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Emails Showing GBC Members Blocked CPO Investigation of Lokanath in 1998

 

[From Aug. 12, 1998]

Dear Ravindra prabhu:

Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupad.

What a mess. What do you suggest about this? What does the family want to

do? Of course we may have institutional obligations beyond that.

Your servant, Badrinarayan dasa

 

——— Forwarded Message ———-

TO:     Ravindra-Svarupa-net,

(unknown), [103471,2315]

DATE:   8/11/98 2:09 AM

RE:     To pursue a case or not

Dear Ravindra Svarupa Prabhu and Badrinarayana Prabhu,

Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Devotees are beginning to approach me, in the capacity of my service for the Child Protection Office, about the situation of Lokanatha Maharaja. I understand why in the past there have been special efforts to not publicize the case (e.g. the psych. report that there is minimal chance of recurrence, the preaching mission, etc.). But every other case that has come to the attention of this Office has been put on a list of cases to resolve. As I see it, the case is exacerbated by ISKCON continuing to place Lokanatha Maharaja in a high profile position. I’m afraid that this will simply cause devotees who know, or who have heard rumours, about the situation, to become increasingly irritated. For instance, I’ve just received a message from a devotee who recently read the Prabhupadanuga Newsletter, which apparently had an article by Lokanatha Maharaja. The devotee knew something about his transgression of a few years back, and this article really aggravated her. I’m getting similar feedback from various sectors. I think Lokanatha Maharaja is also the ISKCON Minister for Social Development.

Devotees are asking, at least implicitly, why has ISKCON chosen as Minister of Social Development someone in the renounced order who made sexual advances to an 11 year old

girl? And further, why is this case not open to the Child Protection Office?

What do you suggest?

Your servant, Dhira Govinda dasa

 

[Aug. 18, 1998]

[Text 1609494 from COM]

Dear Dhira Govinda Prabhu:

Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupad.

Regarding Lokanath Maharaj, I am going to offer a very human response.

The following is not an official GBC policy pronouncement but my gut feeling, for what it is worth.

We on the GBC executive committee are now dealing with the fried, angry, bewildered, and or disheartened disciples of Harikesa Maharaj. The recent events have been devastating on them and the temples and areas where they are concentrated. I cannot imagine just casually listing Lokanath Maharaj as a sexual abuser…it would be like a bolt of lightening out of the sky on the hearts of so many innocent people. I think it is too much for them and too much for ISKCON especially when there is no clear or present danger.

Lokanath Maharaj would be finished as a preacher and probably would retreat to a cave in the Himalayas if not worse. What he did, was caress a little girl, on top of her clothes, one time, one stroke. I am not an apologist for this but put in perspective, along with his whole psychological test results…the response seems way, way over the degree of the crime.

His disicples have all been informed and anyone he initiates is suppose to also be informed. We even wrote out an exact script so we are sure that they get a clear and standard picture.

Seems that there should be a file and a record of the events of the case. That you can get from Ravindra. I just cannot see listing his name along with all the other offenders. To me it is unfair, unnecessary, and smacks of vigilantee-ism.

But again, this is my personal, gut reaction.

Your servant, Badrinarayan dasa

 

[Text 1610454 from COM]

Dear Dhira Govinda Prabhu,

Please accept my humble obeisances.  All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

>

> My information on the case of Lokanatha Maharaja, as expressed in an email

> from me a few days ago, in response to your inquiry on the matter, comes

> directly from Ravindra Svarupa Prabhu, who has been closely involved with

> the case since the beginning, as the alleged incident happened in his

> zone. Hare Krsna I find this answer a bit evasive.  If this is all the info that we have then I think someone should immediately be assigned as an investigator and interview the girl, as well as the parents.  It sounds like Maharaja has already been interviewed.  A case like this should be taken care of quickely and quietly, at least until we KNOW that he is quilty. (IMHO)otherwise rumors will abound and will get worse and worse.  this will only further damage the weak faith of many in our movement.

By the way, in regards to my other two cases:  I have received 0 cooperation from LA and Brajabihari prabhu.  Braja has assured me that he will send me the info but up to date I haven’t been able to do anything. I think I need Bhadri Narayana’s help but he is preoccupied with other things.  I’ll keep trying.

Your servant,

Laxmimoni dasi

 

[Text 1866978 from COM]

Dear Pancaratna prabhu:

PAMO AGTSP

Your understanding of what Lokanatha Maharaja did is inaccurate and I fear will be disasterous and viewed as a cover up if presented as such.

