Sep 9, 2014

Anand Marga: Tantric terrorists

P.R. Sarkar - guru of Fuehrer?
P.R. Sarkar - guru of Fuehrer?
India Today
September 9, 2014

"I have not committed any crime"
In their saffron coloured cotton garbs they look like Sadhus, yet they are far from being the traditional Hindu Sanyasis. They preach peace and non-violence but use violent methods to achieve their aims. They do not fit into the stereotype image of the urban guerillas, yet they act like any terrorist group in the world.
Through these contradictions the Anand Margis of India - the newest band of revolutionaries to emerge on the world political map - defy definition. They are as secretive as the Mafia and as well organized as the CIA. Their tentacles stretch from Calcutta to California, from Patna to Perth, from Bombay to Berlin and from Lucknow to London.

Their initiation ceremonies involve human skulls and are said to be as gruesome as those of the Mau Mau - Kenya's nationalist movement in the '50s.

Their objective is to achieve a revolutionary transformation in the lives of India's 650 million people through the ideology of PROUT - short for PROgressive Utilization Theory. It is a mumbo-jumbo of anti-marxist and anti-capitalist jargon which tries to capsulate the spiritualism of the East with socio-economic theories of the West. A pinch of humanism is thrown into it for good measure. Says one of its propaganda booklets: "Neither capitalism nor-so-called socialism nor the blending of the two could prove the saviour of humanity".

P.R. Sarkar - guru of Fuehrer?This ideology, they say, can be put into effect through the Tantra 'Yoga, a system of meditation supposed to produce the power of concentrating the mind upon anything whatsoever and lead its follower to the "path of bliss" or Anand Marga. Their motto: "The liberation of the self and service to the world. Their leader is a 56-year-old former accounts clerk with the Indian Railways described by his estranged wife as an "incorrigible homosexual".
At present Anandmurti, the title bestowed on P.R. Sarkar by his followers, is languishing in a Patna jail for the conspiracy to murder six dissidents of his movement. The present state of violence against Indian envoys in Britain, Australia, Nepal and Hong Kong, is aimed at achieving his release. From his prison cell he has denied any connection between the Anand Marga and the present spate of attacks.

Disillusionment set into Indian politics in the mid-'50s. The jubilation of Swaraj had turned into bitterness during that period. Old stalwarts like Ram Manohar Lohia were openly challenging Pandit Nehru and his Congress for more positive policies to alleviate poverty. Sarkar saw the opportunity and called a meeting of nine of his associates in Rampur Railway Colony at Jamalpur in Bihar.

At that meeting in Quarter No. 338 on 9 January, 1955, he promised to show them the "path of bliss" - or the Anand Marga. They formed themselves into a socio-spiritual organization called Anand Marga Pracharak Sangh. From that humble beginning, the movement soon mushroomed at home at well as overseas. Estimates of its membership range from 10 lakhs to 50 lakhs.

There are a wide range of people among its members - dustmen and doctors, policemen and politicians, soldiers and solicitors. Today it claims to have followers in 82 countries. At the beginning of this decade, 15 years after its inception, the Margis have divided the globe into nine sectors - with major centres of operations based in Delhi, New York, Sydney, Hong Kong, Manila, Nairobi, Berlin, London and Rio de Janeiro.

Avadhoots in Berlin - 'terrorist tentacles across the world?It has strong bases in Philippines and the USA. In New York it has established many Yoga centres. Its International Committee has successfully established links with the United Nations and leaders of the liberal opinions such as Lord Fenner Brodeway of Britain. At home their operations are divided into four zones - East, West, North and South with their headquarters in Calcutta, Bombay, Delhi and Banglore respectively.
Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar was born on 13 April, 1921 in Jamalpur. His Bengali parentage exposed him towards Bengali nationalists like Subhash Chandra Bose. He was known as a fortune teller and as a man with mystic power. As a child he displayed intense curiosity to frequent the Valley of Death in the forests of his home town where an entire company of British soldiers is believed to have vanished without trace.

He spent long hours in sadhana (meditation) on an isolated rock in the Valley. He used to tell his friends that a mythical tiger carried him to the Valley and back. An aura of super-national and extra-sensory powers surrounds him. Once when his mother chided him for his inability to learn Bengali, he wrote his name in five scripts - Bengali, Arabic, Roman, Devanagri and Tamil.

In a country where illiteracy is a curse such outbursts of literacy tends to alleviate a man to the status of superhuman. No wonder that his followers now regard him as a third Tarak Brahma (incarnation of God). The other two are Siva and Krishna. His followers reverently call him Baba.

Sarkar went to Jamalpur Railway High School and was later sent to Calcutta where he came under the influence of his uncle who practised Tantra Yoga. He tried his hand at journalism and had various spells as a sub-editor on the The Hindustan Standard, The Statesman and Ananda Bazar Patrika. But clashes with his editors made him quit "on his own accord."

Human skullus (left) recovered in a police raid, and (right) an Anand Marga meeting in LondonHe settled for clerk's job with the railways. He was a man with ambition and a passion for social justice. In a country like the USA his talents would have led him to a career in selling or advertising. In India he sublimated it to spiritualism - and began to initiate his followers into the mysteries of Tantric meditation.
The Tantra Yoga, say the Margis, is not black magic but a potent instrument for the liberation of the soul. In a world torn with strife, he offered refuge to those who were alienated by the materialistic norms of the consumer society. His followers were persuaded to believe in no other God except - Baba. They were made to chant Baba Nam Kevalam, Baba is the only truth. This slogan appeared on walls throughout India. In 1962 Margis even claimed that it was the divine power of the Baba that "repulsed" the Chinese during the Sino-Indian conflict.

Having assured himself a following, he began to indulge in politics. He began to propound political theories. He discredited Marx ("Communism makes a man beast") and Adam Smith ("Capitalism makes a man beggar") to propound his own socioeconomic philosophy called Prout.

A Proutist believes that man is a psychic-spiritual being and his spiritual emotions dominates his economic aspect of life. This is directly in conflict with the Marxist view that man's behaviour is dictated by economic factors in the environment.

The Proutists seek to develop human race through a common philosophy embodying mental, physical and spiritual contents; uniformity in the structure of the governments; a common penal code developed through common social norms concerning vice and virtue; and availability of bare essentials for human survival.

Proutist violence

Anand Margis have intensified their violent campaign to release Sarkar after the rumours that he was to be transferred from Bankipur jail, in Patna. They fear that his plane may be hijacked to a country which may be hostile to the Margis.

August: The Indian High Commission office in Canberra was gutted and the Consul-General's office in Sydney was stoned.

