Introduction

In early 2020, the leadership of our community cited “credible allegations” and called into question whether our Spiritual Teacher was as we knew him to be – a man of God, whose integrity and grace is beyond reproach, or someone entirely different.

The impact of answering this question is HUGE.  Is how we’ve been living as a Spiritual Community for the past 50 years still our reality, or is there an alternate reality we never knew existed?

Answering this question is one of the most important decisions we will make in our lives. The answer to this question will affect hundreds of thousands of lives across the globe.  It will affect each and every one of us for the rest of our lives.

Is the AOB investigation process, and their subsequent report, and the information you were deliberately not given in that report, enough for you to make one of the most important decisions in your life?

For many of us, the answer to this question has been a resounding “NO”.  And so, many of us communicated with and shared our knowledge and experiences with each another and with AOB in order to get to the truth.

This analysis of the AOB report is what we determined through that process.

We found the AOB report to be a bogus (untrue, wrong and unfair) report.  If you want to take a more in depth look at the AOB report and what is missing, before you make your final determination regarding one of the most important decisions of your life, then read on.

Blessings to All,
OngKar Kaur
(Note:  Although I work for SDI, this work represents my personal thoughts; not any official position from SDI).

View the Analysis of the AOB Report

Bogus and Illegal Investigation

A quick FYI….AOB interviewed over 300 people: women who made allegations, people who supported them, and people who supported the character of Yogi Bhajan. Toward the end of their process, they refused to speak with some people who requested interviews to support Yogi Bhajan. Each person’s testimony was given an identification number, such as #56.

Not an Investigation

The report states many times that AOB was commissioned to perform a third-party independent “investigation” even though their website says: We are not investigators and do not try to uncover the past; instead, we try to improve things for the future. And indeed, due to the fact that AOB did not have the credentials to carry out an investigation, this report was determined to be Illegal.

In May 2020, the Siri Singh Sahib Corp (SSSC) was notified that An Olive Branch was not licensed to do investigations – the work the Collaborative Response Team (CRT) had hired them to do. The SSSC did nothing to correct the situation and tried to brush it off by saying it didn’t matter if AOB was unlicensed, because the situation would never be prosecuted.

The SSSC seemed to miss the point of why people are licensed in the first place: states require that professionals with minimum qualifications be licensed in order to protect the public from unqualified and untrained providers – doctors, engineers, contractors, private investigators and so on.  if the team of people conducting the “investigation” were not trained or qualified to properly conduct an investigation, what would the quality of that “investigation” likely be?  It is this report.

Why did the SSSC appoint AOB, when AOB was unqualified and unlicensed?  Did the CRT, the SSSC and their attorneys even ask whether AOB was licensed when they hired them?  And why did the SSSC release the report after they knew AOB was not licensed?  Why did the SSSC continue to direct and pay AOB for an investigation that they knew was illegal?

No Representation of the Accused

The problem with AOB’s illegal “investigation”, is that there was no representation of the accused, Yogi Bhajan.  The SSSC attorneys dismissed this as well, saying that the deceased cannot be represented. This is false – the deceased are routinely represented in legal investigations by appointees called “personal representatives.” It happens every day; in cases such as car accidents, contract disputes, property disputes, etc.

(See Mis-Truths in the SSSC Follow Up Letter.)

Allegations and Accusers Identities Were Kept Secret

The AOB investigation was patently unfair because not only the identity of the accuser’s was kept secret, but their accusations as well as the time and place of the alleged claims were kept secret. And yet supporters of Yogi Bhajan who were interviewed were asked by AOB if they had evidence to dispute the claims of the “victims.”  How is it possible to refute something you have no knowledge of?

In this age of #metoo, many women who claim sexual abuse have come forward publicly to tell their stories. Why were the women who reported abuse to AOB given special treatment and their identities and stories hidden from those who wanted to prove Yogi Bhajan’s innocence?

