From Enlightenment to Allegations: Anonymous Female Follower Sues Swami Chetanananda for Sexual Assault

An anonymous woman filed a federal lawsuit against J. Michael Shoemaker, AKA Swami Chetanananda, claiming he subjected her to unwanted fondling, digital insertion into her vagina several times, and choking her one time for a “next level orgasm.”

Shoemaker, 74, who wears the orange robes of the Hindu Order of the Swamis, is the founder, spiritual director, and “guru” of the Movement Center.

The adult woman, identified only as GM in the lawsuit but known to the Frank Report, claims Shoemaker “groomed, repeatedly sexually exploited, trafficked, and sexually assaulted” her.

Shoemaker claims they were engaged in consensual adult sex and had a misunderstanding.

GM lived at the Movement Center and now lives in Indiana.

FR has previously written over 50 stories about the Swami, including mentioning GM’s allegations of abuse, and others as bad or worse.

GM maintains she should be allowed to sue anonymously while naming Shoemaker because “the sensitive and incredibly personal nature of the allegations,” would cause her “personal embarrassment, harassment, stigma, and retaliation.”

At the time GM met Shoemaker, he lived with about 70 followers in a historic 61-bedroom mansion in Portland, Oregon. He had lived there from 1993 to 2019. She arrived in 2019.

Shoemaker’s mansion in Portland

After selling The Portland mansion for $8.9 million in 2020, he “retired” and moved to a Pacific mansion in Gold Beach, Oregon. GM followed him there along with about 30 of his followers.

Over the years, Shoemaker has accumulated millions of dollars as followers donated money, edited and sold his books, and other merchandise, performed free labor, recruited others, taught classes, and maintained his properties.

Shoemaker, who is well known in the new age spiritual communities as the Swami Chetananada, began his guru career in 1971 when he set up an ashram in Bloomington, IN, called the Nityananda Institute.

In 1982, Shoemaker moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts, with some of his followers. He moved again with followers to Portland in 1993, where he purchased the 3-acre, 62,000-square-foot, 61-bedroom mansion and called it the Movement Center.

GM moved into the Movement Center in early 2019 and, in exchange for free room, board and spiritual teachings, she performed work in the office, kitchen and at the Center’s front desk.

The lawsuit alleges:

GM learned from the beginning that Shoemaker was sexually involved with students. One woman told GM that “it was not really sex, it was a spiritual practice and teaching.”

In January 2019, she met Shoemaker, and he invited her to his apartment in the Movement Center.

According to the lawsuit, “He advised her that if they ever were to engage in sexual acts together, it would be a spiritual experience, with the sole purpose of exchanging energies and allowing tension to be released.”

GM left Shoemaker’s room frightened. Later, she started crying.

When GM discovered a female follower was sexually involved with Shoemaker, another follower explained he was “working with her,” and the sex acts were part of “deeper spiritual teachings.”

GM attended meditation classes, spoke with followers, and viewed Shoemaker as an enlightened being “who could not harm anyone because of his exalted spiritual position.”

Swami wine

His purpose was to help followers “work through their tension” to achieve spiritual ascendance.

One day, Shoemaker read GM’s astrological chart. He advised her that if she left the Center to pursue the master’s degree she had intended, she would “be lunch,” meaning something bad would happen and she would be unemployable.

GM expressed concerns about finding a job. Shoemaker told her she could live at the Center rent-free.

The lawsuit alleges:

The only beneficial activities involved her volunteer work at the Ashram, meditation, yoga, and spending time within the Center’s community under the absolute tutelage of Shoemaker as Swami Chetanananda.

GM shared private stories about her life with some of Shoemaker’s followers.

When Shoemaker happened to mention specific details of her life, which coincidentally GM confided to some of his followers, GM confronted those people. They denied telling Shoemaker any of the stories.

GM then believed Shoemaker could read minds and perceive a person’s innermost feelings.

A painting at the Movement Center suggests Chetanananda had supernatural powers and could levitate 

Shoemaker taught that everyone outside the Center, especially those not practicing his teachings, “could not understand the true nature of reality.”

Followers told GM that the world was getting worse, and “people who did not have a spiritual practice would be ‘ground up by the pressure.'”

GM believed her life would be in peril, spiritually, morally, and literally, if she left Shoemaker or disobeyed him.

The lawsuit alleges:

  • She felt “coerced into not making any decisions without consulting Shoemaker first, including with whom to have relationships, what career to pursue, and what purchases to make.”
  • GM believed “the more she surrendered to Shoemaker as her guru, the more spiritual progress she would achieve.” This surrender was called ‘guru yoga’ and the key to “spiritual progress and ultimately enlightenment.”
  • GM had a boyfriend at the time, another follower at the Center.
  • She claimed she “was not interested in Shoemaker sexually and saw him only as a spiritual teacher.
A defender of Swami Chetanananda says it was easy to escape – just walk out the door.

