Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Dhira Govinda (David Wolf) Responds (ISKCON CPO Issue)

[PADA: See below: Growing Consensus of Various Ex-kulis] 

Dhira Govinda and the ISKCON Child Protection Office:

[PADA: Lets face it, more people are catching on to the GBC's hidden agenda.]

Reply to Letters from Sanaka Rsi


Since there is discussion about procedures of the ISKCON Central Office of Child Protection, I thought to share a few comments of an historical nature.

Quoting from the chapter Child Abuse and the Hare Krishnas, in The Hare Krishna Movement: The Postcharismatic Fate of a Religious Transplant (Columbia University Press- 2004)-

"In 1997 the GBC established the ISKCON Child Protection Task Force, whose assignment was to develop a comprehensive plan for ISKCON to address past, present, and future cases of child abuse, as well as a system for child protection education. The Task Force is composed of ISKCON youth, ISKCON leaders, and devotees with professional credentials in social work and law. At the annual GBC meetings early in 1998 the GBC ratified a lengthy report issued by the Task Force. 

[PADA: The only reason that happened is that the Windle Turley lawsuit was being organized, and the GBC knew they were in hot water. So they made some sort of short term committee as a smokescreen that they were trying to care for the children the whole time.]

DG: The Task Force Report established guidelines and policies for the operations of the APVC (also known as the CPO- Child Protection Office), including the investigative and adjudicatory procedures. The Task Force did an excellent service in producing the Task Force Report. This is not self-glorification. It is appreciation for the efforts of the individuals on the ISKCON Child Protection Task Force. I was not on that committee. 

I am expressing appreciation for the ISKCON GBC, for forming the Task Force and following its recommendation to establish, and fund (substantially, for at least some period of time).

[PADA: Right, as soon as they felt the imminent legal danger was over then the funding went down, at least as we heard from a report.] 

The GBC deserves much credit for this.

[PADA: If they only fund things when there is trouble on the horizon?]

DG: In doing that I'm not referring to enforcement. The CPO would issue official decisions that provided directives and guidelines. How effectively, or sincerely, various devotees in positions of leadership in the ISKCON organization would enforce the injunctions of CPO official decisions- that's another discussion.

[PADA: Well no, its not another issue, its the essence of the whole point of having a CPO committee. What is the use of a "child protection office" if there is no relevant enforcement of their conclusions? And what happens when important leaders like Hrdayananda / Brahmatirtha -- aka Bob Cohen and others try to undercut the conclusions of the CPO?]

Sanaka quoted me- "Related to what you present, I remember several cases of those who were in leadership positions -- or were friends with those in leadership positions -- who would cry out, in the name of fairness and justice, about the unfairness of the CPO and its procedures…" – in the vast majority of such cases those in leadership positions found no reason for such theatrics. Rather, they would, simply, flout the CPO decision- disregard it, ignore it- not enforce it.

[PADA: Right, if some of the the GBC leaders will simply disregard the conclusions of the CPO, what is the value of the committee making a ruling?]

In writing about "those in leadership positions", I do not mean to paint with too broad a brush. Definitely there were (and, no doubt, are) devotees serving in leadership positions who consistently demonstrated sober, fair-minded, balanced views, which were reflected in their actions, in relation to child protection in Srila Prabhupada's movement. For example, I found Badrinarayana Prabhu (now Maharaja) and Anuttama Prabhu to be in that category, and I know that they, and many others, were actively concerned about child protection in Srila Prabhupada's movement for many years before I was requested by the GBC, in 1998, to get involved in the international child protection scene.

[PADA: OK so the GBC overall -- lets say as a group -- has been teaching children that God's guru successors are often debauchees. At least according to Jayadvaita swami, their messiahs from heaven can fall into "being engaged in illicit sex with men, women and children." How is it protecting children to say God is a giant deviant because His successors are often sick, twisted, sexual predators, criminals and deviants? 

Why would we even tell ANY children ANYWHERE that God has: debauchees,  sexual predators, porno swamis, drug addicts, alcoholics and criminals in His "guru chain of successors"? This is harming children right out of the gate! God is pure, therefore, His successors are often putrid and smelly sinners?]

