I've wanted to post this for a long time, the Texas RICO lawsuit filed by Windle Turley, Texas lawyer, on behalf of The Children of ISKCON. I never could remember how to spell that name, but now my recollection is solid, since I realize it's an acronym for "Is Krishna a Con?"
Ya know, I'm not sure how toxic religion has to be before people stop treating it like a harmless thing. Meth is the plague du jour; however, religion is the root of all our problems. Check this complaint out.
The core allegations are in these first two files, which are each just three typewritten pages long. You'll get the gist of the filth from that.
If you want the whole thing, it's 42 pages, so have broadband or be prepared to wait. But it's well-written, and probably 98% true. As my momma would say, "It'll curl your teeth."
What amazes me about ISKCON is the brazenness with which these people operated, according to the complaint, from 1972 through 1990, creating a system in which chidren were subject to routine sexual abuse in an environment created for, and managed by, a gang of dedicated pedophiles. This is the quotation of the acts of abuse, taken directly from the complaint.
B. ABUSE INFLICTED
3. Sexual abuse including rape, oral sex, intercourse with children, sexual fondling of children, and masturbation with children
4. Physical beatings of children with boards, branches, clubs, and poles.
5. Physical beatings by adult teachers and school leaders with fists to the head and stomach.
6. Kicking the children into submission.
7. Children were in some instances made to walk great distances in bitter cold, including snow and rain, without jackets, coats, or shoes.
8. Children were often forced to sleep on cold floors and in unheated rooms.
9. Children were frequently deprived entirely of medical care or provided such inadequate medical care as to suffer long-term and, in some instances, permanent injury. The medical conditions for which children were not treated included malaria, hepatitis, yellow fever, teeth being knocked out, broken facial bones, and broken bones in their hands, often inflicted as they attempted to shield themselves from beatings.
10. Children were sometimes kept in filthy conditions. In at least one instance, a local group utilized what had recently been a cattle or horse barn for a nursery.
11. In almost every school the children were kept in severely overcrowded conditions, often forced to sleep shoulder to shoulder on the floor or in small rooms in three-high bunks with 10 or 12 children to each tiny room.
12. The children were physically abused by being awakened every day in the early morning hours (generally at 4:00 a.m.) and subjected to a cold shower, after which they were taken, without any breakfast, to a daily religious service. At some schools, the children were forced to walk great distances in the dark to attend the service, and often in cold or rainy conditions, clothed only in their thin gown-like "dohti."
13. The children were not provided bathroom tissue, but instead were expected to wipe themselves with their fingers, after which they would dip their fingers into a bowl of water.
14. As punishment for not cleaning themselves thoroughly, children were scrubbed with steel wool until their skin was raw and sometimes bleeding.
15. Children were abused when they were forced to sleep on their wet blankets or in tubs as punishment if they wet their bedding.
16. Some children were forced to wear their soiled underclothes on their heads for long periods of time because they had wet themselves.
17. Children were often forced to go without food entirely, either because there was none, or as punishment when food was provided, it was always inadequate for a growing child's diet.
18. The inadequate food that was provided was often prepared in unsanitary conditions, was of very poor quality and so unpleasant that even hungry children frequently could not eat it In at least one school the children learned as a matter of routine to remove insects from their food before eating it.
19. Each child was expected to eat what they were provided. If they did not do so, their saved portion was kept on their plates until the next meal when it was served again. This process often continued until the cold food -- even moldy and insect-infested - was swallowed.
20. In some schools, children were forced to lick up their vomit from any foul food they may have thrown up.
21. At New Vrindavan, three young boys, about six or seven years of age, who worked in the kitchen, took some food to their hungry friends. They were caught and punished by being gagged, having bags placed over their heads, and being put in a small room for several days with only a bucket for their waste and no food or water. One of the same boys was later slammed by a teacher into a marble wall, resulting in a loss of some teeth and fractured facial bones.
