From April 25th 2009, until March 10, 2010., I reported on the Prakashanand Saraswati trial for the blog: Guruphiliac.com. I am reposting the series of five articles here as an archive. The following was my first article for that blog.
[Guruphiliac Ed.note: This is the first of what we hope will be many stories written by the readers of this blog. This first piece about Prakashaka BOOM, longtime Gp target Kreepalu's agent in America, is excellent and sets the bar quite high at the onset.]
25 April 2009 — Last year on this day, Swami Prakashanand Saraswati was cooling his heels in a prison in Alexandria, Virginia. Today he is obsessively compulsively flying back and forth from India to Austin; perhaps trying to shore up his life before he returns to jail — permanently.
Last year, on Thursday, April 24, 2008, after exiting an international flight at Washington Dulles International Airport, Prakashanand was taken into custody by U.S. Marshals from the Capital Area Regional Fugitive Task Force and arrested on 20 counts of indecency with a child. From that afternoon until Saturday afternoon, he was in the custody of law enforcement officers. If justice is served, he will spend the rest of his life in their company.
However, for the past year he has been free on one million dollars bail for the case involving two female minors. He also has a $10 million bond posted by one of his wealthy followers to ensure that he shows up for pre-trial hearings and the trial. The bond was posted so that he could receive his passport back. One stipulation of his bond is that he cannot step one foot back into the multi-million dollar ashram he built southwest of Austin with followers’ money. When in Austin, he stays two miles down the road at a home owned by one of his followers.
He has spent a considerable amount of time and money trying to move heaven and earth to get back into his “magical kingdom.” But so far Hays Judge Charles R. Ramsay has said no way two times. Now Prakashanand is trying his luck with the Texas 3rd Court of Appeals.
He also appears to be fighting like hell to postpone the actual trial for as long as humanly possible. In fact, for the past year he has not had one single pre-trial hearing. In the past year, Prakashanand’s case has been set and reset eight times, according to an article published Friday by Eric Dexheimer, an Austin American-Statesman journalist following the case. He wrote: “Prakashanand’s case has been winding through the court system at an unusually slow pace.” The Hays DA said in an email to him: “It is true that cases typically are not reset or canceled this many times in my experience.”
Although the Hays County DA has not revealed why the hearings have been delayed, rumors indicate that the excuses include Prakashanand claiming illness and hiring new lawyers (who then need time to get up to speed on the case).
The main reason is likely that he is praying for miracle: Hoping that his bad karma will all just go away.
You can be sure that Prakashanand is sparing no expense (of his followers’ donations) for the most aggressive legal defense. On one recent document submitted to the 3rd Court for his appeal there were seven lawyers cited. One of his lawyers brags on his firm’s website about his history of keeping accused murders and child molesters out of jail.
Since Prakashanand’s arrest, Barsana Dham has propagated much misinformation. Most notably, they have been telling followers and new parishioners that the women in the indictment are claiming sexual abuse by Prakashanand, because “they are angry at their parents” and “mad that they had to grow up in Barsana Dham.” Nothing could be further from the truth.
The two women are, in fact, among the bravest people on the planet. They stood up to this man and his criminal behavior when so many others have left the organization quietly or turned a blind eye to the truth.
But Barsana Dham’s preachers and other higher-ups have not only committed lies of commission regarding this case. They have also omitted sharing several salient points including:
The Hays County Sheriff’s office conducted a criminal investigation before they arrested Prakashanand.
The Hays DA presented the case to a 12-member Grand Jury. This means that 12 citizens of Hays County heard the state’s case and agreed that there was enough evidence to indict Prakashanand of 20 counts of indecency with a child.
Four branches of the law were involved in Prakashanand’s arrest — which could have occurred in Austin, Texas: But didn’t.
Barsana Dham’s leadership calls former members “demons,” because they are speaking out about Prakashanand’s (and Barsana Dham’s other guru, Kripalu Maharaj’s) criminal behavior. The organization forbids current members to have any contact with them. Barsana Dham prefers its ex-members to just go away quietly — and, of course, has profited from people doing just that for decades.
Prakashanand’s lawyers are bending the truth on his filings, including the brief to the 3rd Court of Appeals.
The irony is that Prakashanand’s followers treat him as if he is God. So, why aren’t they asking themselves: How could God get himself into such a mess — and, even more telling, why can’t he gracefully get himself out?
Anonymous: Thank you for writing this.
Anonymous: good luck to the women. and we need more judges like this man, he seems the decent sort. this is what happens when the blind lead the blind and the blind follow the blind. a huge circus!
Anonymous said: Many thanks to the author of this very concise and, I would precise piece. I echo the authors comments the two girls who took this action against Prakashanand are extremely brave and I hope that in the end justice is served and their effort is not in vain. On reading this article one question kept coming to mind, if Prakashanand is guilt free then why would he not be running into the courtroom to protest his innocence? I think this is a key question whilst considered in the context of Prakashanand's policy to continually delay the trial. x-devotees and objective observers alike might be forgiven to conclude that Prakashanand is hiding something, or many a lot? One can speculate that if he is proven guilty more women might be encouraged to come forward? I don't live in the U.S. but having a good understanding of how the legal system works over there I am surprised that Prakashanand is not anxious to get on with the trail to prove his innocence. I can only concluded that he is way in over his head at this stage in the game and he is running scared. To Prakashanand's 'loyal' devotees I would recommend that at the very least you should step back from the organization at this point. Ok so you've invested a lot of money and time. Perhaps you have introduced a lot of people to the movement and maybe your kids have grown up with to be part of the movement? Take away the good things that you learned, the positive aspects of being associated with the organization. But right now the most rational thing to do is take a break. If Prakashanand is proven innocent you can always step back in and take up where you left off. If he is proven guilty and goes to jail then you won't feel like you have been completely fooled. Finally, and again to current devotees, you can have a spiritual life away from Barsana Dahm. It's a big lie that God only exists for Prakashanand and the movement. I write as an exdevotee who is in no way angry about what is going on, I left the movement long before this all came to light. I still believe in the first lesson Prakashanand taught me - 'be good and do good' but I doubt that he really believes these words, which I heard him speak on many occasions.
See original post here: http://guruphiliac.blogspot.com/2009/04/one-year-arrest-update-on-prakashanand.html