Wednesday, June 7, 2006 at 11:55 EDT
NAGASAKI — A 65-year-old Buddhist priest in Sasebo, Nagasaki Prefecture, was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of touching the bodies of three women on the pretext of carrying out a purification ceremony, police said. The suspect, Eryu Sato, has denied part of the allegations against him, saying he touched the women, but not with the intent of sexually molesting them, investigators said.
According to police, Sato visited a house in the city on the afternoon of May 28 to conduct a Buddhist ceremony. While he was there, he touched the bodies of three women, aged 18, 49 and 76, by saying he would conduct a purification rite.