She “consulted Shoemaker about her relationship with her boyfriend,” believed “she was blessed to have access to a person as enlightened as Shoemaker, and “trusted he would guide her towards enlightenment.”

On occasion, GM received ‘osteopathic treatments’ from Shoemaker, which entailed her lying down on a massage table, while Shoemaker placed his hands on her tailbone, and under her heart, and the nape of the neck.

GM often worked out with Shoemaker at the Center’s gym. When they were alone, Shoemaker explained that “sex should be shared freely, and that she should not feel guilty for being intimate with others besides her partner.”

GM was resistant, but she believed that “if Shoemaker provided instruction that she disagreed with, this conflict constituted ‘tension’ that [she] needed to release for her own spiritual growth.”

In February 2021, when her boyfriend was out of town, GM and Shoemaker went to the gym. Alone, Shoemaker told her to kiss him. GM gave Shoemaker a light kiss, but he demanded she ‘kiss deeply.’

She complied. She thought these “commands” were “testing her loyalty to the guru, which was necessary for her spiritual journey.”

Throughout the session, Shoemaker alternated between exercising and fondling her breasts.

Though “disgusted,” GM felt he was being sexual to take her to a higher level of spiritual practice. She felt “blessed by the grace of the guru.”

The next day Shoemaker told her to come to his room for osteopathic treatment.

When she arrived, Shoemaker began the treatment, then kissed her, fondled her breasts underneath her shirt, slid his hands down her pants, penetrated her vagina with his fingers, and put his mouth on her nipples.

GM “had a boyfriend and did not want to have sex, but she froze. She did not fight back because she trusted her guru, and he told her that his actions were another spiritual exercise.”

GM developed anxiety after this. She had trouble sleeping. However, she felt guilty if she did not return to Shoemaker for more.

GM wanted to understand how Shoemaker’s sexual teachings aided her spiritual growth. She listened to over 30 of Shoemaker’s videos on YouTube. The videos reassured her that Shoemaker’s teachings and practices were legitimate, and he did not sexually abuse her.

She honored that her sexual acts served a higher purpose.

After the sexual encounters, GM got to sit next to Shoemaker at dinner and was given unrestricted access to him for one-on-one time, which she considered a blessing.

Shoemaker also offered GM the role of editor for his next book and promised he would pay her. GM felt honored because of her background in writing and editing.

In or around February or March 2021, Shoemaker commanded GM to come to his room for treatments. When she entered, Shoemaker was sitting on the massage table. He gestured for her to sit with him and began kissing and digitally penetrating her vagina.

Suddenly, Shoemaker put his hands around her throat and choked her with enough pressure for GM to lose consciousness.

When she regained consciousness, she asked her guru what happened. Shoemaker told her it was a “next-level orgasm.”

She noticed Shoemaker grabbed her hand and put it on his penis. Shoemaker laid GM down on the table, kissed her, and fondled her breasts. Then Shoemaker walked to his bedside table, pulled out approximately $250, and gave it to her.

GM wanted to tell others about these encounters, but students had told her that “speaking about her relationship with the guru would impede her spiritual growth and make her lose spiritual energy that she had worked to gain over her time at the Center.”

The other students would then compare their spiritual progress with hers, which could create bad karma, for which she would be responsible. GM did not tell anyone.

Shoemaker requested GM send him nude photographs. GM felt free not to comply and did not send the photos.

Shortly after the choking incident, Shoemaker invited GM to see him in his room after lunch several times. On one occasion, they discussed her astrology chart. Suddenly, Shoemaker pushed GM onto his bed. He explained that sexual intercourse was essential to spiritual practice.

“While she remained frozen, Shoemaker ignored her lack of reciprocation and forcibly placed her hand on his crotch, groped her, and penetrated her vagina digitally with his fingers.”

Shoemaker did this on another occasion following an invitation to his room after lunch.

GM “finally summoned the courage to set aside her worries about spiritual and physical retribution and left the Ashram in March 2021.”

In her lawsuit, GM claims:

  • Because of Shoemaker sexually, physically, and emotionally abusing her, she suffers, and will suffer in the future, psychological injuries, including low self-esteem, loss of faith, anxiety, panic attacks, post-traumatic stress disorder, stress, insomnia, nightmares, depression, distrust of authority, shame, disassociation, intimacy issues, fear, anxiety, trust issues, challenges in building and sustaining friendships.”
  • She “also suffered and continues to suffer economic damages in the form of loss of past and future income and costs of medical and mental health treatment.”

