Victims Over 50 Years Must Speak to Defeat Wickedest of Swamis

By Jayne Lyons

Women and men who have been victims of abuse know how dangerous it is to speak out against their abuser.

Especially if the abuser is a rich, powerful traumatizing narcissist, like J. Michael Shoemaker.

J. Michael Shoemaker off to Gold Beach

A portrait of Michael Shoemaker AKA Swami Chetananda levitating in the heavens.  If he can fool you into thinking he can levitate, how many other stupid things will you believe? 

The damaging impacts of criminal, toxic, abusive people in leadership positions are often known for years before they are held to account.

That can only happen when the sheer volume of complaints about the abusive individual is impossible to silence anymore.


Keith Rainere

Jeffery Epstein

Bill Cosby

Harvey Weinstein

Jim Jones

David Koresh among others.

Frank, how long did it take to bring Keith Rainere to justice?

Tell Your Story

Sometimes it takes movie stars, think Nxivm, Olympic gold medal winners, think Larry Nassar or a Congressional visit to an isolated compound, think Jim Jones to cause justice to rain down on abuse.

Don’t stop telling your experiences to Frank, bring to light what you saw, what you heard, what you experienced.

There are 50 years of abuse to expose. Please bring forward what has been hidden.


Do the early members who left have more to tell?

Swami Khecaranatha AKA Steve Ott.

I wrote to Steve Ott, who calls himself Swami Khecaranatha. He runs a spiritual center, Heart of Consciousness, “based” on Rudi’s teachings.

Rudi, the guru of both Khecaranath and Chetanananda

I wrote to Swami Khecaranatha, who was associated with J. Michael Shoemaker, AKA Swami Chetanananda.

I found a Dec. 21, 2021 social media post by Natasha, a former member of Shoemaker’s Movement Center in Portland, Oregon.

She attempted suicide.

I sent Khecaranatha part of Natasha’s post.

Natasha with Swami Chetanananda

Natasha wrote: “I know I have gone back and forth on sharing about this matter – and yet it is just a reflection of the intense state of self-doubt and insecurity that that man’s mental games with me have brought me to.

“The trust that a true spiritual aspirant places upon a teacher is sacred, and it is my saddest and most painful experience that Swami holds no respect or appreciation for that extremely vulnerable aspect of his students.”

No Real Answer From Khecaranatha

This is the answer I got back from the Swami Khecaranatha.

Swami Khecaranatha is NOT associated with Swami Chetanananda. Khecaranatha broke with him about 20 years ago. Although there may indeed be merit to the issues listed below, please understand that we do not condone any misuse of power, spiritual or otherwise.

Khecaranatha’s answer was basically: “See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil….stay hidden and quiet, maybe the monster will go away.”

He might have added, “We certainly aren’t going to step forward and call out what we know and why we ‘broke’ with Shoemaker 20 years ago!”

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  • There are monsters in almost all organisations their time is up in hell! When the victims bites the rapist with razor sharp teeth over and over eating away till there is nothing left, then the viles body regenerates and the process repeats with more and more pain over and over until the victims are satisfied and release the vile into the next pit of hell severed flesh in other ways until the victim is satisfied then to the next pit out of 13 million pits of hell! Just wait you vile rapist your time will come the punishment in this human form is nothing compared to what you suffer!

  • Swami Chetanananda: Trump- level narcissist, psychopath (no remorse, no conscience), manipulator. Deviant.
    Sadhvi: Search and Rescue means: Go find and go rescue your own humanity and heart. Cold, cult adminstrator. Looked upon everyone with disdain. huh?
    Theresa Smith (now Kahn): Pay your bills, you loser. Game player, back stabber, gossiper, muscled people for years.
    Tom Fabrizio: Neanderthal man. Threatened a disabled person in the ashram once. A complete asshole who has no friends.
    Viktor: Special deal. Will blow out some day, as his special deal goes south.
    Anna Brook: an idiot, who blew out of the place to do ayawasca. Then, returned and moved to gold Beach. A known twirly -bird, fool.
    The Manson Sisters: Jen and Moni, emotionally disturbed, maniacs, who excel at doing harm to people. They represent the worst of this community.
    Jesse Sweeney: A pervert.
    Ruth Graham: Perpetual adolescent. Had her 15 minutes of fame.
    Jessica Becker: No credibility on any level. Next.
    Sean and Fumi: Had a special deal, but blew out. Ego fest.
    Tara Israel: Has a special deal. But–she isn’t special.
    Anyone who thinks, or thought they have and or had a special deal with Swami: You been had!
    And, a note to Steve Ott, now Swami Keccarantha: once and ass, always an ass. But–to his credit, no longer associated with the Curch of Divine Dirty Business.