Lack of Credibility of the AOB “Investigation”

The AOB report gives no indication that they took the time to verify that the accusers ever met Yogi Bhajan or had the type of access they describe in their allegations. Since the claims were not made public, many community members did their own research to find out what they could about the allegations and who was making them. They were able to identity some of the women and contacted dozens of people who knew the accusers well and who were regularly at Yogi Bhajan’s home. Those contacted included personal staff, cooks, drivers, household staff, sevadars, etc.

No Verification of Identity or Statements

One Yogi Bhajan supporter recounts this conversation they had with AOB:

AOB said that they were confused by our names, and asked, “Do you know how many people we’ve talked with?  How could we verify their identities?  We don’t have to verify people; people call us, and we take them at their word that they are who they say they are.  We were told to take what we hear as credible.  We do not have an investigative team to verify everything. We took statements from people and we were told to provide counseling money to people who fit the criteria.”

Evidence Not Considered

As a result of the community’s independent research, important facts, including court documents and letters written at the time, were provided to AOB to disprove the credibility of some of the accuser’s claims.  This valuable evidence was not mentioned in the AOB report.  Yet the report states time and time again how it was “more than likely than not” that Yogi Bhajan had done the things these women accuse him of.

Medical Evidence Given No Weight

Yogi Bhajan’s health was poor during the later years of his life, and according to medical professionals, he was physically unable to do the things he was accused of during that time. At least three women who we believe made claims were on his staff in his later years. AOB was given Yogi Bhajan’s detailed medical history, and they were offered medical records to back it up. AOB did not request to see the medical records and completely ignored the medical evidence which refuted the claims of these women.  None of this information was mentioned in the report.

Communications Deliberately Kept Out of the Report

One community member spoke with a number of the accusers, and with many people who knew the accusers. Valuable information was provided to AOB which questioned the credibility of the claims they had heard about via social media and “listening tours” hosted on Zoom.  AOB then told them they were not doing an investigation. The person replied, “Yes, you were hired to do so, and all the communications from the CRT said you are doing an investigation.”  Again, AOB said they were not hired to do an investigation; they were hired to take statements and provide a report.

Another Yogi Bhajan supporter said none of  information they shared with AOB which questioned the integrity of the accusers and their stories is mentioned in the report; moreover, more than 20 other supporters of Yogi Bhajan say their information disputing the allegations is not included in the report either.

The purpose of an investigative report is to provide readers with an objective, unbiased statement of what information was found during the course of the investigation.  The fact that AOB left the information, provided by these supporters, out of the report could be nothing but a deliberate attempt to lead the readers to a specific narrative predetermined by AOB. Given that AOB spoke to 140 supporters, it is more than likely that there is even more information refuting the allegations that AOB omitted from their report as well.

Fabricated Stories Accepted by AOB

One person knew a woman who had never even met Yogi Bhajan, who had called AOB to make a claim. The person contacted AOB and inquired, “Can someone really just call and give a name and story, without it being verified?” AOB replied that they do not have the resources to look at both sides of a story; and admitted that they only take statements.

The person told AOB about the false claim given by this woman who had never met Yogi Bhajan and asked, “Do you want me to tell you about her?  She has falsely accused other men and has no credibility.”  They asked how he knew about it and he said the woman had told him.  He asked how they were going to verify her story.  AOB said they would not be verifying it; it would just be added to the report.  They said that they take people at their word as being credible.

After this experience, this person decided to do a “test” of AOB protocols. He called AOB multiple times using different names. AOB accepted whatever name he used. When he asked about their investigative process, he was told that AOB could only discuss their process with people making a complaint. So, he called back using another name and made a complaint about sexual abuse by Yogi Bhajan.

The AOB interviewer commented that they had received claims from women, but not men; that his being a man made it more “balanced.”  He proceeded to tell the interviewer a fabricated story of abuse. By doing so, he confirmed that accusers’ identities and stories are not verified in any way whatsoever!

After telling his fabricated story, he was told that his claim would be in the report and that it would be anonymous and if he wanted to contact them to tell them anything else, he could call back any time.

