Clergyman, church ordered to pay damages to 7 female followers

Kyoto, Japan - The Kyoto District Court ordered an imprisoned Christian clergyman and his church Friday to pay a total of about 58 million yen in damages to five girls and two women who filed a civil suit against him, saying they were sexually abused repeatedly by him between 2000 and 2004.

Presiding Judge Kenichi Ido issued the order on Tamotsu Kin, 63, and the Central Church of the Holy God in Yawata, Kyoto Prefecture, acting on the 230 million yen damages suit filed by the seven.

Kin, the founder and former chief priest of the church, is currently serving a 20-year prison sentence handed down in February after being found guilty of rape for sexually abusing the seven.

Judge Ido, calling Kin's acts "most heinous," said in the decision that they might adversely affect the plaintiffs' future mental life and their social adaptation.

The judge also found the church responsible, saying it deviated from church doctrine.

Kin was arrested in April last year and given the prison sentence in February this year. He did not appeal the sentence.