Bellevue temple leader charged with molesting 12-year-old girl

The leader of a Bellevue Vedic temple has been arrested on charges that he continually molested a 12-year-old girl, using his position within the temple to gain her trust.

Vinay Keshavan Bharadwaj, 33, was charged this month with three counts of child molestation for allegedly carrying on a sexual relationship with a girl who frequented the temple for meetings with a spiritual group. He was arrested Tuesday in Los Angeles County.

The victim came forward to talk to Redmond police in July 2010, after allegedly carrying on a relationship with Bharadwaj for nearly a year.

According to court documents, she said she met Bharadwaj at the temple. They were friendly, but their relationship changed in late 2008, when he allegedly began calling the young girl every night.

That same month, the relationship escalated, and Bharadwaj allegedly began hugging the victim and licking her shoulder. Bharadwaj continued to visit the girl at her Issaquah home when her parents were away and occasionally kissed her.

At the end of the month, Bharadwaj was summoned to a hospital to perform a healing ceremony for the victim's grandmother. Following the ceremony, the girl's parents asked Bharadwaj to take her back to the temple. Before going to the temple, Bharadwaj allegedly took the girl back to his apartment in Renton and kissed her and fondled her on his bed.

In Decemeber 2008, Bharadwaj began a regular pattern of picking the girl up in his truck and parking several blocks away from her home. He and the girl kissed, and he touched her breasts.

Several times in the following months, the girl would tell her parents she was doing something, but would then meet up with Bharadwaj. Though they kissed deeply with regular frequency, court documents do not say the two engaged in sexual intercourse.

Their relationship continued through April 2009, until Bharadwaj left for India to do work for the temple until August.

The girl and Bharadwaj continued to correspond, but he began speaking ill of her family, and the victim ignored Bharadwaj's communication. In July 2010, the girl, now 13, reached out to Redmond police.

Redmond Det. Patty Neorr obtained a search warrant for Bharadwaj's cell phone records, which confirmed the number of late night calls placed to the girl.

The state recommended $100,000 bail because they considered him a flight risk, given his consistent travel between the U.S. and India.

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