COMPLAINT TO THE OFFICE OF ETHICS AND PROFESSIONAL STANDARDS (EPS) BY THE STUDENTS OF YOGI BHAJAN
Accountability of the SSSC Regarding their Handling of the Allegations Against Yogi Bhajan
Students of Yogi Bhajan is a group of 3HO/Sikh Dharma individuals who are committed to preserving the Legacy, History and Teachings of Yogi Bhajan. As part of this commitment, and in our resolve to seek the truth, we reject the August 2020 AOB report, because it presents itself as an investigation, and it was not.
In addition, we reject certain decisions and actions of the Siri Singh Sahib Corporation (SSSC) Board, the Collaborative Response Team (CRT), 3HO Foundation International (3HO), Kundalini Research Institute (KRI), Sikh Dharma International (SDI) and any other organizational entities who have used the AOB report as the basis for an unsubstantiated attack on the character of our Spiritual Teacher, as are outlined below.
Our complaint is as follows:
- The SSSC Board needs to be accountable to their failures in managing the allegations against Yogi Bhajan.
A. The SSSC, through the CRT communications, stated that they were going to conduct an investigation. Rather, they conducted a survey, or inquiry, through private listening tours.
B. During the so called “investigation”, members of the SSSC and the CRT conducted public events, in the form of Khalsa Council meetings and public listening tours where, while the said investigation was taking place, they allowed accusers to publicly state their claims, without any counter information. In essence, they were allowed to say whatever they wanted, and influence public opinion without any evidence.
C. From the beginning, as this process began to unfold, a significant number of Sikh Dharma Ministers, community leaders, and senior members of the community insisted that the entire process be dealt with in a neutral way. For months, many Sangat members brought to the attention of the SSSC Board their concerns with the manner in which communications were being sent to the public, and the language and characterizations that were being used.
These concerns were generally ignored. Public communications by KRI, 3HO, the CRT, and the SSSC itself continued to promote the conclusion that the allegations of sexual misconduct by Yogi Bhajan were true.
All of this was done, before the supposed investigation was allowed to be completed.
D. No discernable efforts were made by the SSSC or any of its affiliates to determine where the allegations against Yogi Bhajan were supported or refuted by facts, with regard to the time and space of any reported event, with regard to supporting witnesses to the events, and with regard to any concerns about the credibility of any of the reporters.
E. The SSSC created the CRT and populated it with individuals who for the most part publicly asserted that they believed the allegations and were thereby biased and unable to be objective and neutral in their managing of the investigative process.
Many community members, even though they disagreed with the process, in good faith, because they felt they had important information for the investigation, which would question the allegations, contacted the AOB interviewers conducting the “investigation”.
As it turned out, the hours of their testimonies did not matter, since the interviewers did not use any of that information in the AOB report.
Indeed, what our community ended up with, through the actions of the SSSC Board, was a damning report, which provided no proof, and was ultimately shown to simply be a process of accepting the stories of anyone who wished to make a claim against Yogi Bhajan. There was no actual investigation conducted.
F. The findings brought to bear in the recent Thompson Report, an independent review of the AOB report, confirm the concerns expressed by many Sangat members.
G. In summary, the decision, actions, and language consistently used by the SSSC, 3HO, and KRI have unfairly maligned the character of Yogi Bhajan and offended and insulted a significant number of Ministers and committed members of the organization.
The Thompson report was a review of the AOB Report and was written by a professional investigator and former attorney. It is a 21-page serious indictment of the AOB report and its flawed methodology. Two damning summarizations are:
From the Executive Summary: “As a result of the lack of qualifications to conduct an investigation and prepare an investigative report, the AOB Report is of no use in forming the basis for any findings as to whether the alleged behavior of Yogi Bhajan occurred.”
From the Conclusion: “Because the AOB Report does not appear to be investigative at all or provide sufficient facts to make any determination, it should not serve to assist anyone in determining whether the alleged behavior by Yogi Bhajan actually occurred.”
The impact of the SSSC actions have been catastrophic and the extent of the impact warrants an honest, objective review of their actions.
In our view, the first step which needs to happen, in order for healing to occur in our community, is for the SSSC to review, reflect and acknowledge the flaws in their previous actions and communications regarding the allegations against Yogi Bhajan. And from there, to honestly look at what can be done to rectify this situation.
