Hare Krishnas file for bankruptcy 'One less cult'

07 Feb 2002

Hare Krishnas to file for bankruptcy
- - - - - - - - - - - -
By Stephen Manning

Feb. 6, 2002 | LANHAM, Md. (AP) --

Hare Krishna congregations named in a $400 million lawsuit alleging sexual and emotional abuse of boarding school students will file for bankruptcy to avoid being sued, a spokesman for the Hindu sect said Wednesday.

About a dozen congregations will start filing for Chapter 11 reorganization next week in several states, said Anuttama Dasa, a Maryland-based spokesman for the International Society of Krishna Consciousness, or ISKCON.

"We don't believe that innocent members and congregations should be held accountable for the deviant behavior of individual acts committed 20 or 30 years ago," he said.

The group hopes that if their plan is approved by federal bankruptcy judges, the lawsuit filed in Dallas by former boarding school students will be dismissed.

ISKCON also plans to set up a fund to compensate children who may have been victimized in Hare Krishna schools during the 1970s and 1980s.

The Texas lawsuit alleges young children at Krishna schools in India and the United States were terrorized by their instructors. There are 94 plaintiffs in the lawsuit, according to the office of Windle Turley, the Dallas attorney who filed the lawsuit.

They allege that young girls were given as brides to older men who donated to the religious community. Children also allegedly were deprived of medical care, scrubbed with steel wool until their skin bled, and prevented from leaving the schools.

Turley has said the abuse started in 1972 at ISKCON's first school in Dallas, and continued in six other U.S. schools and two in India. He said ISKCON knew that sex offenders were working in their schools.

ISKCON formed a "Child Protection Office" in 1998 to investigate allegations of abuse and some members have been removed from the Krishna community as a result of the probes, Dasa said.

Turley was not available for comment Wednesday and his legal assistant, Michael Fitzgerald, said the firm wouldn't comment until it had more information on the planned bankruptcy filings.

A devout branch of Hinduism, the Hare Krishna spiritual community grew quickly in the United States during the 1960s.

The faith's spiritual leader believed children as young as 5 should be sent to boarding schools so they can learn to be pure devotees.

Roughly a dozen schools operated in North America by the late 1970s, but all have since closed. There are currently 75,000 Hare Krishnas in North America.

Associated Press


The views and opinions stated within this web page are those of the author or authors which wrote them and may not reflect the views and opinions of the ISP or account user which hosts the web page. The opinions may or may not be those of the Chairman of The Skeptic Tank.

Any text written by other authors which may be quoted in part or in full within this coverage of this issue is provided according to U. S. Code Title 17 "Fair Use" dictates which may be reviewed at http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.html If you're an author of an article and do not wish to allow it to be mirrored or otherwise provided on The Skeptic Tank web site, let us know and it will be removed fairly promptly.

Return to The Skeptic Tank's main Index page.

E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank