Convicted ashram leader missing

March 8, 2011 at 2:18 PM
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AUSTIN, Texas, March 8 (UPI) -- The leader of a Texas ashram convicted of molesting girls was ordered arrested by a judge when he failed to show up for sentencing.

District Judge Charles Ramsay revoked Prakashanand Saraswati's $1 million bond and issued an arrest warrant Monday, the San Antonio Express-News reported.

"He had appeared for every court hearing," a surprised District Attorney Sherri Tibbe said after Monday's hearing, "so that didn't appear to be an issue."

However, there had been previous concerns he was a flight risk, she said.

Saraswati was convicted last week on 20 counts of molesting young girls in his ashram in Austin, Texas.

After last week's verdict, Saraswati was freed after posting bond.

The attorney for Saraswati said he had no knowledge of his whereabouts.

"We haven't located our client," Jeff Kearney told Ramsay. "We don't know the reason for his absence. We don't know if he's lying in a ditch somewhere."

Kearney said he believed his client's health was the likely reason behind Saraswati's absence.

"He's very ill," Kearney said. "This is an 82-year-old man with severe health issues."

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