He asked the interviewer how they were going to verify his story.  They said that they were not going to.  The person asked the interviewer, “how do you know if my story is true?” The interviewer said that they take all stories as credible; that they do not confirm anyone’s story; that they do not do investigations; that it says on their website they don’t do investigations.

After giving his false story and confirming what their process was, the person asked to speak with a supervisor.  The supervisor came on the phone and he told both her and the interviewer that his story was not true; that it was a spoof; that he had made it up to see if they would do anything to validate it; that the name he had given was not his legal name; and that in fact, he had never met Yogi Bhajan.

The AOB interviewer said “What?”.  He said, “the story I just told you never happened.”  The interviewer said, “What do you mean?”  He said that it couldn’t have happened; that he came to the Dharma after Yogi Bhajan left his body; that he wasn’t even there.  The interviewer said that she didn’t believe him; that she thought his story was true; that it sounded like it was authentic and true.  She said that he was covering for Yogi Bhajan; she said she could “feel that he was telling the truth”; that he was emotional and that he was “crying while telling his story” (he wasn’t actually crying; it was her interpretation of him talking).  He told the interviewer and the supervisor that the reason he had called to give a false complaint was that 1) he had heard they don’t verify the identity of accusers and do not get confirmations of stories and that 2) he knew others who were giving false complaints; so he called in to test the system; to see what they would do if he made a false claim; that they had failed the system.

Bias of Guilt in Findings

AOB admitted to one supporter that they were told to ask supporters of Yogi Bhajan the final question in their interviews, “Did you ever hear anything about orgies?” Many supporters who had interviews said they were asked this question or something very similar. Many supporters said they felt that the AOB interviewers hadn’t heard a word they had said in support of Yogi Bhajan’s character because if they had, they would have known that the supporter did not believe Yogi Bhajan would ever have engaged in unethical sexual behavior with his students.

The AOB report contains nothing in the way of “evidence” other than the statements of the accusers.  Several accusers provided names of people who supposedly knew about the claims at the time they supposedly happened. Of these several people, either they could not be located, or they denied remembering the stories as they were presented to them. AOB explained away their denials and decided anyway that the claims were “more likely than not” to have happened.  This demonstrates a very clear bias of guilt.

Here are some examples of their impartial conclusions:

Page 36 of the report says:

“the individual in question could not be located to affirm or deny the allegation.  Since there were other accounts of Yogi Bhajan directing individuals (to engage in sexual activity)… we take ‘#xx’ allegation as credible…The alleged escort denied that they did this, but also may have blocked or forgotten this incident or believed the purpose of the encounter was not sexual in nature….after weighing all of the relevant information available to us, we have sufficient evidence to conclude that it is more likely than not….”

An accusation this serious in nature should not automatically be deemed credible because the accuser says it is so. AOB was incapable of being neutral in order to get to the truth. They dismissed this testimony because it did not fit the narrative they wished to portray.  This demonstrates a clear bias. If the allegations had not been kept under wraps, it is more than likely that the community would have been able to locate the other person.

Page 39 of the report says:

“’#xx’: We picked [name] up at the airport. She had bruises all over her face – she had a split lip, bruised cheek, and puffy eye. And she said she had bruises on her body. She did not want to tell us what had happened, but eventually she said she was kicked in the head by a horse. I did not believe she was kicked by a horse. We wanted to take her to a doctor, but she refused. We saw other things – the way she acted-and I felt something very bad was happening in her life.”

Why was this even included in the report?  It is purely conjecture designed to imply guilt.

Page 49 of the report says:

“We found no inconsistencies when we tested the alignment of allegations of Yogi Bhajan’s propositioning or coaching women for sex between our private interviews and other information made available to us.”

What does this mean? How did they test this?  What other information was made available to them and from whom?

