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Melbourne yoga teacher jailed for sexually assaulting teen during class


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Chandra Bhoga is a 47-year-old yoga teacher in Melbourne who pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual assault in 2018. Photo / AP

WARNING: Contains content that may be distressing for some people.

A yoga teacher has been jailed for sexually assaulting a 15-year-old girl during class also attended by her mother.

Chandra Bhoga, 47, was sentenced to four years in jail with 19 months non-parole in the County Court of Victoria on Friday.

The assaults took place during an early morning yoga class at his Tarneit home while pretending to help the teen with her breathing.

He pleaded guilty to two rolled-up counts of sexual assault in 2018.

The teen told him she was struggling to breathe as she had a cold, and Bhoga said he would help.

He then put his hands under her bra and inside her underwear and sexually assaulted her.

He also pulled her hand towards his genitals but she resisted.

The teen went to school that day and cried as she told two friends what had happened.

Her mother told the court that her daughter had lost “sleep and serenity”, trust and confidence, and had trouble building relationships since Bhoga’s assault.

Bhoga is married to a doctor and has two children, including a 9-year-old son with autism.

Chandra Bhoga is a 47-year-old yoga teacher in Melbourne who pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual assault in 2018. Photo / AP
Chandra Bhoga is a 47-year-old yoga teacher in Melbourne who pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual assault in 2018. Photo / AP

He was born in India and moved to Australia in 2005 at the age of 32.

He has a Bachelor of Science and an MBA in systems and marketing and worked in his own IT and systems intelligence business, teaching yoga on the side, before being jailed.

Judge Frank Gucciardo said Bhoga had abused his position as a yoga teacher and was motivated by “self-gratification”.

The victim's mother told the court her daughter had lost "sleep and serenity", trust and confidence. Photo / AP
The victim’s mother told the court her daughter had lost “sleep and serenity”, trust and confidence. Photo / AP

“This offence … was committed in a brazen manner, in the presence of the child’s mother, under the pretence of a health practice, in a manner which was facilitated by the trust reposed in you by both as a teacher and practitioner which you breached,” he said.

Bhoga mentored disadvantaged students through charity the Smith Family between 2008 and 2020.

SEXUAL HARM – DO YOU NEED HELP?
If it’s an emergency and you feel that you or someone else is at risk, call 111.
If you’ve ever experienced sexual assault or abuse and need to talk to someone contact the Safe to Talk confidential crisis helpline on:
• Text 4334 and they will respond
• Email support@safetotalk.nz
• Visit https://safetotalk.nz/contact-us/ for an online chat
Alternatively contact your local police station.
If you have been abused, remember it’s not your fault.



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