A county court of Victoria in Melbourne has sentenced an Indian-origin yoga teacher for four years after he was convicted of sexual assault.
A Melbourne-based Yoga teacher and father of two children has been handed a 4-year jail term for touching a 15-year-old girl at his home during a yoga class.
The 47-year-old yoga teacher had pleaded not guilty to the charges in January this year and had later changed the plea.
Judge Gucciardo said, “This offence is particular egregious as it was committed in a brazen matter in the presence of the child’s mother under the pretence of a health practice in the manner which was facilitated by the trust reposed in you by both as a teacher and practitioner, which you breached, and this aggravates your offending.”
The incident occurred in 2018 when the victim and her mother attended a yoga class at the teacher’s home.
“The reaction and long-term effect of your offending should not be underestimated because your abuse was of a single incident of repeated abuse of relative short duration. The violation of a child’s physical integrity by an adult is not just shameful and abhorrent to the community and offensive to its values but leaves long lasting damage and trauma which persists, and which blights lives for years and touches every aspect from health to education to relationships and loss of trust,” the judge noted.
While sentencing, the court took into account the fact that the accused accepted responsibility.
“By doing so, you have facilitated the course of justice. It is of itself some evidence of remorse. Remorse is difficult to evaluate, particularly as it specifically refers to an insight or understanding on the impact of the victim. I am unable to make such an assessment on the material before me, except that no doubt you now regret your conduct,” said Judge Gucciardo.
The Yoga teacher arrived in Australia in 2005 with his wife, who is a doctor. According to the court’s documents, he has been employed in the IT and business intelligence sectors and “decided to run yoga classes which followed upon your longstanding personal practice,” according to the court’s documents.
The judge also took his personal circumstances into account, including his son’s condition.
“A significant matter which I take into account is the added burden of imprisonment in circumstances in which your nine-year-old son has been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. He has been so diagnosed since 2017, and both your absence and the impact on your relationship are matters which add to onus of reclusion upon you,” said the judge, adding, “On Charge 1, you are convicted and sentenced to four years’ imprisonment. On Charge 2, you are convicted and sentenced to four years’ imprisonment. The periods will be wholly concurrent. I fix a non-parole period of 19 months before you are eligible for parole.”