September 15: Indian Military attache in Canberra, Col. Iqbal Singh, was stabbed and with his wife, Darshan, kidnapped from their home.

October 19: Air-India sales representative stabbed in Melbourne.

October 9: India Tourist Office in London's New Bond Street had its show window smashed by a brick. A note tied to the brick threatened political assassinations. It warned: "Awake Mr Desai, or else blood will be on your hands."

November 1: A.S. Ahluwalia, an assistant in the Indian High Commission in London, was stabbed.

November 8: Bomb blasted in the grounds of the Indian Embassy in Kathmandu. No one was hurt.

November 8: The Indian High Commissioner in Hong Kong received a warning of violent action unless Sarkar was released.

The Proutists have claimed responsibility in all cases.

Through this ideology the Proutists hope to create a cosmic sentiment which would bring about a socio-political structure and usher in an era of world-nation based on spiritual humanism. When that state is reached Sadvipra Raj or rule by moralists will automatically follow. In achieving this goal, use of violence was not ruled out. For the Margi's the end justified the means.

With those objectives in mind the Margis swung into action. Although they preached uniformity and equality, a strict heirarchy is built into its ranks. Sadhak is the lowest rank. A sadhak graduates to tatvik when he has acquired enough knowledge about the Anand Marga ideology. A tatvik, who is allowed to teach and recruit graduates to become an acharya. A Margi adopts, a Sanskrit name when he becomes an acharya.

He renounces his previous identity and launches himself to propagate the message of Baba. He enjoys the power of initiation. After serving a probationary period as brahmacharya, an acharya becomes an avadhoot - one who has renounced all the creature comforts and surrendered himself to the cause of Anand Marga and its leader Anand Murti.

To make themselves effective throughout the whole strata of society, the Margis formed into various groups. In 1963 they lanched ERAWS (Education, Relief and Welfare Section) to run educational institutions. It is estimated that they run 400 schools to catch the young in their formative years.

The Volunteer Social Service (VSS) acts as "young soldiers" to organize functions for the Marga Universal Proutist Students Federation penetrates the schools, colleges and other institutions of learning whereas the Universal Proutist Labour Federation looks after the interests of the workers.

The Proutists Forum of India (PFI), the think tank, concerns itself with the conceptual aspects of Marga's ideology. Last month PFI merged with the Proutist Universal (India). Said its chief secretary, Sarvat-mananda Avadhoot: "We neither believe in nor support any misdirected violent activities anywhere in the world." The Proutist Block of India (PBI) is the political wing of the movement. Although the Anand Margis have disassociated themselves with it. The PBI has unsuccessfully contested elections for seats in Parliament as well as state assemblies.

How is the movement financed? Where does the money to run a press, a newspaper and schools come from? The Margis are at pains to explain that every member voluntarily donates two per cent of his or her earnings to the organization.

But the popular belief that the movement is financed from overseas still persists. The belief is further strengthened by the fact that some of the propaganda material bears the hallmark of expensive printing usually not available in India. All accusing fingers point toward the USA's Central Intelligence Agency - more so when Sarkar spares it from any criticism. India's RAW and CBI as well as Russia's KGB have been accused by Sarkar of discrediting his movement. But not the CIA.

The defeat in the 1967 General Elections left the Margis demoralized. In 1969, there was another incident which shook the faith of many a disciple in the cult. In August that year the Marga organized a Maha Chakra, its spiritual congregation, in Cooch Behar. It is said that some Marxists raided the conference and there were bloody clashes. Four avadhoots and some others were killed. Baba fled from Anand Nagar, the headquarters of the Marga, to Ranchi.

The entire organization is run on a fascist line. Baba is its Fuehrer. Dissent is not allowed. No one is permitted to express his inability to carry out a task. Naturally, dissatisfaction brew within the movement and in October 1971 the movement split. Sarkar's wife, Uma, left her husband to live with Sarkar s private secretary. With her she took a large number of those dissatisfied with Sarkar.

The Gandhi regime viewed with concern the activities of the Marga Intelligence reports revealed that the Marga was far more dangerous than any other extremist organizations, and the methods it adopted to achieve its objectives were sinister, cold-blooded and ruthless. In 1969, an alleged plot to assassinate top leaders and senior government officials was discovered and the would-be-assassin caught.

It was reported that he had with him a fist of persons who were supposed to help him in carrying out the task. The police conducted a series of raids on the Marga headquarters and branch offices. Human skulls, dangerous weapons, hypnotic drugs and incriminating documents were recovered.

Unable to stand the tyranny of the cult and to get rid of the guilt complex resulting from the many atrocities, some high ranking Margis including avadhoots defected. Sarkar felt that those defectors were responsible for revealing the secrets to the authorities. In 1970, he is said to have called his trusted disciples at Jamshedpur, where he was camping at that time, and set up a murder squad to get rid of the defectors. Following this decision six ex-Margis were reportedly murdered.

Sarkar's wife publicly announced that she had left her husband because it was impossible for her to be a silent spectator of what she described as inhuman, brutal and senseless happenings in the Marga. She said that the Marga was committing abominable and heinous crimes in the name of dharma. She added: "Though Sarkar had arrogated godhead to himself, he stopped to commit acts which the lowest in society would dread to pursue."

Bombay's Free Press Journal quoted Uma as saying that Sarkar indulged in sexual perversions with some of his women followers after assuring them that they were his wives in his previous births. According to Swami Vishokanand, a former private secretary to Sarkar, Baba got 17 avadhoots murdered.

Sarkar was taken into custody on 1 June 1971, and charged with abetting and instigating the murder of six ex-Margis. Efforts to secure his release on bail was rejected by the Patna High Court. The Supreme Court also rejected a petition for special leave to appeal against the order of the Patna High Court decision.

Agitation for his release then became an issue at home and overseas. His followers staged demonstrations outside the UN headquarters in New York in March 1973. Others held a 27-hour demonstration in Dupont Circle, not far from the Indian Embassy in Washington. In April a procession of the Margis in New Delhi clashed with the police near the Boat Club as they tried to force their way to Rashtrapati Bhavan to present a petition to the President.

To reinforce their demand, the Margis started threatening the government that unless Baba was released, the avadhoots would commit self-immolation. In April an avadhoot was reported to have committed self-immolation in Patna, a similar incident took place in Delhi on 24 April. The police however, said they had found that both the cases were of burning after death. In June 1975, 85 Congress MPs urged the government to weed out all the Anand Marga and RSS members from the administrative and educational services.

On 4th July, 1975, Mrs Gandhi's regime banned the organization. The ban was lifted by the Janata government in April this year. But so far it has refused to release its leaders.