    • I’m guessing you got had too, thus the bitterness of this reply. What was it? Money?

      What’s funny is that your name calling doesn’t do anything for anyone, It’s a non-story. Its like youre trying to soothe yourself of something without any actual effort. Maybe your conscience? Maybe you want this whole exposure thing to collapse so you don’t have to eat your crow, and thus this comment is hoping to deflate and scare other potential sources to kill the story? I don’t know.

      I’d rather be an adolescent trying to do the right thing than whatever this is, so thank you for the compliment.

  • Yall just dont understand, everyone in the world is stupid and no one understands him – but he’s the good and everyone else is the bad, you’re just not special enough to see it.

    Theres nothing more for him to learn, or higher perspective or knowledge than his, so why would he ever listen to anyone at all, there is no point, everyone in the world is worthless to him. He has nothing to learn from anyone.

    So what if he severely damages high quality women with his antics, he just hasn’t found a good enough woman yet, just you wait.. he wont change his ways or give up until he’s found her, cause women are useless anyways so what if he permanently damages a few hundred in his wake?

  • Wouldn’t it be more appropriate, prior to readers judging Steve Ott’s / Swami K’s response, to be able to read the letter he’s replying _to_? Without that context it’s impossible to interpret how he intends the last sentence, which doesn’t make sense without knowing what he’s referring to as “the merit of the issues listed below”.

    • Yes, re Steve Ott. Kudos to him for cutting ties with Chetanananda. However, Steve Ott is still a jerk. Once a jerk, always a jerk. BTW- no one changes. Despite a lifetime of trying.

      • heard ott sold the community-supported center in san francisco, then took the proceeds and bought himself a place in Hawaii… very nice!!! sounds a lot like a certain swami in Gold Beach…

  • The story is as dead as a door nail. Chetanananda is a proven asshole. We all know that. But, there is something to be learned, even from assholes. Sadhvi is a cult facilitator, we also know that. There is nothing that can be learned from her, other than how not to live life. Theresa, (Swami’s long time aid), should be taken to task for her part in this cult like atmosphere. Otherwise, shut the idiots down: Jessica Becker, and Ruth Graham. And, let’s all move on with our lives. Frank: you are running out of things to write about here. Let it die.

    • I’m pretty insulted you put me in the same category as Becker, Horsetail. I’ve never claimed I’m a genius of her caliber. Its not fair to geniuses.

    • Horsetail says stop writing articles, Frank.
      Horsetail says that Ruth and Jessica are idiots.
      Horsetail says let the story die.
      Who the fuck made you Guru? Haven’t we all had enough of assholes telling us what to do?

    • I’m with Horsetail. I don’t think this story is dead by a long shot. I just don’t think this forum is helpful or healthy to the cause.

      Total lack of trauma-informed humans on here. This is my first comment for a FR story and I have been watching for a few months.

      I wish I had said something when Jessica manically posted “I got out, so can you…. and “call me” because I figured something like this might happen. She looked desperate to glom on to someone. Hurt people, hurt people.

      She’s clearly a deeply disturbed woman and has asserted she’s back on hard drugs, which is a cause for great concern, and is currently of no use to herself, much less anyone else. Someone should probably check on her.

      Either Frank is blocking her comments because as vocal as she has been, it seems she would respond to all this bile (seriously humans, be better than the people you are writing about) or she’s somewhere unresponsive.

      Hope someone here has enough decency to be on top of that. Judging from the comments, I would guess not.

      • I am not blocking her comments. And I recently got a text from her. She says she is busy with school and is not reading the comments as much.

        I expect that will change. But there are others who have come to me quietly and are close to telling their stories.

      • The comments don’t make it easy for trauma victims to speak out, that’s certainly true. However, Frank’s blog has been the only avenue for these stories to finally come out into the open and for people to see who Shoemaker is and what he’s been doing to his female students for decades. Notwithstanding the negatives, it has given us a voice–albeit often anonymous–a way to unlock decades of silence, of voices buried, of all the damage this man has caused so many women. Frank and others on this blog speak for the victims who cannot yet speak. And these things need to be said.