22. Children were controlled by various threats to hurt or kill them and by punishments. Young children, strictly limited to a vegetarian diet, were continually terrorized when told that non-Krishnas were meat-eaters, that they ate each other, and that the children, if given to or taken by the meat-eaters, would themselves be eaten.
23. Children often saw rats in their rooms and schools. Some children (such as those at the school in Dallas) were told the rats lived in a particular old closet, and the child would be, and often was, placed in the closet if they didn't do as told.
24. One form of punishment included forcing little children to stand on a crate for long periods of time in a darkened closet "so the rats would not eat them."
25. Very young children were in fact placed in those dark and locked closets and left afraid and crying for hours at a time. They were locked overnight in dark cellars with dirt floors. One young child was made to sleep alone in the loft of a cold barn for many nights.
26. sometimes the children were sent by their superiors to massage and bathe the religious gurus and then drink their now ''blessed bath water."
27. In some cases, children were stuffed into trash barrels for periods of two to three days, with the lid on, as punishment for relatively trivial "sins."
28. Children were almost universally told that if they disclosed their condition or complained to their parents or others, they would be severely punished when complaints were made, the children were publicly and often severely beaten or subjected to other forms of punishment.
29. Girls, as young as 12 or 13 years, were frequently "given" or "promised" to an older male in the movement. Although their marriages were generally not sexually consummated until the child was at least 16 or 17 years old, the little girls were terrorized by the threats, and often reality, of being given away by their leaders to become engaged to many "strange old men."
30. Children were often forced to lie awake in their beds or sleeping bags and listen as their little friends were sexually molested by teachers and other leaders.
31. The children were emotionally abused by subjecting them to near-total parental and societal isolation. In an effort to totally control their minds, the children were, in most cases, separated and isolated from their parents and were not allowed to have regular contact with their parents. Personal visits, correspondence, and telephone calls were either forbidden or discouraged. Gifts, particularly of food, were intercepted. For example, one young boy felt abandoned by his parents, and had no contact with his family for more than a year. He later learned the one small package of cookies sent by his mother was intercepted and kept from him.
32. Children were frequently moved to different schools in different states without the consent (or, sometimes, knowledge) of parents. Some children were hidden from parents. Some boys were shipped out of the country to ISKCON schools in India. In at least some cases, after the parents discovered their child's whereabouts and made arrangements for them to come home, their plane tickets were intercepted, and torn up in front of the children. Then, these children were punished for their parents' attempt to bring them home.
33. Even though the children were given by their parents to ISKCON to educate, except for the reading of their "Vedic scriptures," the children received little or no education.
34. Because of near-total isolation from the outside world and lack of education, the children who remained within the ISKCON schools for extended periods of time were totally unequipped to enter outside society. They have experienced extreme difficulty in earning a living, entering and maintaining relationships, including marriage, and in adapting to the laws and regulations of society. Many are in need of extended psychological and/or vocational training,rehabilitation, and medical care.
35. Plaintiffs, like almost all of the children who remained within ISKCON schools for any period of time, were forced to work many hours a day, at ages below the applicable minimum age requirements of the state child labor laws in which the schools were located. Compounding this illegal work program put in place by the Defendants in the gurukulas is the fact that none of the Plaintiffs was ever paid for their many hours of labor. Thus, not only were Plaintiffs forced to work by Defendants in violation of applicable child labor laws, but were forced to do so without any compensation whatsoever, robbing them of the value of their work.
36. The widespread use of child labor was a necessary part of the Defendants' scheme. Because Defendants fail to provide adequate staffing to prepare meals, cook, wash dishes and clothes, and clean the facilities and, in some instances, operate the farms, Defendants utilized the children to perform a large portion of these services. This practice fired the children's parents to continue to raise money for ISKCON and to provide other services to the ISKCON enterprise.
37. The founder of the institution, Prabhupada, was informed in 1972, at a time when he totally controlled the institution, that extensive physical and sexual abuse of minor ISKCON children was occurring, but he concealed the wrongdoing from the public, parents and all but a handful of close advisors.