Margis - on the path to 'liberation'What do the two triangles, the rising sun and the swastika signify? Acharya Sujit Kumar explained: The swastika implies the goal and the way of life of a Margi that leads to vijaya (permanent victory). The two triangles depict the karma (duty) and gyan (knowledge).
The blending of the karma and gyan through bhakti (devotion) constitutes the life of a Margi. The rising sun signifies the bhakti. Karma, gyanand bhakti leads to devotion, vital for the salvation.

The Tantras represent a philosophy comprehensive enough to embrace the whole of knowledge, a system of meditation which will produce the power of concentrating the mind upon anything whatsoever, and an art of living which will enable one to utilize each activity of the Body, Speech and Mind, as an aid to the path of Liberation.

Tan means to expand and tra means to liberate. The word Tantra, therefore, denotes the psycho-spiritual process which liberates a spiritual aspirant from bondages through the phenomenon of psychic expansion.

Anand Margis claim that their method of sadhana (meditation) is Tantric.

Sep 6, 2014

Islam's theology of life is stronger than ISIS' cult of death

CNN, September 5, 2014
Opinion by Salam al-Marayati, Special to CNN

(CNN) – This week, Barak Barfi, the spokesman for slain American journalist Steven Sotloff’s family, joined many Muslims in exposing the hypocrisy and hollowness of groups like ISIS.

He challenged ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi to a debate that pits Islam’s theology of life against ISIS’ cult of death.

In doing so, Barfi cited verses in the Quran that shun murder even a 6-year-old could understand: "Fight in the cause of God those who fight you and do not transgress, God loves not the aggressors" (2:190).

This verse is about self-defense. It allows one to protect civilians by fighting combatants who attack first. It forbids aggression, which is a grave sin in Islam.
By citing this verse, Barfi challenged all extremists to a debate that would expose their bankrupt cult of death for the forgery it is.

Barfi also talked about mercy in Islam. Mercy is an essential attribute for Muslims. God delivered Prophet Mohammed to humanity to make us more merciful to one another.

ISIS is devoid of mercy and God assigns transgressors equal compensation for what they do on Earth; those who murder and pillage will only find hell’s darkness and pain in the hereafter.

The ideological fight against ISIS is not about reducing them to the true size of their moral feebleness. It's about humanity rallying together to isolate and eliminate this gang of thugs.

Steven Sotloff so “loved the Arab and the Islamic world,” Barfi said, that he courageously covered the story for American media. He committed his life and career to covering the suffering of Muslims at the hands of tyrants.

Most Americans who travel to the Middle East feel the same way. Aside from all the vitriol, political rhetoric and waving of religious banners, there is a desire by many Muslims to be heard and seen for what they are: human beings. ISIS distorts Islam and dehumanizes Muslims.

Ruslan Tsarni, the uncle of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who committed the Boston Marathon bombing, said something similar to Barfi in explaining the motivation of violent extremism: The extremists are losers and full of hatred for those who were able to settle themselves.

ISIS is a group of lost souls who thrive in war-ravaged zones and rise from the ashes of despair.

Spare us, al-Baghdadi, the sermons and the bravado. They are nothing but tattoos cut into your soldiers with the blood of the innocent. You are not fostering martyrdom, but you are perpetuating criminality and corruption that has infested the region for centuries. You are a false prophet who has stained our sacred faith.

Our strongest weapon against ISIS is good theology against bad ideology. Understanding Islam along with the authentic sources of the Quran and the accepted traditions of the Prophet Mohammed is the antidote to violent extremism.

Our front lines are the mosques from where we repel this evil with good words meant to serve humanity. Our foot soldiers are the young men and women who want to lead this struggle. They will fight for us on the Internet and from the hallowed halls of institutions of learning and advancing civilization, of interdependence not separatism, of building bridges with other faiths, not destroying them.That is the counternarrative that will help win the war against ISIS.

Barfi is also correct in rallying people to call the bluff of al-Baghdadi. Our only challenge is to overcome the fear ISIS uses to wield its influence.
To the families of Steven Sotloff and James Foley: We will remember the bravery of your sons, who exposed the savagery of tyranny and gave the people a platform for their voices to be heard and their suffering to be seen by the American people.

Salam al-Marayati is president of the Muslim Public Affairs Council. The views expressed in this column belong to him.

Ex-psychotherapy sex commune leader permitted to practice again

Lohud Journal News
September 6, 2014

Inside the Cult: Saul Newton and the Sullivan Institute

TARRYTOWN – A former leader of a 1970s psychotherapy cult who counseled patients to sever ties with their families, controlled access to their children and ordered them to have sex with her husband and each other has had her psychology license reinstated by the state.

Helen Fogarty was once married to Saul Newton, the charismatic co-founder of the Sullivan Institute for Research in Psychoanalysis, a commune-like cult where many patients and therapists pooled their resources and lived together in apartments on Manhattan's Upper West Side during the 1970s and 1980s. The group espoused a communal lifestyle and rejected the idea of the nuclear family, claiming that monogamy was the "root of all misery." Artist Jackson Pollock was involved with the institute for a time, as were singer Judy Collins, writer Richard Price and others from the worlds of art and academia.

Membership, which once numbered in the hundreds, declined in the 1980s, thanks in part to bad publicity it received when disaffected former members filed child custody lawsuits against what they described as the "psychotherapy cult." The institute's demise was widely reported by the New York Times and New York and People magazines.

Fogarty, who lives in Tarrytown, paid a price for her involvement in the controversial institute, when the state revoked her license to practice psychology in 1997, roughly six years after she divorced Newton and left the group.

Now, the 73-year-old Fogarty is getting another chance. The Journal News has confirmed that in July the state placed her on two years probation and restored her license with the condition that she only practice under supervision. And while officials who reviewed her petition for reinstatement were divided about whether it should be granted, Fogarty defended their final decision.

"I'm a great clinician," she said during an interview at her condo. "I've been working with underprivileged children for years.... My whole life has progressed in so many positive ways."

After the Institute
Counseling at Graham Windham

Since leaving the institute, Fogarty remarried and spent years counseling foster children at Graham Windham, a Hastings-on-Hudson facility for abused, neglected and delinquent children. She became active in church, advocated on behalf of people with lupus and even played Santa Claus at a community gathering.

She applied to have her license reinstated in 2009, expressing remorse and hoping to take on more responsibility at Graham Windham. Fogarty said she was young and unsophisticated when she got involved with the institute and Newton – 36 years her senior – shortly after graduating from college. She left Graham Windham in 2012, before the state acted on her application. Although Fogarty now claims to have no interest in practicing again and is focused on being a grandmother, former cult members have mixed feelings about her having her professional standing restored.

