Healer 'raped child who sought his help over stomach cramps'
An Indian 'holy man' has gone on trial at Belfast Crown Court accused of sexually assaulting and raping a 12-year-old girl who went to see him after she developed stomach cramps.
According to the schoolgirl, the healer known as Charanjit told her she had a stone in her stomach before sexually abusing her.
This happened on two occasions, while she claimed he also touched her chest during a third incident at her home.
Charanjit (46), from Twinburn Gardens in Newtownabbey, is standing trial on a total of eight charges spanning a period from September 30, 2012 to February 1, 2013. The charges include two counts of rape, sexual assault of a child and inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.
Charanjit has denied all eight charges against him, and when arrested regarding her allegations, he said he never touched her in an inappropriate way.
Opening the case against Charanjit, Crown prosecutor Kate McKay told the jury of eight women and four men that the girl, who was 12 at the time of the alleged abuse, had been suffering from stomach cramps and was brought to see Charanjit, who the prosecutor said was "regarded in the Indian community as a type of holy man or healer".
A DVD of the schoolgirl speaking to a police officer from the PSNI's child abuse unit in the aftermath of the allegations was played to the jury.
In the interview, the youngster described what she said occurred.
She said that as a man of God, Charanjit was trusted and that she believed him when he diagnosed her as having a stone in her stomach.
She said that when she went to see Charanjit, he told her to lock the door, turn off the light, lie on a bed and pull down her trousers.
The girl said that when Charanjit pulled down her pants, she knew this "was wrong".
She said at this point he assaulted her whilst chanting "stone come out, come out stone".
She then said Charanjit told her to take hold of his "down below" and rub it against her.
The girl said he then raped her.
Whilst this was taking place, she said Charanjit continued "muttering to himself" and chanting "Lord help her" and "stone come out".
She said Charanjit also felt her stomach and told her the stone had moved a bit.
The jury heard the girl claim that, afterwards, Charanjit told her not to tell her parents what had occurred, but to say he had felt her stomach. She again questioned whether this was wrong, and told the policewoman: "I trusted him. I put all my belief in him. I let him do what he was doing."
The girl said she returned to see Charanjit a couple of weeks later, when he told her that she had two options – she could undergo an operation to remove the stone or he could remove it for her.
She said Charanjit "did the same thing again... everything the same" and that on this second occasion, he told the girl to tell her family that she had passed the stone.
The youngster also claimed that after these two incidents, Charanjit called at her home to see how smart she was and how she was getting on.
She said Charanjit touched her chest and told her she was doing well at school. Again, she said Charanjit told her not to tell anyone, but she eventually told her mother.