Temple man quits over beating scandal
The president of a Hare Krishna temple in Letchmore Heath has been forced to resign after being found guilty of beating students in India.
Gauri Das, president of Bhaktivedanta Manor, in Hilfield Lane, inflicted “inappropriate and excessive corporal punishment”, according to a report published this week.
The abuse occurred during his time teaching at the Vrndavana Gurukula school between 1991 and 2001.
The child protection branch of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), leading the investigation, refused to reveal the ages of the students involved or the extent of the abuse, but 17 students and three adults have given statements against the temple leader.
Following the findings, Gauri Das has been banned from serving in a position of leadership or teaching in temples for the next three years.
He has also been ordered to pay $3,000 to projects benefiting Hare Krishna children.
The first wave of allegations against Gauri Das was investigated in May 1995 by ISKCON.
At the time, it acknowledged the beatings but said they were not “serious”.
After the founding of the organisation’s child protection branch, based in Florida, the investigation into Gauri Das was reopened in 2006, resulting in Monday’s report.
Staff and advisors of the International Cultic Studies Association (ICSA) — the primary network of lay and professional cult experts — “have had fruitful exchanges with leaders of the Hare Krishna movement, which appears to be struggling with genuine attempts to reform the organization from within.” [Source]
The organization has an extensive collection of resources on the Hare Krishna movement, including material that addresses the movement’s responses to abuse issues.