Amy Siskind, 60, of Brooklyn, grew up at the institute, which was founded by Newton in 1957, and said she was sexually abused there as a child. While not happy about the reinstatement, Siskind said it's unlikely that Fogarty will repeat her conduct.

"I'm sure she's been a decent counselor in the work she's done," said Siskind, a sociologist, who wrote a book about the institute. "The remorsefulness, I doubt, frankly... I wouldn't want her for a therapist myself, to put it mildly."

Another former member, Jon Mack of Newfane, Vermont, was involved with the group for more than 20 years. He has some issues with the institute, he said, but saw no reason why Fogarty shouldn't be given a second chance.

"Very few of us from that time, therapists and patients alike, have a legitimate claim to naiveté," he said in a statement. "We were — with the exception of the children of patients — consenting adults who knowingly, if not necessarily sensibly, reaped the benefits and paid the price of an unconventional life-style and practice of psychotherapy. Some clearly suffered more enduring harm than others, but the time has come long ago for people to go on with their lives — not forgetting the past, but learning from it and going ahead as best we can."

Some aspects of those unconventional lifestyle and psychotherapy practices are described in more than 100 pages of disciplinary records obtained by The Journal News, which show that Fogarty routinely crossed ethical boundaries. 

Institute members were encouraged to have multiple sex partners and were required to get permission before having children. If a woman wanted a child, the papers say, more than one man was to participate in the process. Children born within the group were raised by patients/babysitters; parental visits were restricted.

Her license revoked
Fogarty found guilty

The institute also operated The Fourth Wall Repertory Company, a political theater group in the East Village, used, in part, for recruiting. It's where former members said they gathered at night after working long hours as computer programmers, professors and childcare workers to support the institute financially. Many members were told what jobs to take to raise money for the institute.

In revoking her license in 1997, a hearing panel of the state Board of Psychology found Fogarty guilty of "practicing the profession fraudulently, with gross negligence, with gross incompetence, with negligence on more than one occasion and with incompetence on more than one occasion."

The panel found that Fogarty told her live-in babysitter, who was also her patient, to have sex with her husband. Although she objected because Newton was more than 70 years old, the babysitter complied. In a complaint she later filed with the state, the babysitter said she feared losing her job and housing and being kicked out of therapy.

The state also found that Fogarty told a patient his mother hated him and was as "murderously violent as a concentration camp person;" that she had sex at an upstate farmhouse with someone she supervised; and that she billed insurance companies for therapy visits that never took place.

When asking for reinstatement, Fogarty claimed she was naive after graduating from Brandeis University in 1963 and becoming a patient of Newton's. The two started a sexual relationship. Two years later, she moved into a "women only" apartment at the institute, completed graduate studies in clinical psychology at CUNY and a four-year-program at the institute. She had four children with Newton, who married and divorced six times and fathered 10 children before his death in 1991 at age 85.

Asked about her ability to make ethical decisions during her time at the institute, Fogarty told The Journal News: "I was young. I was in my 20s and 30s. I don't know how mature and rational it was. At the time, it seemed fine."
She denied ordering her babysitter to have sex with Newton, saying that "she made this up, that I told her to have sex with my husband. Do I dispute it? I totally dispute it. That's unthinkable... I was a therapist, she worked for me, that was the whole issue. She was babysitting one of my kids and asked if she could be in therapy with me."

She said she regrets the "double relationship" of having her live-in babysitter as a patient and did admit to some improper billing practices. Fogarty said she made no disparaging comments about the other patient's mother, but acknowledged having sex with someone she supervised.
"Looking back on it, we were all crossing boundaries in that group," Fogarty said, adding that she didn't realize it until leaving the group. "That was a problem."

Patients were drawn to the institute in the 1970s and 80s, she said, because it was a different era and people wanted to try something different.
"There were a lot of communes, urban and rural," Fogarty said. "It was a big counterculture."

License reinstated
State split on second chance

In asking that her license be reinstated, Fogarty said she worked to redeem herself professionally and personally after leaving the institute. She held several counseling jobs before taking a position as a senior psychologist at Graham Windham in 1995. Upon losing her license two years later, she continued to work there as a "senior clinician," offering advice on major decisions, including "suicide attempts." She said she was forthright when Graham Windham asked about her past. She learned about boundaries, she said, and refused to move her office to a patient cottage. Her lawyer noted that she took more than 200 hours in continuing education credits. She also also joined the Unitarian Church.

Gerry Leventhal, vice president for Westchester Services at Graham Windham, said Fogarty did a "very good job... She was a good employee," he said.
We have kids who bring a wide range of challenges with them. We rely on our staff to provide a lot of support and counseling to them."

State officials who reviewed Fogarty's reinstatement application were split about whether she should get another chance. In fact, the Peer Committee, comprised of other psychologists, recommended unanimously that she be denied. The committee said she lacked independence, and only sought reinstatement at the suggestion of a therapist she was seeing.

The Committee on the Professions disagreed, finding that she was remorseful and voting unanimously to recommend two years probation. She was placed on probation by the Board of Regents in April, followed in July by the reinstatement order from the state education commissioner. If she complies with probation, her license will be fully restored.

"The story, if you want it, is about the incompetence of the hearing panel to judge this correctly," said Fogarty, adding that the Peer Committee didn't look at the facts.

She said The Journal News coverage of her license reinstatement is "going to hurt me, undoubtedly" in the community, saying that she doesn't discuss her past with friends at church.

Fogarty is one of 400 licensed professionals and 14 psychologists in New York state to have their licenses revoked during the past two decades, according to a review of records by the newspaper. Other psychologists have lost their credentials for possessing weapons, grand larceny, having sex with patients and other violations and crimes.

Michael Bray, 69, of Somers, who left the institute after 12 years when it started to "take control of procreation and child rearing," hasn't talked to Fogarty in three decades, but believes in second chances. Most everyone there, he said, was a victim to some degree.

"I believe in remorse and redemption and reeducation," he said. "I believe all those are possible... My general belief is people can have remorse for whatever they've done and they can change their thinking and their values over time."

Irish Catholicism's Two Abuse Crises

David Carroll Cochran
August 12, 2014

A Calamity for Both Church and Society

For an Irish Catholic Church desperate for good news, the bad keeps coming. Most recent are the revelations about a mother-and-child home run by the Bons Secours sisters in the town of Tuam, County Galway, which operated from 1925 to 1961. While some early, highly sensationalized media reports about hundreds of dead babies dumped into a septic tank have turned out to be false [2], details about the treatment of children [3]—their living conditions, mortality rates, and burial after death—unleashed a fresh round of shock and outrage in a nation that has seen plenty of both during two decades of reports detailing a history of physical and sexual abuse in Catholic settings.