38. Despite having been alerted to the physical, emotional, mental and sexual abuse of children in its gurukula boarding schools and other schools as early as the 1970s, ISKCON and the other Defendants conspired to suppress any public disclosure, or disclosure to gurukula children's parents, of the pattern and practice of rampant abuse and theft at its gurukulas. ISKCON fraudulently concealed this information for decades, allowing the offending gurukula teachers and supervisors continued access to children for their sexual gratification and to subject them to physical, emotional and mental abuse. Defendants also endeavored to dissuade and discourage parents of gurukula children from visiting the schools. This was done at least in part to preserve the secrecy surrounding the abuse of and theft from the Krishna children.
38. ISKCON, by and through its GBC, knew that if it did not conceal and keep secret the theft, sexual, physical, and emotional abuse it had learned was taking place in many of its schools, the very viability of the movement would be jeopardized. ISKCON would face a large loss of students and their parents from the movement and with that a large loss of funds and fundraisers. The individual income of many members of the GBC would have been adversely impacted. Its leaders would also have been subject to criminal and civil sanctions. The GBC made conscious decisions to conceal the fact that injury had been, and was continuing to be, inflicted on minor boys and girls.
The operators of ISKCON used classic techniques of child manipulation to control their victims, once they separated them from their stupid parents, the low-IQ dregs of the psychedelic revolution:
Children were almost universally told that if they disclosed their condition or complained to their parents or others, they would be severely punished when complaints were made, the children were publicly and often severely beaten or subjected to other forms of punishment.
Of course, I'm too harsh on those poor Krishnoids, especially since I was one of the "Children of God," who ultimately created a very similar, sexually-driven hell for their children.
There's a terrible similarity in the stories told by the COG kids at http://www.movingon.org, and as recorded by Miriam Williams in her brilliant book, "Heaven's Harlots," which Altruistic World Online Library has kindly archived at this link: "Heaven's Harlots: My Fifteen Years as a Sacred Prostitute in the Children of God Cult."
How could people be such jerks to kids? How could they use them as the repositories for their cowardly sexual appetites? Why didn't they all have sex with each other, and leave the kids alone? Why were they drawn to use a Blue Man as their cover?
Because of near-total isolation from the outside world and lack of education, the children who remained within the ISKCON schools for extended periods of time were totally unequipped to enter outside society. They have experienced extreme difficulty in earning a living, entering and maintaining relationships, including marriage, and in adapting to the laws and regulations of society. Many are in need of extended psychological and/or vocational training,rehabilitation, and medical care.
The founder of the institution, Prabhupada, was informed in 1972, at a time when he totally controlled the institution, that extensive physical and sexual abuse of minor ISKCON children was occurring, but he concealed the wrongdoing from the public, parents and all but a handful of close advisors.
ISKCON, by and through its GBC, knew that if it did not conceal and keep secret the theft, sexual, physical, and emotional abuse it had learned was taking place in many of its schools, the very viability of the movement would be jeopardized. ISKCON would face a large loss of students and their parents from the movement and with that a large loss of funds and fundraisers. The individual income of many members of the GBC would have been adversely impacted. Its leaders would also have been subject to criminal and civil sanctions. The GBC made conscious decisions to conceal the fact that injury had been, and was continuing to be, inflicted on minor boys and girls.
So it will be clear what kind of hideous correspondence between ISKCON and the Children of God I am talking about, I quote from the 2nd Generation COG website:
You, who call yourselves “the children of God” and “The Family of love”, have sacrificed, deprived and endangered your children all in the name of “saving lost souls”. Did you ever consider the safety, well being and happiness of your own children when you decided to live communally and knowingly allow your children to be in the same household as child molesters and rapists? Sure, the molesters and rapists can be forgiven and perhaps change their names several times to demonstrate that they have “changed” and “repented”. However, these molesters and rapists have never changed and are still the sick people they were 10 names ago. As much as you pray for them and have them “confess their sins,” they continue to roam your homes and prey on your children and your young teens.
