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Date Posted: 11:16
Author: How True - 6 Sep 2001
Subject: Re: Re(5): Deleted Post
In reply to: Jimminy Cricket - 6 Sep 2001 's message, "Re: Re(5): Deleted Post" on 11:14

Ahh, so now we're finally hearing that SRF had 'some level of involvement' in the lawsuit against Ananda. I have a feeling we'll be hearing more about just how involved they were.

All of this while they were dealing with their own sexual harassment lawsuit involving a monk and a parishioner. From an article in the New Times LA:

"even as Ananda's woes were playing out publicly last year, the SRF quietly paid $333,000 in hush money to a female church member and her lawyer to keep the lid on a scandal involving one of its senior monks.

The monk, Jim Rapp, 45, whose monastic name was Brother Arjunananda, had been a rising star within the church. "If this were Catholicism, you could say he was a cardinal who someday might even become pope," says one disgruntled SRF member personally acquainted with Rapp.

A dynamic speaker, Rapp presided over monthly services at the SRF's Richmond temple near San Francisco and oversaw the church's sprawling printing facilities in an industrial district near the base of Mount Washington. Sources say he broke his vow of celibacy in 1997 by becoming sexually involved with a woman named Patricia Lyons after arranging a job for her in a part of the printing plant that was supposed to be off-limits to all but monks. During the three-month-long relationship, these sources say, he accepted cash and gifts from her totaling more than $50,000.

Lyons, who has since left the organization and says she views it as a cult, declines to discuss the Rapp matter, citing a confidentiality agreement. But others familiar with the details have expressed dismay at the church's handling of it.

They contend that several top SRF leaders--including Daya Mata--not only turned a deaf ear to Lyons after she sought help while still involved with the monk, but that those leaders attempted to ruin her reputation within the church even as they sought to preserve Rapp's monastic career. "It finally became obvious that [Rapp] had to go or else Patricia was not going to remain silent," says Nita Gage, a Marin County insurance executive whose teenaged son had been under Rapp's tutelage until shortly before Daya Mata forced the monk from the Mount Washington ashram.

Rapp, who is now living with relatives in Pennsylvania, declined numerous requests to be interviewed about whether the sources' statements are true. Brother Vishwananda, the board member, confirmed that Rapp was forced to leave the ashram as a result of breaking his celibacy vow and that the SRF paid Lyons to prevent her from suing the church. But he declined to comment about whether the church was fearful that negative publicity--coming at a time when speculation was rife about the fellowship's possible involvement in Ananda's troubles--might complicate its plans for the shrine. He cited the confidentiality agreement (which the church had insisted upon as part of its settlement with Lyons).

"They [the church leadership] pretty much destroyed Patricia's faith and ruined her life," says Gage, who blasts the SRF's handling of the affair as "outrageously hypocritical and inexcusable."

How do you spell Hypocrisy?




New Times LA Article

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