And page 52 says:

“In a media interview conducted in January 1987 with ‘#xx’, when asked if Yogi Bhajan had sex with any of those who worked for him, the interviewee denied that Yogi Bhajan engaged in any sexual behavior with any of his students”

‘#xx’ said: “This is so ridiculous, it’ s almost humorous… It’ s so absurd and so far from the truth and so far from anything that ever went on, that it’s hard for me to comprehend how they [people who have left the community] have the nerve and the gall to create stuff like this that’s based on nothing . However, in the American culture, if a woman spends the night with a man in her room, the only way we have to interpret it is… they’re sleeping together.”

AOB concludes:

“There is reason to question the credibility of this statement, however, since the speaker was being interviewed in 1987 by a media reporter and may not have been truthful in the interest of protecting Yogi Bhajan and others with whom he allegedly had sex.”

Again, AOB discredits the testimony of a Yogi Bhajan supporter by saying she may have been trying to hide the truth.

AOB’s statement shows how sloppy their work is: this was not a “media interview” as they stated. The document they are referring to is an 89-page legal interview, from a former staff member with lawyers involved in the Pamela and Kate lawsuits in 1986.

In many sections of the report, the statement was made:

“We have no specific information that refutes any of the claims made about….  After weighing all of the relevant information available to us, we have sufficient evidence to conclude it is more likely than not that…”

What was the “sufficient evidence”?  Only the statements of the accusers.  Since there was no representative of the accused, no one except the accuser and the interviewee knew what was being claimed.  So how could there be any additional evidence? AOB concludes that since the alleged claims occurred in private, that constitutes proof.

AOB does not provide “verified evidence” that there were any rapes. Only the stories of the women were considered. If the women never told a therapist or anyone else, who confirmed any claim AROUND THE TIME IT HAPPENED, not in 2019-2020, this is not considered verified or corroborated proof.  In a typical “he said/ she said” situation, an investigator asks pertinent questions about dates, locations, who else was around, etc. to verify or dispute a claim being made.

Refer to the Shambala Report to see how this is typically done.

Assessments of Credibility

AOB used the following factors to explain how they determined if the burden of proof was met for a given claim.

  1. Was the witness capable of knowing the thing thoroughly about which they speak?
  2. Were they actually present at the transaction and can narrate their recollections?
  3. Were their perceptions of events accurate compared to known facts or the observations of other people?

How did AOB know whether the accusers “perceptions of events were accurate” or not?

Since there was no representative of the accused, and because AOB set up an anonymous process, for which only they knew who the accusations were and by whom, they could not actively pursue information which could confirm or deny the claims.

When an accuser described something that happened at a particular event, or time in history, how did AOB “compare known facts or other person’s observations”, when because the accusers and the claims were anonymous, they could not ask the needed questions.

If there had been a representative of the accused, that person would have known what the claims were and could say who might be able to speak to them.  For example, they might say “here are other people who were living in the house during that time”; or “Yogi Bhajan had medical surgery at the time and was not physically able to do the activities described in a particular claim”, etc.

If the investigator does not receive dates and locations and doesn’t know who can verify information surrounding the allegations, they do not have enough information to make a balanced determination.  To get to the truth, input from both the accuser and the person representing the accused is required.  In the report, there is not one reference to when or where any of the claims took place.

  1. Whether they paid sufficient attention (i.e., can remember the events that were perceived) to qualify themselves to be a reporter of a transaction

How could AOB possibly know if the accuser’s perceptions of events were accurate when no one else knew enough about the claims to say whether they had observed details of the events? Yogi Bhajan’s supporters were unable to provide information which would refute the claims because AOB interviewers would not reveal the who, what, when and where of the claims.  If these facts had been known, it is possible that more witnesses would have been able to refute the allegations of these women.

AOB only seems to have considered accusers for this.  Many supporters fell into this category as well.  Only general supportive comments from supporters were included.  Why was nothing of substance from the hours and hours of interviews with supporters shared in the report?

