BEIJING : China’s top religious authority launched an investigation Thursday after two former monks alleged that a prominent Buddhist abbot and Communist Party member coerced several nuns into having sex with him, one of the country’s most high-profile #MeToo moments.

The allegations against abbot Xuecheng and the Beijing Longquan Monastery burst into the public eye when a 95-page document written by the former monks, who also claimed that the temple is in financial trouble, emerged online earlier this week. He is accused of sending illicit text messages to at least six women, tempting or threatening them to have ‘illegal relations’ with him.

Four gave in to Xuecheng’s demands, the report said, adding that he tried to assert “mind control” by claiming the sex was a part of their Buddhist studies.

“We have received the material involved in the report and have started work on investigating and verifying the claims,” the State Administration for Religious Affairs said in a statement, adding that it takes the allegations “very seriously”.

The monastery had on Wednesday denounced the dossier, which it says falsified evidence, calling it an attempt to tarnish Xuecheng and the monastery’s reputation.

“The falsified evidence is based on a deliberate attempt to frame Master Xuecheng, and can be considered a crime,” it said in a statement posted on Xuecheng’s account on the Twitter-like Weibo platform.