She seeks unspecified monetary damages.

Shoemaker denied the accusations and told the Oregonian, “Every bit of this is complete and utter nonsense.”

He said he and GM had a “misunderstanding,” and he “took responsibility” and apologized “for whatever she was upset about.”

He explained, “Here’s what I’m guilty of — I’m guilty of having sex with women. I have never choked anybody in my whole life…I have never, ever in my life, had to coerce anybody in my life to have sex with me. Why would I be interested in sex if coercion was involved? That’s not connection. That’s not nourishing. I’m a human being trying to grow myself and help other people grow.”

New York-based attorney Carol M. Merchasin, who specializes in cases that allege sexual abuse in spiritual communities, is one of the attorneys representing GM.

Attorney Stephen English, who represents Shoemaker, said, “We categorically deny … the… malicious allegations made against a man who had spent his adult life trying to better the lives of others.”


Other Frank Report Stories on Swami Chetananda AKA KJ. Michael Shoemaker.

Back to the Swami Chetananda, Who Will Henceforward be Called J. Michael Shoemaker

Laura Hoeppner Tells Some Little White Ones on Swami Doc, But Hopes to Get Past The Lies

About the author

Frank Parlato


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  • Now that the civil suit has been filed and Shoemaker and his henchwomen/men have been served with a copy of the complaint, the “flying monkeys” will be out in full force. J. Michael Shoemaker is a traumatizing narcissist.

    His dysregulated mental state has “infected “ his followers, he has brutalized them. We have read about followers harming and killing themselves after exposure to him and his cult. We have read about followers having substance abuse issues that were left untreated while they were “under his care”. We have read about followers trying to leave and to take back their lives. All of them suffered from a type of PTSD following narcissistic abuse.

    If you are an ex-member or family member you might be triggered, you might be angry, all this coming up again in your life might cause you to melt down. No doubt we have seen and will see plenty of this in the comments on the Frank Report. Anger, blame, attacks, and uncontrolled ranting.

    If you need emotional support during this next phase of taking down a cult and putting a serial sexual abuser in jail, there are people who understand and who can be there to listen. SAFE Portland,, People Leave Cults, , International Cultic Studies Association, . Or bake a cake, take a walk, listen to Violeta Parra and sing to yourself! Things are different now. Watch some youtube videos on Narcissistc Relationships and PTSD, Dr. Ramani, Dr. Les Carter and Prof. Sam Vakin explain and help.,vid:shhABI35z2g

    No matter what comes of the civil suit, things are different now. We can help each other. We can heal ourselves. For me that is a bright new day.

    • Professor Sam Vakin enlightened me and set me free. The victims of narcissistic abuse don’t even realize their minds have been mined and their thoughts replaced by the abuser’s.
      If you feel like you are not yourself, that is probably why.
      Cultic abuse is real and can break people. It can take years to rebuild a life.
      This needs to stop.
      Stop Michael Shoemaker and his zombie cronies from continuing their criminal activities.