        It’s not perfect, and it’s not safe, but it’s not a self-help group. Nonetheless, it has achieved something very important, and that is to shine a light on this man’s perverted secret life that he can’t lie his way out of. These articles have been the catalyst for more long-time students to leave him and are the cause of the one thing a narcissist cannot bear: exposure and humiliation.

        My immense gratitude to you Frank for providing this space. It’s easy for Horsetail to say it’s over, but is Horsetail fighting for their life after serious sexual violence and drug abuse from the man we all placed on a pedestal? Based on comments made previously, I don’t believe so. Shoemaker needs to be exposed again and again and again. We all know what happened last time. Yeah, nothing. Actually, it probably got worse.

  • You’re never going to hear from Shoemaker’s ol’ buds. And he knows it.

    Ever hear of mutually-assured destruction?

  • Brave of you to speak up, Jayne.

    I can barely even read these articles because they are so horrifying. I’ve always thought NXIVM’s Keith Raniere was sort of like, “the gentle rapist”. This guy, though? Michael shoemaker? His brutality seems the stuff of a horror movie.

    Jayne, if youre the girl from earlier articles (like I said, I find this hard to read) I hope you can find a really excellent therapist. You’ve been through so many things most people could probably never even imagine. It must be hard sometimes.

  • “ Although there may indeed be merit to the issues listed below, please understand that we do not condone any misuse of power, spiritual or otherwise”

    That says it all. The response contains no shock or surprise. There is no outrage or denial of what shoemaker has done and continues to do.

    “There may indeed be merit” encourages this pursuit of justice.
    They just don’t want to get their hands dirtier than they may be/have been.

  • The abusers count on silencing conflicted victims.

    Victims of Michael Shoemaker can reach out to FR and other victims to get the support needed.

    Sharon Ward and Michael Shoemaker are criminals. They are abusive frauds. Come forward – you can be protected- and join others to stop this violent abuse.

    You deserve a better life. And have to put an end to decades of calculated and coordinated abusive tactics by Michael and his inner circle.

  • Jane Fisher (now Sri Jana), who set up the ashram in Ann Arbor and then came back to Bloomington. She did not teach in Bloomington. Self-described intuitive medium, channel, author, healer.
    Steve Ott, in West Lafayette, (now Swami Khecaranatha)
    Bill Lennertz, who first was in Oxford, Ohio, and later in Cincinnati.
    Scott Hanley, (now a self-described family counselor) was the head of the Cincinnati ashram.
    Paul Uslan, in Ann Arbor.
    Dan Spencer, who taught in Oxford for a while and then stopped. He resumed teaching in Cambridge after Swami Chetanananda left for Portland.
    Tom Fabrizio, who was in Boston after Craig and Barbara Benson moved to Indiana.
    Greg Jackmauh in Boston, who left when Swami Chetanananda came to Boston.
    Jim Putorti (now Swami Shambhavananda) who taught in Bloomington for a while. He left in 1975, relocated to Boulder, and set up his own organization of Shambhava Yoga Centers.
    Kirk Hamman or Hammond taught in Bloomington.

    • Don’t forget Bruce Reuben the filmmaker who lived and taught at the Bloomington ashram in the 70s at the same time as Craig and Barbara Benson

      • Bruce Reuben still going strong in Denton Texas, calls himself Silver Ra

        Upon Rudi’s crossing, Stuart Perrin assumed the full task at hand in Denton and continued to teach within and build the situation until 1978, when he passed the mantel to Mister Robert Baker (Silver Ra) who has maintained and continued to build upon it until the present time. As the present ‘caregiver,’ Silver Ra has incorporated many additional spiritual approaches, besides Rudra Meditation – the founding discipline, into the teaching format and has been the vehicle and focus of this Oasis of Awakening since that time. During Silver’s personal learning years with Rudi, his teacher often told him “to create a type of Spiritual University, where many kinds and types of spiritual work could coexist together”. Silver Ra has continued to build upon his ‘God Father’s’ vision to this day as chief instructor and guide for the Rudra Center for Enlightened Awareness.

