Sikh temple rocked by allegations

by - Story: 44346

The local Sikh community is in shock after learning that one of their church members has been charged with sexual assault.

The suspect has been identified as Lukwinder Singh, 29, who is a member of the Sikh temple on Davie Road in Rutland. It should be noted that Kelowna has two Sikh temples in Rutland including one on Rutland Road. The charges deal only with the Davie Road temple.

The accused is charged with assaulting his wife and sexually assaulting a young girl, who is also a member of the Sikh community.

"The charges stem from allegations which occurred over a period of several months, in the incidents of assault (wife). And over a year, in the incidents of sexual assault," says Constable, Steve Holmes. He adds that the accused is also charged with sexual exploitation.

Singh was charged last week and has been released on bail. He's been in Canada for seven years on a work visa and has been ordered to surrender his passport.

Police say they're investigating the possibility that there may be other victims.

"That is certainly an avenue of investigation and we're making efforts to find out if that is the case."

The allegations against the accused came as a shock for the leaders of the Temple. Spokesman, Tarsen Singh, says there was no indication that something was wrong.

"We had total faith in him. There was no evidence of misbehaviour. The whole congregation was fully supporting him. He was a very good member of the community and I don't know how he was hiding this."

He says temple officials held a meeting with the accused, his wife and the young girl to discuss the allegations.

"He just denied it."

Singh says the wife of the accused showed marks on her ankles to support the allegations of abuse.

"She told us that he abused her and she showed marks on her body."

He says the young girl also supported the allegations of sexual abuse.

"We asked the girl if there was something going on. She said yes."

Singh says the accused, who resided at the temple, has been fired.

"It's a tarnish for the whole religious community."

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