- The voice of the Students of Yogi Bhajan needs to be recognized and heard.
Even though many individual Students of Yogi Bhajan have written to the SSSC, with concerns throughout the entirety of this process, the SSSC has not listened to or even acknowledged our voices.
And in fact, when Sangat members, and now the author of the Thompson Report, have called into question the veracity of the AOB report, and the process which lead to it, the SSSC has never once acknowledged that there is any possible truth to what has been said.
Instead, the SSSC, or their attorneys, answered with falsehoods (see “Mistruths from the SSSC“), or by maligning the character of the people challenging their actions. The Thompson Report systematically demonstrated that all of the defenses previously asserted by the SSSC, to the criticisms of the investigative process, used by AOB, were wholly without merit.
Not only that, members of the CRT and the SSSC have also verbally maligned the character of individual Sangat members who brought up concerns about the process they had undertaken.
And most recently, Sangat members who have contacted the SSSC to address concerns raised in the Thompson Report, were told that the author, Barbara Thompson, is not qualified to provide such a report, even though the first footnote on the first page of the report clearly lists her credentials as follows:
“Barbara W. Thompson, J.D., L.P.I., is a former attorney and a current licensed private investigator in Pennsylvania who has managed a private investigations practice for 25 years. She was a first and second vice-president, secretary, and treasurer of the Pennsylvania Association of
Licensed Investigators (PALI), and served as an executive board member for eighteen years. While on the board of PALI she co-chaired a team of board members who worked on the revision of the Pennsylvania Private Detective Act of 1953. She has actively worked to raise the quality of professional private investigators and private investigations throughout her career.”
Additional credentials found on the www.twinllc.com website are as follows:
Barbara W. Thompson, Managing Partner of The Worldwide Investigative Network, LLC (T.W.I.N.)- Research, has over fifteen years’ experience in investigative and legal research. She specializes in investigative and due diligence research both in the United States and internationally.
Thompson practiced law in Pennsylvania, taught business and tax law for a major international publishing company and developed training programs in research for attorneys and accountants. She was a District Manager for CDB Infotek, the public records database, now Choicepoint. Thompson was also the Director of Research for a major international security and investigations company.
In 1999, Thompson and TW Consulting joined with Joel Bartow to form The Worldwide Investigative Network, LLC [TWIN]. TWIN provides general investigative services but specializes in fraud and money laundering investigations.
So, instead of acknowledging the concerns of Sangat members, the strategy of the SSSC has been to ignore receiving the complaints and disregarding the character or qualifications of the people making them. It appears that their only concern is to be sure there is no resistance to the course they took and the outcome they achieved.
So, the question is, how does the SSSC handle engaging with the Students of Yogi Bhajan? For that, our eyes and ears are on how they respond to this complaint.
And how do the Students of Yogi Bhajan intend to participate with our legacy organizations going forward?
Many of us did not participate in the Listening Tours, and some who initially did join, did not continue because the premise of the format was that of Yogi Bhajan being guilty.
We are not interested in participating in another process which is controlled by a predetermined narrative (i.e. Just Outcomes). Restorative Justice assumes a crime has been committed. There is no proof that Yogi Bhajan is guilty of any of the allegations. You cannot have a just outcome if your foundation is not based on a shared truth.
We are not interested in participating in events hosted by the legacy organizations (i.e. solstices, Khalsa Council meetings, etc.) where the premise of the organizers is the guilt of Yogi Bhajan.
As a first step, what we are open to, and what we are asking for, is a dialogue between the Students of Yogi Bhajan community and the full SSSC Board (without attorneys). It is our hope and prayer that the SSSC will fulfill their duty as board members and have the courage to listen to us.
Please accept this as a formal complaint to the EPS from the Students of Yogi Bhajan. We await your response.
We would also like to note that while the EPS website does not list anyone who works for the organization, our understanding is that Guruka Kaur is the Director. In light of the fact that this complaint is against the SSSC, and her husband, Guruka Singh, is an SSSC Board member, and the EPS is overseen by the SSSC, we have a concern regarding a conflict of interest in the handling of this complaint. Please confirm how this will be handled. Thank you.
The Students of Yogi Bhajan