    • That other poster got me curious as to what you did before you appointed yourself as the resident savior here. So… I did some digging on you. You show as Director of Operations at Pathfinders for their program in Tanzania. Well, I guess that explains why you feel comfortable talking to grown women as though they do not understand English and are too primitive to know what is best for them? LOL Wow, almost 200K a year huh? That’s a pretty hefty salary for a non profit isn’t it? I mean you weren’t the highest paid obviously…300K and up for some of the others. Actually looks like half of the hundreds of millions they rake in go just to their “Directors”. Ahhh, good old philanthropy. LOL. So you still there? Looks like it, OR do we have the misfortune of being Libby Candos personal passion woman’s project upon her retirement? Real quick, isn’t Tanzania the country that outright refused the C-19 vaccines and then all the leadership well kind of randomly ended up dead? That must have been wild. I’ve become familiar with your writing since these articles started and you appear to damn everyone who has ever appeared in a Instagram photos or meditated at the Movement Center as a co-conspirator. If it says “loved ones” anywhere in it, I know that to be you. If we apply the same rules to you does that mean you agree with eugenics? Do you consider Margaret Sanger a good person? Do you consider Clarence Gamble a good person? What are your thoughts on “The Negro Project” and forced sterilization on mental patients? Did you know the history of Pathfinders International before you went to work for them? I want to tell you woman to woman that I find it repulsively inappropriate for someone who as JP pointed out is not herself a victim to use rape victims to launch their own personal social justice project. I know you have been actively trying to recruit people for a documentary, and what is your own personal motive in that? Are you looking for fame for yourself personally? I ask because anyone left who might be curious to explore that is really turned off by your abrasive and overbearing approach. I’m being honest, you can do what you will with that. Im not sure how much you can bring to that given you become feral when asked for a proper chain of events. Did I read you were only at the Ashram a few times? How can you base opinions on all these people you have by meeting them one time? You are a giant outsider here. This isn’t a left wing political movement by the way, you are dealing with seriously traumatized sexual assault survivors. I think someone needs to remind you of that. I have noticed you are quick to “fire” other victims for asking for transparency. I’ve seen you shame people I know to be victims for questioning your accounts. We don’t trust ANYONE right now and I think we have EVERY right in feeling that. Why do we have to take you at something that isn’t even your experience? I think we are allowed some paranoia. If a documentary IS done, of course they will dig you up. It’s very arrogant of you to assume otherwise. People need to know about the people they are aligning with and agreeing to immortalize themselves beside. We don’t want further ruin by association. We don’t have an obligation to your privacy. have you had any regard for ours? We absolutely deserve transparency and yes when someone claims to be a victim we want the facts. Not to accuse or doubt but because we were there and it feels like gaslighting Wouldn’t you want that if someone was accusing you of a crime? I personally find the origins of Pathfinders revolting and I don’t find the person who now primarily funds it any better. I have to wonder how someone so in judgement for others can justify the contents of the following article while simultaneously swinging an ax at everyone who has ever so much farted in Michael Shoemaker direction unless YOU deem them worthy? As you MUST be aware it has been revealed in several mainstream news publications that Bill Gates his fair share of time on the The Lolita Express and he and Epstein had a shared affinity for eugenics. It was cited by Melinda as a factor in their divorce. Have you researched The Zorro ranch at all? Do you know what was going on there? Do you think Bill Gates is a better person than Michael Shoemaker? Do you think Margaret Sanger is a better person than Micheal Shoemaker. Do you believe that
      Clarence Gamble is a better person than Michael Shoemaker?

      Here is an example of your founder. “Gamble believed that Puerto Ricans and others living in poverty should be wiped out to make room for more “fit” members of the population, and birth control was part of that vision. As historian Nancy Ordover notes, his birth control centers became recruitment grounds for Pincus’s clinical trial. Gamble was also deeply involved in Puerto Rico’s policy of encouraging women to undergo sterilization as a form of birth control. Ultimately, approximately one-third of Puerto Rican women were sterilized—many involuntarily—under policies that pressured women to undergo hysterectomies after their second child’s birth.”

      And another

      That risk was real: The pills contained much higher doses of hormones than modern-day birth control pills and caused significant side effects. Pincus didn’t feel that side effects like nausea or depression warranted a reformulation of the pill. Their only concern was proving its efficacy. Meanwhile, three women died during the clinical trials, but autopsies were not performed on their bodies; it remains unclear whether those fatalities were linked to the pill.

      By modern standards, the secretive trials were both unethical and unsafe. Women who agreed to take the drug did out of desperation but without full disclosure of what might be at stake. But for Pincus, the trial was a success: The high dose of hormones all but ensured trial participants wouldn’t get pregnant, and in the field trials, the pill was nearly 100 percent effective. Pincus didn’t stop testing: A second trial was funded by Gamble, and the pills were also tested on women and men in mental asylums without consent.

      Doesn’t look much like you have a problem with ALL monsters, only the ones that wrong you personally .

      • Does someone care about any of this sidebar? You’re just trying to redirect the focus away from your loving master, Michael Shoemaker.
        The Suit is filed. Fly away monkey, back to the hell hole of your mind

    • Go F Yourself, Ms. Lyin’s

      You haven’t BEGUN to see uncontrolled ranting but be assured I’m creating a platform where you can do just that. Lot of villains posing as victims and heros and that toxic trilogy dynamic is the actual reason cults exist. YOU are feeding it. They don’t exist because of ONE horn dog man. YOU are part of the problem. You might be far more educated than I am but damn you are dense. It’s all that arrogance. Now please excuse me, I’m off to my volunteer job helping children which is what I repeatedly told you “I” wanted to do before being yanked into your personal spite crusade ultimately crashing my already fragile health and costing me considerable resources. I’m also creating a body of work to empower women NOT to fall into cult dynamics because AGAIN like I TOLD YOU the work is not in taking down the predators but starving them of prey. YOU need to heal your relationship with your kid. THIS isn’t YOUR fight. There are plenty of victims here that very wisely don’t believe in giving their power or trust away to any more “saviors”. We aren’t your hobby. It truly is time for all of us to be “The Heros of Their Own Life”. Pretty sure I remember a book out there with a title like that. (; I DO hope more of you will find your voices and a safe place to speak from. Light is always the most powerful disinfectant.

