ISKCON Imposes Ban on Bhakti Vidya Purna Swami for Sexual Abuse of Minor and Leadership Abuse
Report by ISKCON Communications
On October 28, 2022, the ISKCON Central Office of Child Protection (ICOCP), additionally known as the Child Protection Office (CPO), launched its official resolution concerning Bhakti Vidya Purna Swami (BVPS aka Alan Ross Wexler).
BVPS was discovered accountable for sexual abuse, (sexual) harassment, and psychological abuse of a feminine minor. The ICOCP case in opposition to BVPS is from newly reported incidents that occurred between 2005-2010.
The information of this previous little one abuse has had extreme repercussions among the many international neighborhood of ISKCON devotees.
The ISKCON international neighborhood sends our prayers for the therapeutic of the victims and their households.
This case demonstrates why ISKCON globally should proceed to be vigilant about little one safety and to make sure weak devotees in our society are protected in making a “home the place everybody can dwell” that our founder Srila Prabhupada constructed for us all.
In addition to little one abuse, incidents of religious management sexual misconduct involving BVPS have grow to be obvious however are past the purview of the ICOCP to guage. BVPS was an initiating guru, sannyasi, principal of the varsity, a Srila Prabhupada disciple, a senior chief of Mayapur, and a long time older than the victims.
A joint investigation is being undertaken by the Prevention of Leadership Misconduct Office (PLMO), the Sannyasa ministry, and the Guru Services Committee, that are at the moment reviewing BVPS’ sannyasa and guru statuses.
BVPS has had two earlier ICOCP investigations and choices concerning allegations of kid abuse.
In 2000, the CPO case was centered round allegations from the Nineteen Eighties-Nineteen Nineties timeframe when he served as principal of the Bhaktivedanta Academy Gurukula (boy’s college) and admitted to “imposing extreme bodily punishments” (CPO Report, 2000). Further, the investigation discovered that BVPS was conscious of the incidences of sexual little one abuse however selected to disregard them. Consequently, BVPS was restricted from any position immediately in reference to youngsters, barred from initiating disciples, giving courses, and many others., for a specified time. He was later banned from accepting any new disciples for all times.
A CPO investigation adopted this in 2007, which was inconclusive. In 2015, a CPO case was made in opposition to the Bhaktivedanta Academy (woman’s college), and though not mandated by the CPO, it finally led to the varsity’s shutdown. Although BVPS was not the first individual underneath investigation, the CPO found that he had promoted a “…tradition of worry surrounding the varsity and talking out…”. The workplace additional famous BVPS’ inappropriate conduct with a younger feminine at the moment that ought to have been reviewed by the Sannyasa Committee (CPO Report 2015).
This newest CPO case is the fourth in a collection of associated investigations, every performed by earlier CPO administrators and casual investigations accomplished by dad and mom (earlier than the CPO existed) courting again to 1991.
The in-depth and corroborating sufferer experiences of this abuse are confidential from public our bodies to guard the sufferer’s and their household’s identities. The ICOCP assessment panel that selected BVPS consisted of CPO-trained members of the worldwide ISKCON neighborhood. The findings of the ICOCP have been shared with related companies and the Governing Body Commission (GBC).
After reviewing the report and deliberating on its contents, the ICOCP assessment panel discovered that BVPS is accountable for little one sexual abuse, (sexual) harassment, emotional and religious abuse, and grooming of a kid. The assessment panel discovered that the proof in opposition to BVPS was compelling and the abuse he brought on was “…merciless, callous, and unremorseful [in] nature…”.
The panel confused the severity and hypocrisy of the abuse had been made even worse given BVPS’ place and revered stature in ISKCON as an initiating Guru and Vedic-lifestyle preacher. The panel added: “Whilst BVPS was sitting on the vyasasana within the temple room [in Mayapur] and instructing the kids on the colleges [Gurukulas], he would preach about Vedic rules. However, in his non-public life, he was sexually molesting a minor and interesting in gross sexual conduct with a younger lady, which he has admitted to.”
The panel set out necessities for BVPS, together with an apology to the sufferer and a charge of USD $5,000 to be given to the sufferer for counseling. The restrictions set out in opposition to BVPS are in full within the report.
Guidelines from the ICOCP state that:
“Requirements or restrictions decided by the Review Panel can’t be decreased by a area people, temple president, or native GBC. The panel’s resolution constitutes the minimal restrictions an ISKCON group or neighborhood might place on a devotee. Any particular ISKCON group might select to invoke extra stringent restrictions. However, it’s anticipated that each one ISKCON entities will rigorously think about these choices of the Review Panel earlier than imposing extra stringent limitations, because the constraints prescribed herein are deemed to be adequate concerning little one safety.”
Three-Year Restrictions on BVPS
BVPS might not reside or keep in a single day at any ISKCON temple or middle for 3 years. He additionally might not go to any ISKCON facilities or tasks for 3 years (apart from one temple of his selection, which he might go to after informing the ICOCP in writing and receiving permission from the native Temple President).
After the three years of this ban, BVPS might revisit ISKCON temples, apart from Mayapur, as that is the place the abuse occurred. However, his go to to an ISKCON Temple is conditional upon first informing the Temple President of the ICOCP report and acquiring permission from the native authorities earlier than such a go to.
Lifetime Restrictions on BVPS
- He might not reside in or go to ISKCON Mayapur ever once more. He has 30 days from the date of this resolution to depart.
- He might not keep in a single day or reside at any ISKCON middle or facility affiliated with ISKCON.
- He might not maintain any place of management or administration, even in an advisory capability.
- He might not proceed to present first, second, or sannyasa initiations, or ritvik initiations through different sannyasis, or settle for any new disciples for siksa.
- He might not give class or lead kirtana/harinama in any ISKCON temple or mission, together with on-line.
- He might not carry out brahminical providers reminiscent of cooking for, dressing the Deities, or any public worship reminiscent of providing arati, happening the altar, providing a garland to Srila Prabhupada, performing abhishek, and many others.
- He shall not have service involving youngsters in any ISKCON temple, college or mission in any capability in anyway. This contains, however is just not restricted to, coaching new lecturers, giving recommendation, or sitting on an advisory board/committee. Children are outlined as anybody underneath 18 years of age.
- He might not be current if victims or their relations are current at an ISKCON middle or operate. If the sufferer or household arrive on the identical place as BVPS, he ought to go away instantly.
This resolution is an ecclesiastic in nature that defines the connection between BVPS and ISKCON. This official resolution could also be appealed to the CPO inside 60 days of receipt of the choice. It have to be submitted in writing to the CPO Director. The solely two rules that an attraction could also be accepted are 1) if procedures within the unique assessment prevented a good and neutral listening to or 2) if there may be new and compelling extra proof.
It is predicted that the GBC Body will quickly present additional recommendation for these devotees who’ve taken religious shelter and steering from BVPS, together with his disciples.