        Center recently called out as a recruitment front for yet another sex cult. Listen to a recent episode of Rachel Bernstein’s podcast, Indoctrination. In the September 21, 2022, episode, Deer Tribe Medicine Society, a link to J. Michael Shoemaker’s “guru” comes up. Seems like Albert Rudolph, aka Swami Rudrananda “founded” a Rudra Center in Denton Texas. The narrator of the Indoctrination episode gives her experience of self-recruitment and “falling” into a cult and subsequent traumatization. Like Nxivm, like OSHO, and like what we are learning from those who have escaped from the cults run by Rudi’s “devotee”, J. Michael Shoemaker aka Swami Chetanananda, this woman was also exploited. Seems like Albert Rudolph is the gift that keeps on giving, confusion, gaslighting, manipulation, exploitation and abuse are the outcomes. Stay safe out there and stay away from cults! Practice safe sects!

        • LOL Bruce Rubin is not Silver Ra. Seriously Jayne you need to get your facts right before slamming people you know very little about. It undermines your credibility, doing you no favors.

          Not the sandwich. He’s a very famous filmmaker who wanted nothing to do with Shoemaker. smh

          • Since there seems to be some confusion, here is what is on the Rudra Center site. Quoted from the Rudra Center website: Upon Rudi’s crossing, Stuart Perrin assumed the full task at hand in Denton and continued to teach within and build the situation until 1978, when he passed the mantel to Mister Robert Baker (Silver Ra) who has maintained and continued to build upon it until the present time.

            Not Bruce Rubin or Bruce Rueben but Robert Baker, aka Silver Ra, is mentioned in the Rudra Center site. Perhaps others know if either Bruce (Rubin or Rueben) is associated with the center in Denton or if he is an exmember of one of the other Shoemaker/Rudi Centers. There is no information on the Rudra Center site about him.

            There are over 50 years of harm and abuse that follow Shoemaker and his inner circle. This history links back to Albert Rudolph and to Swami Muktananda with a through line of J. Michael Shoemaker. Frank is publishing what current and former members experienced and what they are telling him. This is personal narrative, not “slamming” people. These people are reporting their own harm and abuse and what they saw and experienced.

            Rachel Bernstein in her podcast, interviewed a former student of the center in Denton Texas. This student reports her how she felt harmed. The Denton Rudra Center was founded by Albert Rudolph aka Swami Rudi.

            Daniel Oaks, the journalist from Australia brought forward the harm that Russel Kruckman did to his students.


            Kruckman and Shoemaker along with Master Charles Cannon (RIP) put on programs togehter. They called themselves the 3 Gurus.

            All three of these “spiritual teachers” have allegations of harm that have been brought forward by their students. All three have been associated with Muktananda. Albert Rudolph aka Swami Rudi was associated with Muktananda.

            Daniel Oaks, Richard Read and Frank Parlato have brought forward the harms that students of Kruckman and Shoemaker have reported.

    • reading about the community, it seems like it does good to reflect on all the long-standing great spiritual communities and leaders there are out there and the great work they do without any fanfare. Maybe the US needs a Better Business Bureau for spiritual communities so consumers can steer clear of the disreputable ones

About the Author

Frank Parlato is an investigative journalist.

His work has been cited in hundreds of news outlets, like The New York Times, The Daily Mail, VICE News, CBS News, Fox News, New York Post, New York Daily News, Oxygen, Rolling Stone, People Magazine, The Sun, The Times of London, CBS Inside Edition, among many others in all five continents.

His work to expose and take down NXIVM is featured in books like “Captive” by Catherine Oxenberg, “Scarred” by Sarah Edmonson, “The Program” by Toni Natalie, and “NXIVM. La Secta Que Sedujo al Poder en México” by Juan Alberto Vasquez.

Parlato has been prominently featured on HBO’s docuseries “The Vow” and was the lead investigator and coordinating producer for Investigation Discovery’s “The Lost Women of NXIVM.” He also appeared in "Branded and Brainwashed: Inside NXIVM, and was credited in the Starz docuseries "Seduced" for saving 'slave' women from being branded and escaping the sex-slave cult known as DOS.

Additionally, Parlato’s coverage of the group OneTaste, starting in 2018, helped spark an FBI investigation, which led to indictments of two of its leaders in 2023.

Parlato appeared on the Nancy Grace Show, Beyond the Headlines with Gretchen Carlson, Dr. Oz, American Greed, Dateline NBC, and NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, where Parlato conducted the first-ever interview with Keith Raniere after his arrest. This was ironic, as many credit Parlato as one of the primary architects of his arrest and the cratering of the cult he founded.

Parlato is a consulting producer and appears in TNT's The Heiress and the Sex Cult, which premieres on May 22, 2022.

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Contact Frank with tips or for help.
Phone / Text: (305) 783-7083