      • This is right on. Jayne is crazy, delusional & hides behind a makeshift shield of saving her daughter.

      • Saint Jana, the psychoanalyst, seeking a return to the spotlight. Maybe another post on black magic would do it.

    • “Two suspicious deaths, “drug-fueled gang rapes,” and women being choked unconscious are among the revelations of a new lawsuit against Swami Chetanananda. Carol Merchasin, one of the leading attorneys prosecuting spiritual abuses, is behind the lawsuit.”


    • Top row, Nick, member since childhood, Natacha, Jen Wilhelm named in lawsuit, Saroj Bardewa, second row Shoemaker in orange, unknown devotee, Heather Gail George

  • It blows my mind that this “spiritual community” had so many ugly secrets and no one loved each other enough to help each other when they were aware people were living in fear of the deviant master and his insatiable sex addiction. It’s a wonder they’re all not mentally ill. Maybe they are.
    But why didn’t anyone help each other? Why come out now and say you knew about it? And all the time everyone was pretending to be “spiritual”? Was there a competition for the swami? It’s all so ugly. It’s pathetic. Truly pathetic.
    Good luck with the jury.

  • The law firm that filed the complaint against Shoemaker and the Movement Center has a powerful, experienced team of lawyers. Case law is being built to take down cult leaders and traumatizing narcissists. Raniere, Larry Ray, Weinstein, Epstein and even Trump in his civil suit brought by E. Jean Carrol, they all lost. These cases have paved the way to bring coercive control and patterns of past behavior into the court room. Some FR comments question “brainwashing”, blame the victims and downplay indoctrination and manipulation. If the Shoemaker case goes to trial, there are plenty of well credentialed “experts” who know their way around a court room who will educate the jury about how cults and cult leaders function. Shoemaker has 50 years of cons and scams, rape and assualt, establishing a pattern of harm can be done. Take a listen to Dr. Steve Hassan’s interview to get a taste of what will come out in the court room.
    Shoemaker will lose, thank you Frank for bringing this to light, thank you surviviors for speaking up, thank you lawyers for listening. All this exposure will help protect others from being sucked into systems of harm and control.

    • Yes, when the naysayers proclaim “they won’t get him! This has happened many times before…he always gets away”, they are not taking into consideration THIS IS A DIFFERENT TIME. There are many cases similar to Shoemaker’s now. Where are the fallen gluttonous leaders? Dead or doing time. Strong, powerful survivors and experienced, educated professional cult specialists are putting and end to these criminals. Precedents have been established.
      However long it takes; Its going to be over for you, Shoemaker.

  • fun fact of a peach?
    In China, the peach is a symbol of good luck, protection, and longevity. In Korea, the peach is considered a source of “good energy” that can help to drive away evil spirits.

  • Frank-

    I can’t wait until you take this piece of shit down!!!!
    Hopefully he’ll live the last few years of his life in prison.

    I hope Ruth is doing okay.

  • The Process of a Civil Lawsuit
    To begin a civil lawsuit in federal court, the plaintiff files a complaint with the court and “serves” a copy of the complaint on the defendant. The complaint describes the plaintiff’s damages or injury, explains how the defendant caused the harm, shows that the court has jurisdiction, and asks the court to order relief. A plaintiff may seek money to compensate for the damages, or may ask the court to order the defendant to stop the conduct that is causing the harm. The court may also order other types of relief, such as a declaration of the legal rights of the plaintiff in a particular situation.

    I hope Ward and Shoemaker are having some sleepless nights! They were served with the legal complaint. They can lie to the press, run away and hide, but the suit will move forward with or without them.

    The copy of the complaint linked to the Oregonian article states that a jury trial was requested. Can you imagine what the discovery process is going to be like? “Discovery,” where the litigants must provide information to each other about the case, such as the identity of witnesses and copies of any documents related to the case. The purpose of discovery is to prepare for trial by requiring the litigants to assemble their evidence and prepare to call witnesses. Each side also may file requests, or “motions,” with the court seeking rulings on the discovery of evidence, or on the procedures to be followed at trial.

    There are 50 years of cons, scams, rapes, assualts many that are very well documented. And, keep in mind there is no statue of limitations on murder. Perhaps justice for Ayaz and LIz will be the next set of complaints? Certainlly this case will bring out more survivors who are ready to move forward in the legal process.

