GBC Ad Hoc Panel Report SUMMARY
April 4, 2022
LOKANATH’S CHILD MOLESTATION CASE PANEL REPORT
In July 2021, the ISKCON Governing Body Commission (GBC) appointed an Ad Hoc Panel to look at Lokanath’s child molestation case – cutting out their ISKCON Child Protection Office. The GBC said the panel would take 60 days. Over 7 months later, the panel submitted their report to the GBC.
Out of the 5 members the GBC Executive Committee appointed, 2 members were loyal Lokanath supporters: Bhaktarupa and Mahaman. Before the GBC EC appointed them, they were known to be part of the ISKCON India leadership who had rejected the GBC’s decision to give Lokanath’s child molestation case to the ISKCON Child Protection Office. For the GBC EC to appoint two ardent supporters of Lokanath was a glaring conflict of interest and went squarely against ISKCON Child Protection Office procedures.
The 2018 ISKCON Child Protection Office Guidelines state:
“Each Review Panel Member shall be independent and impartial.”
Independent and impartial.
The GBC EC knew that Bhaktarupa and Mahaman intended to vote to close the case. The panel was stacked from the beginning.
The panel voted 3-2 to close Lokanath’s child molestation case, with no further action.
However, all 5 panel members did agree on the following:
“Throughout the various sections of the Panel report, both the Majority opinion and the ‘Dissenting views’ have been largely in agreement regarding the following pertinent points:
- Some type of child sexual abuse was perpetrated by Lokanath Swami.
- CPO case precedents have consistently restricted abusers from positions of leadership for offenses no more severe than alleged of Lokanath Swami.
- Previous decisions have ignored that he committed a criminal felony of child sexual assault in the jurisdiction where it happened.”From the “minority” (2 members): “And the dissent finds these additional points to be clearly established as well:
- The CPO should have handled this case from 1998 onward. In fact, it was deliberately withheld.
- The case was decided on administrative standards (although ethical and spiritual standards are certainly considered by the GBC) rather than a rights-based approach.
- There were definite conflicts of interest in that most of the GBC knew Lokanath Swami well and had worked with him on the GBC.
- The sentence was very light, and inconsistent with other CPO cases which lead to restrictions on leadership.
This all leads to a conclusion of the Dissent that the Lokanath Case was deliberately handled differently than every other case of abuse in ISKCON; it gives the perception of preferential treatment, and used a very light standard that was more administrative in nature, rather than a judicial proceeding.”
The following are recommendations from an attorney who was hired for advice on Lokanath’s child molestation case:
“Known perpetrators should rarely be ‘reinstated’ and should never be placed in any position where they have access to children.”
If the ISKCON Governing Body Commission heeds their counsel’s advice, they will remove Lokanath as an ISKCON leader – either by doing it themselves or by authorizing the ISKCON Child Protection Office to make a formal decision against him.
As this is a public matter involving a prominent figure in ISKCON, this report is being shared with the wider ISKCON body.
The panel’s full report was 284 pages, and comprised two parts.
Report (71 pages):
Appendices (213 pages):
Panel Report Appendices 03 01 22.pdf (13443.0KB)
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