This string of revelations has obviously sparked blistering criticism of the church in Ireland. Much of it is deserved, but it is also important to understand the multiple dimensions of the calamity that Irish Catholicism finds itself in.

The abuse crisis in Ireland is really two crises. The first is the sexual abuse of minors by priests. This crisis has followed a now-familiar pattern. For decades, a small number of priests used their position to abuse vulnerable children. Some continued undetected for years; others were discovered at the time. When this happened, church leaders, especially bishops, consistently hushed up the crimes, transferring offenders to new and unsuspecting communities while pressuring victims and their families into silence. The need to “avoid scandal” produced scandalous behavior, allowing abuse to continue and the abused to suffer in shame and silence.

This dimension of the crisis, then, is not unique to Irish Catholicism; we continue to see similar revelations from around the world. If given access to minors, a small percentage of men will sexually abuse them. While this percentage is not higher among Catholic priests than ministers in other denominations or those in secular positions such as coaches, teachers, or counselors, it is the historical response by Catholic leaders (as well as the church’s size, longevity, and practice of keeping detailed personnel records) that has produced an abuse crisis in country after country. From the United States to Germany to Australia to Ireland, it is the cover-up as much as the crime that has sparked outrage.

That being said, the wound likely runs deeper in Ireland. A striking feature of Irish history in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries is the fusion of national and Catholic identity. Catholicism deeply influenced nationalist resistance to British domination, the founding of the independent Irish state in 1922, and ordinary social and cultural life for generations. As late as the 1970s, weekly mass attendance was well over 90 percent across the nation, and even today, programing on Ireland’s national television and radio stations pauses daily to broadcast the tolling of the Angelus bells. So while in most countries a crisis of Catholicism is just that, in Ireland it has taken on the character of a national identity crisis as well.

Indeed, if any two elements best defined Ireland’s historically intense Catholic devotionalism, they were its clericalism—faith in the status, integrity, and benevolent power of priests and bishops—and its sexual puritanism—the special seriousness and shame reserved for sins involving sex. Of course, the sexual abuse of children by priests and its cover-up by bishops simultaneously betrayed both, something that helps explain the depth of pain, confusion, and anger in the country.  

THE SECOND ABUSE CRISIS is more uniquely Irish. 

After independence, the new Irish state entered into an exceptionally close relationship with the Catholic Church. Ireland’s constitution, adopted in 1937, was written with input from John Charles McQuaid [4], the soon-to-be the named Archbishop of Dublin; began by invoking “the Most Holy Trinity”; and endorsed the “special position” of the Catholic Church in Irish life. The church’s role included drawing on public funds to operate a vast network of hospitals, schools, and other social welfare institutions on behalf of the state. Even today, the majority of public primary schools in Ireland are essentially Catholic-run.

Among these institutions were homes and industrial schools, primarily run by religious orders, for orphans, destitute or delinquent children, and unwed mothers. There were also “Magdalene asylums” that housed women suspected of engaging in prostitution, sex outside of marriage, or immodest behavior of some kind. In some cases these institutions helped those in need, but many were run more like prisons, and revelations of harsh physical punishment, sexual abuse, malnourishment, disease, forced labor, and the seizing of children from their mothers has rocked the country over the last few decades. The news about the home in Tuam is only the latest.

The Irish public’s anger at the Catholic orders that ran these places is warranted, but the revelations indict more than just the church. In fact, some of the anger is a way to deflect more widespread guilt. It is not so easy to separate mid-twentieth century Irish society from Catholicism. Almost every extended Irish family had someone in a religious order connected to these institutions, just as they likely had a member somewhere on the family tree confined in one. The government sponsored and in many cases inspected these places. It was Irish society more generally that pushed its most troublesome and marginalized members out of sight behind these walls, dumping them on nuns and brothers often too overwhelmed to deal with them. And during the heyday of these institutions, Irish life outside their walls had its own share of poverty, illness, high infant mortality, harsh physical discipline, and sexual abuse and exploitation. The history of mistreatment in these institutions is a scandal for the Catholic Church, but the church was not so much a force imposed from outside the country as one woven into Irish society and made up of Irish people themselves.

The Irish Catholic Church, then, stands at the center of Ireland’s abuse crises, but it does not stand alone. These crises extend beyond Ireland to global Catholicism on the one hand, and beyond the Catholic Church to the whole of Irish society on the other. Irish Catholicism’s abuse crises are more than just an Irish problem, and more than just a Catholic problem.


Sep 5, 2014

NEPAL: A Muslim family rendered homeless after converting to the Wahhabi sect

September 4, 2014
Asian Human Rights Commission

The Terai Human Rights Defenders (THRD) Alliance in Nepal has informed the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) that a Muslim family of the Sunni faith, residing at the Gauri Village Development Committee in Kapilavastu District have been forced to flee their home as a result of converting to the Wahhabi sect on or around the 10 June 2014. Reports state that local Sunnis have destroyed their farm lands, their crops and their home and looted their property. Following the incident the family was forced to flee, in order to avoid further attacks.  They have sought assistance from the District Police and the District Administration Offices; however the police have downright refused to provide any assistance to them. Today despite an order from the Court, to restore their land and their freedoms to practice a religion of their choice, have not been able to return to their home and remain as refugees. 

Former Children of God member threatened police with shotgun

Mark Russell

The Age
September 5, 2014

A former member of the notorious Children of God cult, known as The Family, has been jailed for two years for threatening a police officer with a sawn-off shotgun.

Joshua Cannane blamed his time in the cult for his paranoia and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Cannane, 26, of Croydon, pleaded guilty on Friday to one count of possessing the shotgun and one count of using the weapon to resist arrest on February 26 near the Chirnside Park Shopping Centre.

County Court judge Liz Gaynor said Cannane had pointed the gun at the police officer and warned him he was not going back to jail.

Cannane was jailed for two years with a non-parole period of 12 months.
He had been jailed in 2008 for 20 months after slashing a shopper at Knox City Shopping Centre and then stabbing a policeman who was trying to arrest him. He was released after serving six months.

Judge Gaynor said Cannane was the fifth of nine children born to parents who were members of the closed religious community known as the Children of God. He was born in NSW but his family came to Victoria when he was aged about one.

"When you were aged two or three, you were taken briefly by the Department of Human Services officers during the large-scale raid on the Children of God premises," Judge Gaynor told Cannane.

Police and Department of Human Services officers raided the cult's properties in Victoria in May, 1992, after ex-sect members claimed children were being sexually, physically and psychologically abused.

The sect had been set up in 1968 by David Berg to encourage free love and communal habitation.