    Sleep well Shoemaker, Ward and all the other flying monkeys who have ” groomed, physically harmed, coercively controlled, and sexually assaulted Plaintiff and other students under his spiritual tutelage at the Movement Center.
    Shoemaker, and other leaders within the Movement Center, promulgated the idea that
    Shoemaker was an enlightened figure, and therefore, all his followers should unquestioningly
    obey his orders and express unconditional faith in his decision-making and advice, even about
    deeply personal matters.” (taken from the complaint filed against Shoemaker and the Movement Center)

    Sweet dreams

  • Although GM may have been physically able to leave Shoemaker, it sounds to me like she may have been a victim of “coercive control.” While some find that concept hard to believe, courts are increasingly recognizing it as a legitimate basis for plaintiffs initiating civil lawsuits against those who have harmed them. And many expect that coercive control will eventually be recognized as a crime. See, for example,

    • Quoting the referenced article: “The term coercive control was first used when talking about brainwashing.“

      Well I find that troubling if this finds its way into the courts. Brainwashing doesn’t exist, people can’t be brainwashed, it’s a fiction. The term was invented by journalist Edward Hunter in 1950. Brainwashing has no basis in science.

      Same for “gaslighting”.

      Patty Hearst tried the “brainwashing” excuse at her trial. The court rightly rejected it.

      It has long been a principle in law that sane adult people must be held responsible for their actions.

      At the Nuremberg war crimes trials, the “I had to follow orders” defense was roundly rejected. Talk about coercive control- German soldiers who did not follow orders faced execution. They had all been trained to obey Nazi ideology in the brutal conditions of the Nazi army. That’s some real coercion. The court roundly rejected it as a defense.

      Should those Germans have been found innocent because coercive control?

      People have free will according to the law as it stands today. If somebody pressures you to do something, you don’t have to do it.

      Coercive control, “brainwashing”, gaslighting are trendy terms for bullying. What the Swami did in his “high control group” was indistinguishable from bullshitting, persuasion, and conformism.

      Junk psycobabble should be kept out of the courts.

          • I actually fell into a rabbit hole about the clitoris today. Thanks. I had no idea it was a devil’s treat. The devil sucks on the treat for power. Women have been killed for this delightful protuberance. The ancient beliefs about this organ are educational and will surely delight my future wife 😉

      • Sausage-

        If you are correct then:

        Why do cults all follow the same brainwashing framework/architecture?

        • Because bullshitting, persuasion, and groupthink do work on some people. Call it “brainwashing” if you like, in so sense is it any kind of mind control. And attempting to criminalize it presents all kinds of problems just as does trying to pass laws against cults.

          Good luck outlawing persuasion, or salesman’s bullshit. The business world depends on both.

          Having had a close look at Nxivm for years now (my gawd…) Raniere’s followers all seem to be gullible opportunists eager to believe in his “rational inquiry” system. He didn’t mind-whammy them, they were eager to believe.

          The idea of brainwashing is attractive because it’s so useful for absolving people of personal responsibility. It uncomplicates things. “Why did young Allison run off and join a cult? She was brainwashed!” No, young Allison is a gullible fool, and she’s capable of doing some nasty things.

          People can’t be programmed. They can’t be brainwashed. Non-existent things should not be ensconced in law.

          • So if you were held in a closet for 57 days, raped, starved, family threatened, you would not be under any duress at all? Patty Hearst was arrested and weighed in at 87 lbs at the time of arrest.

      • You’re right. In fact I believe Harvey Weinstein’s conviction for abuse of power (because rape won’t stick) should also be thrown out. Feeling uncomfortable and pressured in a situation is not the same as assault. Women were free to leave. But Swami is being accused of chocking women – without their consent- until blacking out along with rape.
        Those are charges that can stick

    • Claviger-

      How can “coercive control” be given a legal definition?

      Coerce control is subjective.

      I truly miss your legal perspective articles.

      Hopefully you’ll write some more.

  • Thank you Frank for being on the forefront with this sordid story, even though people put you through the grinder. We may have known about it, but we saw it “in print” here FIRST. I hope this POS Mike Shoemaker has the courtesy to end his own life. If he’s so enlightened it will just be a train ride to ecstasy. Right?

  • While there is some serious mental illness running through the victim vein here…. Not that crazy gave him any right to hurt these women but convenient because he chose them specifically because they are unbelievable people THIS person is 100% legit and she’s definitely not crazy. This absolutely happened, every bit of it. Sadly, some of the victims (some of them frankly villains in their own right posing as victims) that have been on display here have driven a lot of the worst stories underground and even more secret. It’s a miracle in light of that this woman was brave enough to come forward and I couldn’t be prouder of her. And YES, naming us publicly has been extremely dangerous and the people who engaged in that for their own selfish aims should be ashamed of themselves if they are in fact even capable of shame. I suspect not, nor self reflection, nor empathy.

