A POLICE officer has said a Buddhist monk who sexually abused a young girl has "robbed the victim of her childhood".

Detective Constable Stewart Cameron of the Brighton Safeguarding Investigations Unit has spoken out after Buddha Maitreya admitted abusing the girl - aged between three and eight years old - when he visited her family home in Brighton.

Maitreya, whose real name is Koji Takeuchi, told the victim they were “boyfriend and girlfriend” and told her to keep it a secret.

The 80-year-old meditation guru, who has followers around the world, has been given two consecutive three-year sentences for sexual assaults on the girl between 1975 and 1981.

READ MORE: Buddha Maitreya jailed for sexual abuse of girl in Brighton

He has also been given an additional one-year extended licence for each of them, plus two years extended custody.

DC Cameron said: "Takeuchi used his trusted position as a monk to ingratiate himself with this family and under the guise of hosting meditation sessions there he swiftly groomed this very young and vulnerable girl and systematically abused her for his own sexual gratification for a long time.

The Argus:

Koji Takeuchi

"He made her believe that they were girlfriend and boyfriend and that this was their secret until Takeuchi abruptly broke off the relationship.

"This terrible experience robbed the victim of her childhood and has had a lasting impact on her life.

"Eventually in 2018, she summoned up the resolve and strength to come forward and fully disclose to us what had happened to her all those years ago.

"This investigation is another example of the way we will always follow up such reports, regardless of how long ago the events are said to have occurred, to support the victim and seek justice for them wherever possible."

The victim, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, said her life has been ruined because of the sexual abuse.

At Hove Crown Court Judge Jeremy Gold QC said Maitreya had abused the trust of the family and the girl as he jailed the sex offender for eight years.

In 2015, Takeuchi featured on Alan Titchmarsh’s television series Britain’s Best Back Gardens.

The garden had 10,000 visitors a year going to the garden in Nottinghamshire.

But the Zen master was disguising the grubby secret of sexually abusing the girl.

Gabby Henty, prosecuting, said: “When she was aged three, her parents created a relationship with the defendant. He used to come to their house for mediation sessions.

“He was a monk and this was a significant event. Community posters were put up to ask people to come and take part.”

Takeuchi, 80, started abusing the girl from the first occasion he was alone with her.

“He would say to her I’m your boyfriend and you’re my girlfriend, this is a secret between us,” Mrs Henty said.

“She thought he was rough, forceful, firm and insistent.”

The girl told her mother who confronted the monk, who said there was nothing abusive.

In a harrowing impact statement, his victim said her life had been ruined by the abuse.

She said: “I had been taken advantage of and groomed by this man at my most vulnerable.

“I reached out to adults but there had never been any action. He was a trusted adult, respected and powerful. I have always thought I wasn’t believed.

“What Buddha Maitreya has done has destroyed me. I was a little girl at home. I should have been safe with my parents.

“He took advantage of that and of me. I could have had a whole different life if someone had looked out for me, if someone had saved me, if Buddha Maitreya had never abused me.

“He took away my childhood and I will never get that back.”