He did not touch her thigh. He had his hand on her genital area, not once. but twice. He caressed her thigh during bhajanas. He playfully smacked her on her fanny. He would move close to her when her mother was in the kitchen and pull away when her mother came in. The girl fully felt sexually betrayed and violated. To portray it is anything less than this would be a disservice to her and her family. My concern is that your presentation of things might incite them more since they were outraged and appaled by Maharaja’s behavior.

What the evaluation showed was that Maharaja is infantile in his sexual. development. He did what he did and the girl’s reaction to it was normal and justified. The trick here is to understand a very sophisticated clinical concept, ie, that although he did commit these deeds , he did them without paraphiliac tendencies due to his arrested sexual development.

I don’t envy you this task. I was the one who evaluated the girl and her family in her home. I saw first hand how she felt sexually violated and how her family felt betrayed. I had to struggle to digest and understand the results of the evaluation, what to speak of a layman.

Also, please note that it was not only Maharaja’s sexual development that was arrested. His understanding and empathy for the girl and her family was sorely lacking. My guru and I had to ghost write his apology letter to her since he didn’t quite get how his actions shook them to their cores.

Good luck!

Your servant,

Yasoda

 

[Nov. 22, 1998]

Dandavad. Prabhupada kijaya!

> Your understanding of what Lokanatha Maharaja did is inaccurate and I fear

> will be disasterous and viewed as a cover up if presented as such.

My understanding is based on what Maharaj told me. He did say that his hand moved up her thigh, but he never told me that he touched her genital area. I recently asked him if there were any other incidents.

He said no. but he clarified that during the whole time he was there he was acting like an uncle to the girl and could have “spanked” her. He says he doesn’t remember these details.

> He did not touch her thigh. He had his hand on her genital area, not once.

> but twice. He caressed her thigh during bhajanas. He playfully smacked her

> on her fanny. He would move close to her when her mother was in the

> kitchen and pull away when her mother came in. The girl fully felt

> sexually betrayed and violated. To portray it is anything less than this

> would be a disservice to her and her family. My concern is that your

> presentation of things might incite them more since they were outraged and

> appaled by Maharaja’s behavior.

I am dropping any attempt at describing the event.

 

> What the evaluation showed was that Maharaja is infantile in his sexual.

> development. He did what he did and the girl’s reaction to it was normal

> and justified. The trick here is to understand a very sophisticated

> clinical concept, ie, that although he did commit these deeds , he did

> them without paraphiliac tendencies due to his arrested sexual

> development.

The big question here is:

Did he or did he not commit an act of “child abuse” or “child molestation”?

How would the courts handle this in the US?

> I don’t envy you this task. I was the one who evaluated the girl and her

> family in her home. I saw first hand how she felt sexually violated and

> how her family felt betrayed. I had to struggle to digest and understand

> the results of the evaluation, what to speak of a layman.

You can see why it is hard for many India leaders to understand how this has been handled.

> Also, please note that it was not only Maharaja’s sexual development that

> was arrested. His understanding and empathy for the girl and her family

> was sorely lacking. My guru and I had to ghost write his apology letter to

> her since he didn’t quite get how his actions shook them to their cores.

This is still the case. I have been pressuring him to find out how the girl is doing and whether she needs counseling and if he could pay for it. He keeps telling me she’s “doing fine” to his knowledge or that if she is having trouble it is because of the influence of her brother-in-law.

Your servant,

Pancaratna das

 

[Dec. 1, 1998]

Dear Anuttama prabhu:

PAMO AGTSP

I don’t know if there was an official version since it was handled by by Guru Maharaja and Badrinarayan and whoever else was on the committee with them. I dealt with Badrinarayan and my spiritual master. You will have to ask them since I wasn’t privy to the inner workings of that committee.

I know what I know because I drove to NJ and interviewed the girl, her mom and her sister at their home. I did the victim report that was submitted to the team of forensic evaluators. I also set up the evaluation and was privy to the results. My Guru has the report itself.

YS,Yasoda

 

[Dec. 4, 1998]

[Text 1906100 from COM]

Best to ask Ravindra. I could not find and offical file.

Here is the official script which is suppose to be read to prospective initiates.