    • Always pointing the finger. What is your motive?
      You need your own blog just to throw shade.

    • What? You have the audacity to pass judgement on Shoemaker’s victims? I can’t get a grip on where you are coming from.

      • Hey BFF,

        I would be completely down to get a psych eval with you and have results compared by a mental health professional. My treat.

        I will even throw in a polygraph. 😉


    • Your implied omniscience of the victims and circumstances is laughable. If the worst cases went underground, that’s their prerogative. Not everyone has the courage or desire to expose such humiliating and degrading details of their sexual assault. Let’s hope those of us who had the courage and were capable of making documented and recorded detailed statements of our own sexual assaults can be enough to help ALL of us who were victimized remove this predator from society.

      • No, but I am A MOTHER although with this group of women I can see how one might jump to that conclusion instead of the fact that women who aren’t brainwashed to highjack, destroy and compete with each other to feed insatiable appetites for approval/attention might look out for each other. Come to think of it, the largest percentage of the baddies here aren’t parents so they are mostly missing those kinds of instincts I suppose. GM is a good girl and anyone with a soul would be extra proud to have her as a daughter. I like her very much, as did every person there. Ray of sunshine type of person. He will look terrible in court, she radiates a genuine sweet innocence and the jury will hate him immediately upon meeting her. You would too. If you knew her you would be ashamed about the tasteless comments written below. She is a rare being. Most people deeply loathed at least one if not many of the people that lived there (not hard that) She on the other hand got along well with everyone. Peacekeeper. I was definitely shocked that more people who “appeared” to adore her as much as I did DROPPED HER COLD and continued to support his dirty business as usual. Crushing disappointment, that. This one is beyond shameful and everyone knows it. She was a model resident. If doing the right thing was easy, everyone would do it and we wouldn’t be having this conversation but here we are. To the person that insinuated she’s an angry jilted lover you should know she’s an absolute knock out, with a brilliant mind. She was NEVER interested in him like that. Thought of him as a Dad though at almost 50 years her senior he’s beyond old enough to be her Grandpa. Yuck.

        • Whoever you are, you must be a flying monkey of the cult.

          You’re perpetuating the “perfect victim” myth which is incredibly damaging to all victims of sexual assault.

          If you’re not a flying monkey of the cult here, you should seriously take a look at yourself and the harm you are doing.

          “The reason that the ‘perfect victim’ picture is so dangerous is because it excludes the vast majority of women who are targeted for sex crimes because their perpetrators know that they won’t be believed,”

          “Victims of human trafficking, like all humans, are not perfect. They are on an imperfect journey of escaping trafficking. The process is not easily mapped out. It has challenges and relapses that are unpredictable and recurring. Often victims cycle in and out of victimizations and services.”

          “For example, in order for battered women to truly be viewed as the victims of their abusive partners within criminal legal discourse, they must conform to the battered victim stereotype of being faithful partners, devoted mothers if they have children, and meek and passive in the face of violence. If they fail, they are not truly victims; they are instead “undeserving viragos”.”

          Please, for the sake of all victims of domestic violence, rape, and all other forms of exploitation, stop commenting here.

