did not initially complain to the police, however, the community became aware of some incidents.
This led to Rajani resigning his position as congregation leader.
It was not until 2015 when police became involved after one of the victims began receiving counselling.
Both women spoke about the ordeal committed by Rajani.
Her ordeal caused behavioural problems and difficulties within her family.
The second victim described being “damaged scarred and ashamed” by the abuse.
When Rajani was interviewed by police regarding the allegations, he denied the claims against him and said that he was a spiritual adviser and not a guru.
At the trial, defence barrister Eleanor Laws QC stated that Rajani did many good deeds for over 40 years.
She did accept that the two counts of sexual assault have had a “devastating” effect upon the victims.
She said: “For five years he’s been living with the consequences of what he’s done, essentially he’s fallen from grace.”
The court heard that Rajani moved from Leicester to London to live near his two sons.
Rajani’s son Hitesh told Judge Robert Brown that his father’s actions have left him ostracised from the community.
Hitesh said: “He cannot walk around Leicester, his name is dust.
“He’s upset about the impact it’s had upon all of us, he carries a huge weight because he feels he contributed to my mother’s mental health before she died and it will stay with him for the rest of his life.”
Jailing Rajani for his sexual assaults, Judge Robert Brown told him:
“They attended for prayers.
“It was a gross breach of trust.
“They became followers of you when you were their guru.
“You had the trust, loyalty and devotion of those girls and you took advantage of them for your own sexual pleasure.
“Both have suffered psychologically, they’ve been damaged.”
The judge also accounted for his deeds in the community and that he was “deeply remorseful”.
The police statement commented on the case outside the court, saying:
“The defendant was well-known and of high standing in the community.”
“He abused his position of trust and sexually abused both victims.
“Both victims have been brave in coming forward and speaking out about these offences.
“It’s not been easy for them.
“We hope this case encourages other victims to come forward to report crimes against them.
“The victims have been traumatised for a number of years. Hopefully, this will put some closure on what happened to them.
“They are still receiving counselling and some psychological help.”
This case highlights another hidden and vile aspect of sexual abuse within British Asian communities. Sexual abuse in British Asain communities is a major problem and needs increased awareness
If you know of anyone who is being subjected to any kind of abuse of this nature, you must contact the police or report it on the Child Exploitation and Online Protection website.