A total of 128 children - aged between two and 16 and from six communities in both Victoria and NSW - were taken into protective custody before later being released, after no evidence of criminal wrongdoing was found.
Judge Gaynor said Cannane's parents gradually moved away from the cult, eventually leaving when he was aged 12 or 13.

"They lived in the community until you were about five and then moved in with another family from the Children of God, or The Family, as it was known, to assist them with the care of a person who was dying of cancer," she said. "The house was in Donvale and together with your siblings and parents and the other family, you shared the house with about 16 or 17 people.
"The family lived on benefits, donations and assistance from the Children of God."

After his family left the Children of God, Cannane briefly attended Norwood High School but found it difficult to settle into a conventional school setting and soon left while repeating year 9.

Cannane hardly left the house for the next three years and became a heavy cannabis smoker before later using heroin and ice.

Judge Gaynor said Cannane told her he had had a very unhappy childhood while his family were members of the Children of God, "enduring routine harsh punishment and disciplinary measures".

The judge said Cannane's earliest memory was of being lined up with a number of other children and hit with a stick. "You said the main emotions you experienced as a child were ones of anger and fear."

Judge Gaynor said while she was not critical of Cannane's parents, his childhood had accounted for the development of "a paranoid attitude to the world" to such an extent he developed a post-traumatic stress disorder.

Kindness could loosen FLDS grip

Idaho State Journal
August 30, 2014

The newspaper headlines and TV news reports this week about the FLDS church’s presence in Southeast Idaho caught everyone’s attention.
A man named Nathan Jessop and nine boys were apparently exiled to our part of the state (and at one point Wyoming) so they could repent for their alleged sins. It’s safe to say imprisoned FLDS church leader Warren Jeffs sent them away and it’s really anyone’s guess as to why. 
Perhaps they got caught drinking milk or eating corn — two no-nos as far as Jeffs is concerned.
Jessop and the boys eventually found lodging in the Gate City area — staying at homes in Chubbuck, Downey and Power County before taking up residence in a house off Pocatello Creek Road in Pocatello.
When one of the boys escaped and blew the whistle on how Jessop was treating them, the Bannock County Sheriff’s Department and Prosecutor’s Office began to investigate.
What authorities found is that Jessop was hitting the boys with boards and brooms, placing some of them in solitary confinement, exiling them outside in freezing conditions and barely providing them with enough food to survive.
Neighbors said the boys were constantly trying to find food. They had apparently been taken away from their mothers’ in the middle of the night so they and Jessop could be sent on this misguided journey of repentance. We say “misguided” because the utter nonsense spewed by the FLDS church is widely known. 
Jeffs is currently in prison in Texas for having sex with underage FLDS girls. 
What’s truly tragic about the FLDS church is the grip that Jeffs and other church leaders have on FLDS members.
It’s tough for the rest of us to believe anyone would be part of this religious cult but for those who’ve grown up in it — whose entire family is wrapped up in it — parting ways with Jeffs and the rest of the congregation is extremely difficult.    
Departing from the flock typically means leaving your entire support network of friends and family behind.
How many of us could turn our back on everyone we know? Doing so is an incredibly painful process — made worse by FLDS leaders telling the disgruntled that they’ll burn in hell for leaving.
Then there are the “Lost Boys,” those young male members of the FLDS church who many believe are sent packing because of the competition they’ll provide older male FLDS members for the faith’s female population.
Members of the Mormon church and a growing number of organizations have thankfully stepped up to help the Lost Boys and others trying to leave the FLDS assimilate into society.
But even with this outside help, it still takes a tremendous amount of courage to walk out on this weird and perverted faith.
There are apparently still several FLDS people in Pocatello. Who knows exactly why they’re here.
These folks might be on repentance missions or maybe they’re just hoping Southeast Idaho has greener pastures than Carson City, Ariz., or Hildale, Utah — the towns known for being the home of the FLDS faith. These FLDS people here in the Gate City have probably been told some pretty horrible things about those of us outside their religion.
The best we can all do is prove Jeffs and company wrong about all of us alleged heathens. 
Everything we can do to show them that people outside their faith are not a bunch of monsters could help give them the necessary encouragement to distance themselves from a religion that looks favorably on some pretty outrageous things (while the FLDS church might see a middle aged man hooking up with an adolescent girl as love, the rest of us call it child sexual abuse).
Let’s hope the FLDS in our midst learn from living in Pocatello that there is a good life waiting for them outside their church. That should be our goal every time we encounter these folks.

Retreat for abuse victims 'cult-like'

Richard Guilliatt
The Australian
September 7, 2013

The national charities watchdog is investigating allegations of mismanagement and dangerous practices at a Christian counselling organisation whose patrons include Rudd government minister Joel Fitzgibbon.

The Australian Charities and Not-For-Profit Commission has interviewed several former employees of Heal For Life Foundation who allege that adults and children are being exposed to bizarre and damaging counselling methods at the foundation's rural NSW retreat, Mayumarri.

The former staff claim vulnerable young women attending the retreat for sexual-assault counselling are placed in the care of unqualified volunteers and exposed to a "cult-like" atmosphere that has triggered psychiatric disorders requiring hospitalisation. Mayumarri was established in 1999 by the child-abuse campaigner Liz Mullinar, who is chief executive of Heal For Life Foundation.

The retreat has attracted high-profile support from both sides of politics but has been the subject of complaints to health authorities for at least a decade. The Weekend Australian has spoken to eight recently departed staff from Mayumarri who claim poorly trained staff at the centre are permitting bizarre claims of abuse to spread in "virus-like" fashion.

Annie Nothnagel, who quit as a volunteer at the centre in April last year, said severely psychiatrically disturbed young women were violently self-harming there and often required hospitalisation as a result of poorly supervised counselling.

Ms Nothnagel said she had a breakdown after leaving Mayumarri and was herself hospitalised for 17 weeks.

"Very vulnerable and very mentally unwell young girls should not be in that place," she said.

The former training co-ordinator at Mayumarri, Di Frost, claimed she quit in April after becoming extremely concerned at the inadequate training and supervision of volunteers.

"They're exposed to people who are recovering bizarre and extreme memories of abuse, and there is cross-contamination in which carers themselves recover memories that can lead to very serious psychological disability," she said.

Ms Frost said about 20 staff and volunteers had left Heal For Life since 2011 and several lodged complaints with the Australian Charities and Not-For-Profit Commission.

She said she had also alerted the Healthcare Complaints Commission of NSW.

Graham Oborn, a Hunter-region businessman who was once deputy chairman and a major financial sponsor of Mayumarri, said he raised his own concerns with the ACNC and the Heal For Life board and was frustrated by their inaction.