          • I’m not a flying monkey. I believe in truth. I made the choice not to allow my abusers to make me a ratchet person who is willing to stoop to the same level of dishonesty to get “revenge”. I told the person (one of these commenters for sure” when she poached me on a cult support and recovery page when she was ruthlessly recruiting me to tell my story “SC is a very small piece of a MUCH bigger problem, there are oodles of him. You cut his head off and 100 more grow in his place”. I was sick, car less, penniless and thousands of miles from anyone I knew. I was also in my own law suit for my own damages that occurred when I was a child. I was trying to heal from this and million other things that living there certainly didn’t help me heal. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to help. I couldn’t. It didn’t matter to her. She fed my picture to Frank, she started naming me in comments. I never recruited anyone. In fact I met her daughter about 9 days before I moved in and she tried told me I should live there if I were invited. I left everyone immediately after my person was hurt. I’m never allowed to speak to what you’ve done on here. Why? It is IN FACT THE TRUTH. I lived for months in terror thinking these people were going to ruin the case of a 9 year old sexually assaulted by a NUN? I needed that so I could QUIT ending up in religious settings with predatory leaders. You have no clue what I’ve gone through in all of this. Yes, I do loathe you. I consider your treatment if me assault. My nervous system collapsed at 52 points at about the November mark and I am only now getting around well enough to exercise again. That’s thanks to you. Nerve pain so bad I cried almost daily. I have helped plenty under COMPLETELY undeserved duress and the only thing I’ve asked for in return is truth. I’ve received nothing but a bunch of slander and spite because the truth doesn’t suit you JL. Too hate blind to care how you affect the lives of others. Frank likes to use the excuse “well they were recruiters” to doxx people. You can’t use that excuse with me. I did no such thing. the most I knew before going in is that SC was a polygamist. I believed the person that had been his student for 13 years because she was my best friend and my only family. I was a LOUD advocate for childhood sex abuse survivors and ended up there after CRUMBLING after working on a bill to help kids because of how nasty and scary the politics are on that. You have no clue who I am. I’m done with everyone’s shit here, that I can assure you. I’m extra done with someone who isn’t even a victim, just living vicariously through a daughter that took a fat pay day in exchange for her voice terrorizing victims. Get a fucking life you dried up old cooze. You have pushed me too far. You have destroyed friendships between survivors for betraying confidences. You have lied on me to everyone who will listen to your yap. You better hope no one starts digging on you because I’m quite sure as a result of being your child that your daughter was plenty screwed up before she ever stepped foot in that place. I don’t care if Lifetime Movie wants to package you all “Not Without My Daughter”. I know what you are. You lied to me. You lied to Frank. I believe you use this platform to torture your daughter and she can’t say a word about to confirm or deny that. Munchausens By Proxy is on full display here. Is it punishment for not being a good Catholic girl like you? See above story again about the nun. You didn’t seem to like my story but I and the billions of dollars the Catholic Church has paid out can assure you that it’s not just in Ashrams this happens. Yes JL, I told you about my case. Is that why you tried to sabotage my case? It’s ok for a nun to sexually assault kids because that’s YOUR RELIGION? Screw you, lady. I don’t question she is a victim and he hurt her. It’s horrific. I DO question why you think it’s ok for her to take a gob of money and then ride other victims like a demon to get YOUR second helping of justice. Your daughter is in her mid 30’s. I haven’t been given the impression of her that she would be cool with how you have exploited other victims with your Mother Teresa shtick. The TRUTH is bad enough. Your lies by omission or otherwise do not help anyone here but you. Not even SC is this big of a control freak. You are battling YOURSELF. Please let the professionals take it from here, and perhaps find yourself one or several.

        • The only baddie on THIS post has been you. Who are you to say one victim is more believable or worthy of being defended than another? No wonder victims may be hesitant to come forward. Its traumatic being sexually abused, traumatic sharing the details, then more trauma comes when victims are labeled mentally ill or not worthy of defense when you come forward to help stop the crimes.

          • Excuse me correction….

            I don’t believe she is cool with you exploiting and bullying other victims.

            Please don’t mistake my significant beefs with some of the early pioneers of this FR movement as not believing victims. That’s an exceedingly manipulative tactic seen most often in politics today. I’m not looking to be part of a victims club. I don’t like this attitude of “It doesn’t matter how the victims conduct themselves, suck it up, shut your mouth and go along with them or we will destroy you”. Thats the exact model that got us here, there is no excuse for it. No thank you on hypocrisy.

    • Why don’t you use your name here?
      We can all see who the real cowards are, the ones hiding behind an orange skirt still believing he will protect you when the roof caves in

  • Not sure I buy GM’s story. Sounds like she got played out and is scorned. The choking part, obviously, would be illegal I would think. But, she was not forced to live with Swami nor have sex with him: that was her choice.

    • You need to watch some of the dozens of cult docs on Netflix and get real. Shoemaker reinvented himself as a cult leader. It’s complicated. He’s guilty.

    • Pilgrim-

      In other words:

      GM’s experience was like those Summers, on your Grandpa’s ranch. You could have left at anytime. However, riding Grandma bare-backed and getting raw-dogged by Grandpa was too pleasurable.

      You couldn’t walk away.

      You know—maybe you’re right!

      • I think I know where you are going, but it’s not a great analogy. She literally was an adult and this guy was not someone who really had leverage over her like a grandparent over a minor grandchild. Totally different.

    • Why would she be in the gym alone with him if she didn’t want to play with him? A bit hard to swallow.

    • Pilgrim, don’t you understand he manipulates them into these circumstances (I’ll give you work, I’ll provide housing, I’ll be your spiritual master) so he can use them for his purposes? Thats how a cult works. They are intimidated by him. He convinces them he is on their side and will help them. He is a scary man. Does he look sweet to you? He’s a monster.

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.” Parlato was also 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 premiered on May 22, 2022. Most recently, he consulted and appeared on Tubi's "Branded and Brainwashed: Inside NXIVM," which aired January, 2023.

IMDb — Frank Parlato

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


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