Your servant, Badrinarayan dasa

—————————————————

Here is the script:

“In 1990 while staying at the house of a family for a few days Swami x

touched a young adolesent girl in an inappropriate way by putting his hand

on her lap. In 1993 when the GBC chairman became aware of the incident he

appointed a 7 man committee to deal with the issue.

The committee conducted

a thorough investigation which included bringing in a team of professional

experts. The experts made an in depth examination of Swami x after which

they concluded that this unfortunate incident had occurred because of the

Swami x’s complete lack of prior experience in the matter of dealing with

women. Having learned his lesson (the need to follow the proper social

conduct for a sannyasi) they were confident that this incident would not

reoccur. They also stated that he had the proper nature of a spiritual

leader and should be allowed to continue in this role within our society.

The GBC committee concluded that this deviation from the acceptable

conduct had be accidental and because Swami x was properly situated

according to guru, sastra, and sadhu he was qualified to continue the

service of an initiating spiritual master.”

 

——— Forwarded Message ———-

TO:     “COM: Taskforce (CP)”,

DATE:   11/30/98 3:55 PM

RE:     Re:  Case files to office

DG should get the Lokanatha Swami file asap.

And, I need some official information to know how to respond about this too.

Pancaratna prabhu recently withdrew his attempt to explain the situation because he said he was misinformed. I am uninformed and confused, and that’s not good. Is there an “official version?”

YS Anuttama

 

Dear Ravindra Svarupa Prabhu,

Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Other than the statement to be presented to disciples included in the letter forwarded herein, is there any other official documentation from the GBC or any other ISKCON-related body concerning the case of Lokanatha Maharaja? If there is, please send it to me, or let me know how I can obtain it. We want to have all relevant files in the Child Protection Office. Thanks. Hare Krsna.

Your servant,

Dhira Govinda dasa

 

Subj:    Lokanatha

Date:   Monday, January 1, 2001 7:42:21 PM

From:   Anuttama.ACBSP@pamho.net (Anuttama (das) ACBSP

(IC N.America))

To:     Ravindra.Svarupa.ACBSP@pamho.net (Ravindra Svarupa

(das) ACBSP (Philad. – USA)),

Dhira.Govinda.DG@pamho.net (Dhira Govinda (das) DG (Alachua, FL – USA))

Dear Ravindra,

We discussed Lokanatha’s case briefly the other day on the phone. As I understand it from a conversation I had later with, this is the main problem:

He says that no final decision was ever made, or at least ever publicized or sent to him officially. That puts him/us in the very difficult and compromised position of not being able to definately say WHAT the ISKCON’s/GBC decision was.

He says that the process that was followed was fine–the professional review, Yasoda investigating, etc. He doesn’t want to “open up” the case again, just to have a definitive statement what was done, and to assure that it is being followed and enforced.

Apparently, BKG told him a LONG time ago that a written decision was coming and that (I think) you were doing it. Obviously you are very busy but someone needs to complete this case, or it looks like nothing was done and the GBC is protecting one of its own. People DO know of that accusations and impropriety. What they do NOT know is clearly what was done.

If there isn’t time to write something, then perhaps the elements of it SHOULD be handed to the CPO and they can put it together as a official report/statement what was done prior to the CPO’s existance.

There have been many exchanges with Dhira on this, something should be completed.

Your servant,  Anuttama dasa

 

Camp:  Sri Sri Radha Rasabihari Mandir, Juhu, Mumbai, India

Dear Pancaratna Prabhu and Dhira Govinda prabhu,

Please accept my humble obeisances.  All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

> Yasoda mataji wrote:

>

>

> “Lokanatha Maharaja should write Dhira Govinda and give him and in turn,

> the COCP, permission to have access to the evaluation and all attendant

> materials and to be able to use their discretion to share it with others

> as need be.”

>

> COCP means ISKCON Central Office for Child Protection.

>

> Your servant,

> Pancaratna das

I have no objection to Dhira Govinda having access to the CAP report and subsequent GBC Subcommittee report.

I am not aware of any other materials.  I am not sure what you mean by “all attendant materials”?

You mention I should write to Dhira Govinda to give him permission.  Is a signature required?  Snail mail or fax could be sent with signature if neccessary.  Or can I just send him an email?

Do I need to write anything additional besides Yasoda’s above written statement?

Dhira Govinda could send a suggested draft to me.

> to be able to use their discretion to share it with others

> as need be.”

Who could these “others” possibly be?

I hope you don’t mind my query.

Always hoping to remain,

your servant,

Lokanath Swami

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