Ms Mullinar, Heal For Life's chief executive, has won awards for her work as a child-abuse campaigner and Mayumarri received a $600,000 donation from the mining company Xstrata in 2009.

Former staff at the centre have complained about its methods since 2003, when the NSW Health Department withdrew funding after a departmental report criticised the way it was run.

The chairman of Heal For Life's board, Rod Phillips, said the organisation had commissioned an independent review of the recent complaints, which recommended only minor changes and was "very positive" overall. In a written statement, which he said was authorised by the entire board, he said Heal For Life could not comment on the ACNC investigation but took all complaints seriously and was still finalising its internal review.

Mr Phillips, who is Ms Mullinar's husband, denied that an unusual number of staff had left.

"Some of the volunteers and staff members who have left over the past two years were asked to leave by the board and/or management because they were not complying with the standard of behaviour Heal For Life expects from those involved in its programs and one staff member was made redundant because of a lack of funding," he said.

Mr Fitzgibbon, the federal Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, became a patron of Heal For Life in 2009, when the organisation was called Mayumarri.

Mr Fitzgibbon said he was unaware of the allegations about Heal For Life.

Heal For Life's website names the actress Melissa George as another patron. George, speaking through her agent, said she had not been a patron for "many years".

The Australian Charities and Not-For-Profit Commission would not comment on whether an investigation was taking place.

SA court appoints receivers to liquidate and dismantle financial empire of Agape doomsday cult

September 4, 2014
The Australian

FUGITIVE doomsday cultist Rocco Leo has finally lost control of his financial empire, with a court today placing it in the hands of receivers after years of legal battle.

District Court Judge David Lovell today appointed insolvency firm BRI Ferrier as liquidators of Agape Ministries’ properties, including its former compound at Kuitpo.

The ruling ends the four-year Agape saga and ensures the Australian Taxation Office and disabled former Agape worshipper Sylvia Melchiorre will receive all they are owed by Leo.

Agape Ministries first made headlines in May 2010 when a police raid of its properties seized an arsenal of weapons, high-powered ammunition and explosives.

Leo, the cult’s leader, moved to Fiji and has remained there in defiance of a Holden Hill Magistrates Court warrant for his arrest on charges of assault.

In August 2010, The Advertiser revealed the Agape Ministries financial empire spanned two states, eight properties and a fleet of 13 vehicles, with funds in 10 separate accounts.

Leo and his inner circle, Joe and Mari Antoinette Veneziano, were also named in several lawsuits seeking the return of moneys paid into the cult.

Former members alleged they were duped into handing over up to $1.2 million each byclaims Earth’s population would be impregnated with tiny microchips containing their personal information.

They claimed Leo said those who refused the chip would be branded terrorists and be gassed or beheaded in government-run concentration camps.
Leo allegedly warned that those people who chose to be micro-chipped would also die from slow-release poison hidden within the devices.

Ms Melchiorre, who is profoundly disabled, further claimed Leo promised to keep her safe on “The Island”, a South Pacific location where he would also heal her.

She was subsequently awarded $420,000 compensation, while the ATO was granted $3 million in taxes owed.

Agape was to sell its properties to pay those debts but, despite having a year to act, failed to do so — Ms Melchiorre and the ATO called for liquidators to be appointed.

In June, Judge Lovell gave the cult one final chance to settle its own affairs but, despite a series of auctions, the properties failed to sell.

Today Gillian Walker, for the ATO, said the court must intervene because Agape was continuing to delay its judgment day.

“We and Ms Melchiorre’s counsel have suggested lowering the minimum sale prices for the properties, on the basis of the recommendations of real estate agents,” she said.

“Agape has refused to reduce its reserve prices ... the properties have not been sold and the actions we’ve suggested have not been taken.

“A considerable amount of time has been allowed to explore post-auction interest but it seems the attitude of Agape is the issue ... we say receivers should be appointed.”

Judge Lovell agreed and made the order.


  • 20 May, 2010: SA Police raid the Agape Ministries compound at Kuitpo and seize ammunition, high-powered weapons and explosives.
  • 21 May, 2010: Further raids uncover more weaponry — including ammunition stored inside metal bed frames — while police continue searching for cult leader Rocco Leo and his inner circle.
  • 22 May 2010: The Advertiser reveals Leo once gave evidence in court, after refusing to swear on the Bible, about being “threatened by heavily-armed Columbians”.
  • 23 May 2010: Former parishioners reveal they were being trained in marksmanship to protect their “Holy Land Hideout” from impending armageddon.
  • 27 May 2010: The search for Leo shifts to the South Pacific, the same region in which he claimed “The Island” would provide protection for the faithful.
  • 3 June 2010: Profoundly disabled former parishioner Sylvia Melchiorre sues Agape, saying it duped her out of her life savings with promises of miracle healing that will help her walk again.
  • 28 June 2010: The Australian Tax Office reveals Agape received tax breaks for 10 years because of its official status as a religion.
  • 1 July 2010: Agape faithful Raphael and Patricia Azariah speak publicly to The Advertiser, insisting their faith is not apocalyptic and they are normal Christians.
  • 2 July 2010: E-mails, allegedly sent by Leo, accuse authorities of framing the cult and “witch-hunting” its leadership.
  • 3 July 2010: SA Police launch investigation into allegations Leo assaulted the former husband of a parishioner in an incident at Adelaide Airport before he fled the country.
  • 8 July 2010: The mother and brother of Raphael Azariah make a public appeal for him to leave the cult and return to them. It goes unanswered.
  • 5 August 2010: Senior Agape member John Mouhalos is reported missing. In court, lawyers acting for Leo offer to “refund” Ms Melchiorre’s life savings.
  • 16 August 2010: The Advertiser reveals the scope of Agape’s two-state, multi million-dollar empire of cars, properties and bank accounts.
  • 21 August 2010: Agape countersues another former member, Martin Penney, who is seeking reimbursement of the money he paid into the cult.
  • 16 November 2010: Leo publicly vows to return to SA to face the assault case, which is proceeding before the Holden Hill Magistrates Court.
  • 18 November — 23 November, 2010: The ATO strips the cult of its tax-exempt status, succeeds in having Agape’s assets frozen and tells the District Court it is owed $4 million.
  • 3 December 2010: The ATO tells the court Leo tried to “hide” a further $5.6 million from its accountants by moving money from one account to another.
  • 21 January 2010: Leo fails to attend court on the assault charge, claiming his life is in danger. Mr Azariah’s mother and brother claim all Agape members have moved interstate.
  • 26 June 2011: Leo and his inner circle are arrested in a Fijian resort following a commando-style raid.
  • 27 July 2011: Then-Director of Public Prosecutions Stephen Pallaras, QC, announces Leo’s extradition will not be sought, and he will not be prosecuted, over the May 2010 raids.
  • 7 August 2011: The Sunday Mail reports Leo and his inner circle are being held, by Fijian authorities, in a Pacific coastal resort. They are eventually released and remain overseas.
  • 1 September 2011: Leo, instructing his lawyers by Skype, makes one last-ditch effort to fight off the compensation claims filed by the ATO and Ms Melchiorre.
  • 8 May 2012: Leo and Mr Penney settle their lawsuit out of court.
  • 4 June 2012: Ms Melchiorre is awarded $420,000, and the ATO $3 million.
  • 11 April 2013: John Mouhalos is found in Victoria where, he claims, he was hiding out from the cult. He is prosecuted for firearms charges and released on a bond.
  • 24 June 2013: The District Court orders Agape’s financial empire be dismantled and all proceeds from the sales of its properties go to the ATO and Ms Melchiorre.
  • 18 June 2014: The ATO and Ms Melchiorre ask a receiver be appointed as almost 12 months have passed without the sale of a single asset.
  • 30 June 2014: Judge David Lovell gives the cult one last chance to settle its own debts by selling the properties at auction.
  • 8 August 2014: The cult’s properties are passed in at auction without a single bid.
  • 4 September 2014: Judge Lovell appoints the receivers.

