All we need to say in a prefatory comment is that if it could happen in Argentina, it can happen in Gold Beach.
Judge Ariel Lijo in Argentina has indicted 19 individuals for criminal conspiracy, human trafficking with the purpose of sexual exploitation, money laundering, and smuggling concerning their involvement in a yoga school in Buenos Aires.
The Argentinian yoga school, which had offices in New York, Las Vegas, and Chicago, was a religious sect that coerced female members to have sex with wealthy men for money and benefits.
Yogi Percowicz told followers he knows all, sees all and can rule all for their spiritual welfare.
According to prosecutors, The Buenos Aires Yoga School, which operated under the leadership of Juan Percowicz, 84, for more than 30 years, lured individuals with promises of eternal happiness, but in fact, exploited them sexually and financially.
Prosecutors accused the school of preying on people who were underage or had severe health problems, including addictions.
Members included lawyers and accountants who advised leaders on a complex money laundering network, including starting businesses and buying real estate in Argentina and the United States.
Opera star Placido Domingo had contact with the organization’s leaders for more than two decades.
Transatlantic law firm McAllister Olivarius has launched an independent investigation of the Yoga School and its ties to the United States for potential civil action against the school to help victims collect financial remuneration.
McAllister Olivarius recently hired attorney Carol Merchasin to oversee a new practice focusing on sexual misconduct in spiritual communities, including yoga communities.
Carol Merchasin attorney.
Judge Lijo denied bail for 14 of the 19 people indicted, and ordered their assets frozen. That means their chance of the 14 not being convicted is almost zero, for once in pretrial custody, it is nearly impossible to mount a defense.
Prosecutors had requested indictments of 20 people.
Argentinian law enforcement officials are searching for six suspects believed to be in the United States, where the school had offices in New York, Las Vegas and Chicago.
McAllister Olivarius has offices in the US and UK, with practice areas including trafficking, sexual violence, employment, higher education, and online reputation and privacy.
If you believe the Buenos Aires Yoga School abused you., contact McAllister Olivarius (www.mcolaw.com).
“As we saw with the scandals of Ashtanga yoga, sexual abuse is a problem that persists in yoga communities precisely because so many practitioners feel a spiritual connection to their mentors,” says attorney Merchasin. “It is important to look beyond established religions and understand that the same patterns of coercion, sexual violence and sexual exploitation exist in non-traditional communities.”
The Agrentinian yoga group operated by giving living quarters, working in the organization, and making sure they started socializing exclusively with people who were part of the organization.
Students worked and performed sexually to obtain economic benefit for Percowicz and other leaders of the organization, Judge Lijo said. Members were ordered to have sex with wealthy men. Female students were told to predetermine what they could get from each man, and then had to do whatever it took to meet their goals, Lijo said.
It is unclear whether the woman could have refused this dishonest scheme or what their punishment would have been.
Yogi Percowicz told his followers that he had “divine powers” and was a fount of wisdom, as he quoted classic literature and religious scriptures.
Percowicz devised a hierarchical ranking system of seven levels. The leaders of the group promised students they would receive the highest teachings in philosophy, and achieve a status of a cosmic healing when they rose up the rank.
The only goal of the group’s leaders was to make money, Lijo said.
Before Chetanananda watchers get too excited and expect some judge to simply order the arrest of the Swami, Sadvi, Jen, Moni, Gretchen, Jimmy and the rest, remember that the rules in Argentina, including their observance of what we call due process, are not the same as in the USA.
But the similarities sound eerily similar in Buenos Aires, Portland and Gold Beach.