I would like to ask you, how are you able to place more value in the life of the “lost souls” then in the life of your own children? What gives you the right to place more value over one life than over another?
I know you believe that you are the “chosen ones” or “the children of god” however, it is one thing to join a cult when you are an adult but it is quite another to force your children to conform to your life style and beliefs. We have observed, over the years, that when we didn’t conform to your standard of living you prayed against us and against our happiness. You have condemned the outsiders or “systemites” as you call them for trying to force you into their mold and their lifestyles (over 30 years ago) and yet you turn around and do the same thing to your own children except you have deprived your children of a descent education and you have allowed for their lives to be jeopardy and the worst part about this is that you justify your actions by professing that you are doing this all in “the name of God”.
Many of your own children are now scared emotionally, psychologically and physically because of what you call “the family of love”, we cannot get back those years of innocence because of your decision to join “the family”. You have also tried to make your children so dependant on you by keeping them in seclusion from the outside world, it was your hope that we would never survive the “real world” if you kept us in seclusion for long enough and brainwashed us with your propaganda. But we survived and we have succeeded in living a positive and productive life in the “real world” or “the system” (as you call it) despite the disadvantages many of us were faced with when we first left.
Some of us may not have made the best decisions but they are our own and we are proud to now have the freedom of expression without restraint or reproach.
Statement of Mr. John LaMattery (Sr) former first-generation member of The Family International (aka. The Children of God) in support of the second-generations’ fight to expose the abuses of the quasi-Christian church of The Family International.
To all past and current first-generation members of The Family International; to ALL our second-generation young people; to the media and; most of all to my own dear children.
My name is John LaMattery. I first joined the Children of God in 1973 and was a full-time member until 1978. I then re-joined in 1985 under its new-name: The Family. I left full-time membership in 1994.
My first son, John LaMattery(Jr), is now standing up to expose the abuses that occurred to many of the children of this group. I would like to say, first of all, how proud I am of my son. It is costing him dearly to make this stand: in finances and health. He is a fine young man who loves his fellowman and has always dealt honestly and truthfully with others. It is true that he suffered sexual abuse as a 9 year old. I would like to say that I was aware of this and failed to intervene on his behalf. I am ashamed that I failed my son and that I did not take steps to protect him from this. In fact, I sanctioned the incident that he refers to in news accounts. I was terribly mistaken in my judgment. I failed to guard him and to keep him out of harms way. For this I am truly sorry. I will not make any excuses for this failure. It was wrong and it is something that I will have to carry to my grave as a terrible mistake made in my life. As King David wrote: “my sin is ever before me.”
Two of my 6 daughters also suffered sexual abuse at the hands of Family members. I was not aware of these until years later but it still remains that because I kept my children in this organization I, whether knowingly or unknowingly, exposed them to an environment which allowed such things to occur. I regret that this happened to them. By placing my children into harms way I must take full responsibility for the results of this in their lives today.
All my children suffered some form of abuse. Not all necessarily sexual. There were other abuses such as psychological which were degrading to their character or frightening to their young minds and spirits. They were deprived of a proper education, asked to go out on the streets and door-to-door nearly daily to raise funds for our living. They were separated from each other and made to live in locations away from their natural family. In essence their family unit was virtually destroyed while at the same time they were made to feel guilty for missing their brothers and sisters, father and mother. This is such a sad and regretful set of circumstances.
These events in my children’s lives are a sad blot on their childhood memories. I regret that as a parent I failed to provide them with the love and care, the oversight and proper attention that are expected of any loving and concerned parent. I hope that in some way they will find complete healing and that the hurt and pain which I allowed into their lives will some day fully heal.