Hotel Palomar joins Hilton family as Highland Dallas

Teresa Gubbins.
August 8, 2014

As of August 6, the Hotel Palomar Dallas has a new name and owner. According to a notice posted on the Palomar's website, the property is now the Highland Dallas Hotel.

The property will become part of a new Hilton brand called Curio. Kimpton Hotels is no longer involved.

According to the Dallas Morning News, the new owner is Thayer Lodging Group, a hotel investment company with a management division called Interstate Hotels & Resorts. Interstate's portfolio includes 17 hotels around DFW, mostly in the Mid-Cities, including the Hilton Arlington.

A manager onsite said that he came up from the Hilton Houston as part of a task force to take over the day-to-day operations. "Some things will change," he said, but the appearance and staff would mostly be left as is, including the Exhale spa and the hotel's hot new restaurant, Knife Modern Steak, helmed by chef John Tesar.

But Interstate senior VP Fred DeSota was quoted as saying that the guest rooms and corridors would be given a makeover.

Speculation regarding the sale began in May; it does not include the condominium tower next door, which will get a new name, decided upon by the residents who own units there.

The hotel began as a Hilton when it opened in the '60s. During the '90s, it became the "Hiltop," with the lettering remaining on the building for many years. It was also owned by the Maharishi School of Vedic Science, an organization founded by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Kimpton took over the hotel in 2004.

The Palomar site refers those seeking Kimpton reservations to the Hotel Lumen, with promise of future openings in Austin and San Antonio.

Idaho polygamous sect follower in plea deal over child injury offenses

Laura Zuckerman
September 3, 2014
Salmon, Idaho

(Reuters) - A follower of a breakaway Mormon polygamous sect who came under public scrutiny after eight boys were taken from his Idaho home in a police raid will plead guilty to child-injury offenses in a plea agreement, prosecutors said on Wednesday.

Nathan Jessop was cited with three misdemeanor counts of injury to a child last month for confining one of the boys in a tiny furnace room as punishment for alleged misbehavior and for failing to report two teens as runaways after they fled his home.

Under the plea deal that must still be approved in court later this month, Jessop would serve 10 days in jail and two years of probation in the case, said Bannock County Deputy Prosecutor Ashley Graham.

Prosecutors say Jessop was the assigned caretaker of boys banished from their polygamous sect to a so-called repentance home on the outskirts of Pocatello in southeastern Idaho for alleged infractions of church rules such as criticizing plural marriage.

His job was to “reprogram” the teens for the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and to remove them from a flock where they might compete with older men for young women wanted as wives, prosecutors said.

The parents of the teens had agreed to the arrangement and several had not spoken with their sons for several years, according to a police report after the raid.

The report said Jessop sometimes punished the children for alleged misbehavior by hitting them on the head with a stick and by forcing them outdoors in the winter for hours at a time and denying them food.

The children were taught at the home by another sect follower, Tammy Jessop, who told authorities the discipline of the church was severe but that members of the faith “need to be prepared to follow and conform to the rules.”

Of the eight boys, ages 13 to 17, seized from the home, two were placed in foster care and six others were returned to their parents, who are adherents of the FLDS sect led by imprisoned sex offender Warren Jeffs.

Jeffs, 58, is serving a life term plus 20 years in prison for his 2011 sexual assault conviction relating to what his sect called "celestial marriages" to two underage girls at a religious compound in Texas.

Nathan Jessop's attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment after business hours on Wednesday.

Sex abuse dance teacher Grant Davies ran ‘cult-like’ studio

September 5, 2014

THE husband of a woman who took explicit photographs of her daughters for a Sydney dance schoolteacher has said she had become ensnared by the teacher’s charisma.

The mother, who can’t be named for legal reasons, pleaded guilty to producing and disseminating child abuse material following an investigation into alleged sexual and indecent assaults on dance students by their teacher Grant Davies.

Sydney’s District Court has heard that over almost three years the mother took numerous photos of her daughters for Davies, some of which depicted them performing sexually explicit acts.

At her sentencing hearing, her husband described the dance studio as cult-like, and said his wife acted as if she was “under a spell”.

When he raised concerns over the long hours his wife and two children would spend at the studio, he explained it was like talking to a “zombie”.

“I had no control over my wife and two daughters,” he said, adding that his wife had always been “a loving, caring mother”.

The court previously heard extracts from a series of texts allegedly sent between Davies and the mother on November 8, 2011 about her daughters.

When he allegedly requested some “special G-shots”, half an hour later the mother sent sexually explicit photos of her daughter. “Now that has made me excited. I’m so lucky,” Davies allegedly responded.

When Judge Peter Zahra asked the father for his views about these, he said it was a “different person” to the woman he married 16 years ago.

“She unfortunately, I believe, came across a very evil person and she was too weak to resist the temptation he put in front of her.”

He said his wife, who was taken into custody last month, should not be imprisoned but instead be allowed back home.

“They (my children) really are suffering tremendously without her. We all are.”

The woman has pleaded guilty to two counts of using a child under the age of 14 for the production of child abuse material and two counts of disseminating child abuse material.

Davies ran a studio in Sydney’s inner west and trained performers for hit productions, including Billy Elliot.

He is facing more than 50 charges, including child sex and child pornography offences.

She will be sentenced on September 19.