Thursday, December 4, 2014
Child abuse royal commission: Victim recounts being raped during ritual at Satyananda Yoga Ashram
- Child abuse royal commission: victim recounts being raped during ritual at Satyananda Yoga Ashram
- Child abuse royal commission: Mindset of NSW yoga retreat 'as dangerous as ever', witness tells hearing
- Child abuse royal commission: Yoga leader told children sex acts would aid 'spiritual growth'
"At the ashram, family relationships were broken down and parents separated from their children, who were routinely beaten, sexually abused and deprived of adequate medical treatment and food."
Child abuse royal commission: victim recounts being raped during ritual at Satyananda Yoga Ashram
By Claire Aird December 4, 2014
A young girl was raped by the head of a global yoga movement, Satyananda Sawaswati, on his visit to a New South Wales ashram, an inquiry has heard.
The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse hearing into the Satyananda Yoga Ashram at Mangrove Mountain on the state's central coast was also told a group of swamis abused the girl in a ritual setting.
The girl, known as APR in the hearing, moved to the ashram with her mother, father and sister in the late 1970s.
The abuse started when she was three years old.
"The ashram was the kind of place that if you scream, no-one comes," she said.
At the ashram, family relationships were broken down and parents separated from their children, who were routinely beaten, sexually abused and deprived of adequate medical treatment and food.
Attendees were referred to as "Innamtes" by the head of the movement, handed their assets to the ashram, shaved their heads, and wore orange robes.
"I feel the entire ashram was groomed into a place of powerlessness," APR said....
Child abuse royal commission: Mindset of NSW yoga retreat 'as dangerous as ever', witness tells hearing
By Nicole Chettle December 3, 2014
A former resident of Australia's oldest yoga ashram has received applause after delivering a passionate call for justice at the child sexual abuse royal commission in Sydney.
The commission has been looking at the handling of 11 complaints made against former spiritual leader Swami Akhandananda Saraswati over the past 40 years, relating to abuse that happened in the 1970s and '80s.
The issue came to a head around Easter this year when the Satyananda Yoga Ashram in New South Wales sent an email to former members detailing a "healing ceremony" that formed part of its 40th anniversary commemorations.
One woman known as APK, who, along with her sister, endured years of physical and sexual abuse....
Akhandananda was convicted on charges of indecency and jailed in 1989, but his conviction was overturned in 1991. He died in 1997....
Child abuse royal commission: Yoga leader told children sex acts would aid 'spiritual growth'
By Brad Ryan, Nicole Chettle and Emily Bourke December 2, 2014
The spiritual leader of a New South Wales yoga retreat sexually abused child residents after summoning them to a hut and asking them for a massage, an inquiry has heard.
Children were also allegedly directed to travel around Australia with the man, known as Swami Akhandananda Saraswati, and perform sexual acts in his bed.
The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has opened its 21st case study, focused on the the Satyananda Yoga Ashram at Mangrove Mountain in the hinterland of the New South Wales central coast.
The commission is examining allegations from the 1970s and 1980s involving the ashram's former leader, Akhandananda, who was jailed for sex offences in the late 1980s but had his conviction overturned before his death in 1997.
Counsel assisting the commission, Peggy Dwyer, said nine alleged victims would give evidence of sexual and physical abuse, and statements would be tendered by another two.
"I expect that the royal commission will hear evidence that this sexual abuse often occurred in the hut that Akhandananda shared with [fellow swami] Shishy," Ms Dwyer told the Sydney hearing....
Akhandananda was jailed in 1989 for sexually abusing four teenage girls whilst they were residing at the ashram, including Ms Buchanan.
She said she felt "victimised all over again" when Akhandananda's conviction was overturned on appeal and he was released after serving 14 months in prison....