An instance that comes to mind is that of Jayadvaita Swami and the case of Dhanurdhara Maharaja. It's almost two decades now, and I'm fuzzy on the details. Definitely I remember, though, that Jayadvaita Swami and I had lots of communication regarding the case of Dhanurdhara Maharaja. I remember at least one phone conversation of well over an hour (maybe more than 2 or 3 hours). Jayadvaita Swami had some messages he wanted to express, and that he wanted me and everyone involved in the case, to clearly understand. Though my understanding is that Jayadvaita Swami and Dhanurdhara Swami were and are friends, I didn't get that Jayadvaita Swami was primarily coming from "he's my friend". Rather, he was coming from "Dhanurdhara Swami is a potent preacher with much to contribute to Srila Prabhupada mission, and that ought to be seriously considered." I completely appreciated all aspects of these exchanges with Jayadvaita Swami. 

[PADA: OK and Jayadvaita swami (Jay Israel) is the main person who says God's "guru" successors are falling into illicit sex with men, women and children? So we should appreciate these deviants / or their supporters as "sincere preachers"? What kind of sincere preacher tells children that God is a deviant because His guru succession contains sick deviants, and the guru is shaksat hari as good as God?]

DG: Over the years I've often found that when there are discussions related to Child Protection Office procedures, some or many think or state something to the effect of "Well, why doesn't ISKCON just refer all cases to the police….." I encountered that recently, in a thread on fbook, and below I'm including my reply to that thread.

I hope this meets all recipients of this message enthused in Krsna consciousness. Hare Krsna.

Your servant,
Dhira Govinda dasa

David Wolf

Satvatove Institute School of Transformative Coaching- Director

"There is a simple and effective solution …..The GBC should pass a resolution that any behavior they learn about which appears to be child abuse will just be immediately turned over to the law enforcement authorities. if the GBC doesn't do this then each of us as an individual is obliged to do it ourselves."

Based on my experience for more than a decade in the field of child protection in the State of Florida, in capacities such as foster care caseworker, and children and family counselor, and with the ISKCON organization, in my capacity as founder and director for 6+ years of the Association for the Protection of Vaisnava Children, my understanding is that, as a general principle, in relation to cases of alleged child maltreatment from the past, governmental law enforcement and social service authorities won't accept a case, won't investigate it, unless the alleged victim, or perhaps a parent of an alleged victim, files a report, presses charges. I'm thinking of one instance, for example, more than 20 years ago, where several victims of child sexual abuse came forward to report what had happened to them, in their childhood, at the hands of a prominent leader in ISKCON. It was clear that child sexual abuse was perpetrated on them. 

Okay, that's clear, let's take it to law enforcement authorities. I actually went to the sheriff in the locality, and was informed that unless the alleged victims, or their parents (parents acceptable, because the crime happened when the victim was a minor), press charges, the governmental authorities won't do anything. In this particular instance, none of the several victims or their parents were willing, for very understandable reasons, to file charges. 

And, this was in a Western country. In dealing with other countries we'd often run into the scenario, speaking with an adult who was, years earlier, the victim of child sexual abuse within the ISKCON organization, "Speak publicly, to the police or anyone, about what the Maharaja did to me…..okay, then, the next day my mother will be drowned in the Ganges……….. no thank you……" ……..Above I'm speaking about instances of alleged child maltreatment from the past. 

Of course, if we're speaking about any situation where there is reasonable cause to suspect that a child is currently at risk for being neglected or maltreated, then we want to all (and especially those in any sort of leadership position) be responsible to know and follow laws regarding reporting suspected child abuse. In my capacity as director of the Association for the Protection of Vaisnava Children, I always advised- anyone- temple presidents, GBCs, mothers, fathers, teachers, temple devotees- to learn and follow their local laws regarding reporting suspected child maltreatment….. That said, there's also a need for an internal system. Even if it is a situation where governmental social services and law enforcement take action, such agencies and systems won't actively care, for example, whether the convicted perpetrator, after serving time in prison, gives a Bhagavatam class in the temple- internal systems can, ideally, handle such questions. Hare Krsna.

[PADA: Well you have really not addressed the first problem, telling children that God is a deviant because His successors are deviants is corrupting the morals of children from square one. Is it a crime? Probably, we do not find in ANY of the ISKCON incorporation papers that it states "children shall be taught that God is a sick deviant because His chain of guru successors are doing same." It's fraud and it corrupting children. Why is this issue not addressed? That is the first issue, telling children that God's successors are often putrid deviants is a crime against God, society, and children, from square one. ys pd]

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