I would also like to say I am very sorry to all the children in The Family whether you ever suffered sexual abuse or not. I am sorry that I didn’t fight for your rights and fight against the terrible insidious doctrine of ‘the law of love’, a doctrine which was twisted by many of my generation to give license to abuse you in one form or another. It is a doctrine which, through my recent conversations with some current members, is still strongly adhered to and professed to be a true and pure doctrine of The Family International. I do believe that Jesus Christ came to this earth to bring His pure and sacred new law: to love God and to love our neighbors as ourselves. But The Family has, in my opinion and judging by their fruits, grossly misinterpreted it and misused it. This is a sad testimony to the many honest and good people who originally joined this Christian movement. Some got out when they saw things were going wrong. I, regretfully, did not.
Through much prodding by my children and family I am now standing up to voice my condemnation of The Family International. Not the poor and blind souls of the average member, for they are but sheep, but I stand to condemn specifically Karen Zerby (aka Maria) and her hubris of continuing to promote, oh so subtlety, her long held doctrine of the ‘law of love’ which continues to this very day to cause widespread justification for the abuses of the past. It is this doctrine in particular that I believe has created a fundamental mindset which prevents first-generation adults to admit to any wrong doing concerning inappropriate behavior between adults and children in the past. It is, I believe, the mindset which caused Angela Smith (Sue) to continue to question what she had done wrong to Ricky as he was slitting her throat. It is the mindset that is causing Ricky’s own mother and leader of The Family to place the blame for the tragic fruit of her own body on so-called apostates instead of squarely on her own shoulders and the shoulders of her idol namely David Berg, founder of The Children of God.
There is no excuse for what I have caused my children to suffer. I take no refuge in the fact that I was a member of this group and believed in this doctrine of the ‘law of love’ as they put it. I voluntarily gave my mind, heart and soul to follow what was a lie and a deceptive doctrine of love. It was not the true love of God and I believe that we as parents must look honestly in the face of the children that we have produced and are still producing and say to ourselves “where did I go wrong?”
I call on all FIRST-GENERATION current and former members of The Family International to now follow me in supporting our children as they raise their voices to cry out against the lies and the falsehoods that they suffered under. I call on my generation to step forward and come out of the shadows and be counted. Perhaps you never personally witnessed the sexual abuse that many have suffered. But, I pled with you now to look deep into your heart and deep into God’s Holy Word and honestly admit that what David Berg preached and what Maria has continued to preach namely, that “whatever is done in love is right in the sight of God” was twisted and wrestled by them and thus has borne the terrible fruit of suicide and murder in their own home. Do not allow them to pass this blame any longer on to others. Do not, I beg you, allow them to run from the light of the truth of their actions. Do not allow them to continue to twist the truth to support their interpretation of God’s Word.
Our children need our full support now. They need to know that we love them even if it means a total destruction of our own livelihoods, the loss of friends and reputation. Fail not to remember that “greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” If Christ asked us to do that for our friends then, I ask you, what would He expect us to give to save our children?
My son has said “it’s a war now between ourselves and our parents”. Let us unite with our children and turn this war towards those who share in our guilt but who continue to hide in the shadows and refuse to take account for their participation in following this false doctrine of love which reaped sorrow and pain in the lives of so many of our children. Stand up and make your voice clear that the “love” so preached was tainted by the lascivious ranting of a false prophet and was and still is supported by pride and arrogance, lies and deceptions in the person of Maria. We are all truly guilty of allowing this into our lives for whatever reason. We all share in this to some degree. Some more than others but as all Nazis’ shared in some part the blame for allowing Hitler to rise so we all share in our sin of not resisting the evil, not fighting the injustices and in not standing by the side of our children in their desperate hour of need. And let us remember what the Psalmist wrote in the 15th Psalm: “Lord, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? Who shall dwell in thy holy hill? He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart. In whose eyes a vile person is contemned; but he honoureth them that fear the Lord. He that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not.”
To the first generation I finally say, "May God help each of us, may He have mercy on our souls and may we pray that our children will in time forgive us."
And to you of the second generation I sadly say, "I'm sorry for failing you and for letting you down. I hope that many will now stand up to support you in your fight."
Posted: Thu Mar 24, 2005 5:50 pm Post subject: Statement of Mr. John LaMattery (Sr)