  1. Whether they are sincere, i.e. whether they honestly relate the affair fully as they know it, without any purpose or desire to deceive, or suppress or add to the truth

These are very subjective criterion.  There is no way AOB could possibly determine from one or two interviews that the accusers are “without any purpose or desire to deceive, suppress or add to the truth.” Judges and juries spend months or years in court, weighing the testimony of witnesses and evidence to make this kind of determination. But with only 40 hours of mediation training, the AOB interviewers want us to believe they can judge that the women accusing Yogi Bhajan are telling the truth and have no ulterior motives?

  1. Whether or not they have a reputation for having a character for truthfulness

Without having a representative of the accused and by keeping the allegations anonymous, how is it possible for AOB to find out whether an accuser has a “character for truthfulness”?  AOB was set up with a process where they could not do that, because they could not ask anyone about any of the accusers, if the claims were anonymous.

Even so, for the allegations which were made public, either via Facebook, at the April Khalsa Council meetings, or through “tell a Sikh” conversations, dozens of people in the community, who can speak intelligently to the “reputation for having a character for truthfulness” of the accusers, contacted AOB.

They reported about accusers who had sex with married men, broke up marriages, made a false claim of having sex with the husband of a friend, and about accusers who have previously lied in court.

Multiple accusers included former UI board members and associates, who were found guilty of trying to steal the assets of our Dharma, including selling the Golden Temple Cereal Company to themselves for $100 – a company which sold for millions of dollars.

At least one accuser was kicked out of multiple respected spiritual entities.

AOB was told that this same accuser, who claimed explicit sexual activity with Yogi Bhajan, once told someone at the ranch that she should be able to move into Yogi Bhajan’s dome (his personal residence).  Then when asked, where she would expect he would go to live, she simply shrugged her shoulders as if to say she didn’t know.  This extraordinary statement, illustrating the accuser’s state of mind, was not included in the report.

NONE of this information, shared by DOZENS of people in our community, was cited in the AOB report as a good cause for questioning the claims of these women.  Why not?

  1. How they present themselves (i.e., their demeanor such as facial expressions, body language, reactivity, emotional expression, etc.)

This is a subjective determination and irrelevant for phone interviews or written statements.

  1. Whether they have made prior inconsistent statements

With no one representing the accused and the allegations themselves being anonymous, how could AOB determine whether the accusers had said something differently in the past or not?  They could not ask anyone questions about whether the person had said something different in the past, since everything was kept anonymous.

Even so, for the stories which were made public, either via Facebook, at the April Khalsa Council meetings, or through “tell a Sikh” conversations, many people in the community, who can speak intelligently to the question of whether the accusers had made “prior inconsistent statements” of the accusers, contacted AOB.

None of this information, shared by DOZENS of people in our community, was cited in the report.  Why?

Multiple accusers, who were staff members, told multiple people early on in this process that they never saw any sexual abusive behavior, nor were they victims of such behavior.  Over time, they changed their stories from not having ever seen anything, to being an accuser themselves.

If this had been a true investigation, and not just a process of taking statements from accusers, AOB may have discovered these inconsistencies.  If AOB was told about these inconsistent statements by anyone who was interviewed by them, there was no mention of it in the report.  Most likely, AOB could not look into it anyway, since the claims were anonymous, and they couldn’t confirm information about them with anybody.

AOB could have had access to this information if there had been a representative of the accused who could tell them who may have been in contact with the accusers previously, who might know what they said in the past.  AOB shut themselves off from that process, by not having a representative of the accused.

In the whole 70+ pages of the AOB report, there were only 2 or 3 times that AOB contacted people, who the accusers said had some knowledge of the claim.  When AOB spoke with those people and they denied it, or said they could not remember, AOB dismissed what they said, because what they said did not fit their intended conclusion.

One way to confirm inconsistencies is to review dates and locations of the claims and confirm those with others who may be aware of who was where when.

There are no dates or locations in the AOB report.  If there was a representative of the accused, they could have told AOB who to speak to, who may have had information about who was where and when.

Click here to see the Shambhala Investigative Report, which was a fair and legal investigation done for another spiritual organization, where sexual abuse of their leader was being investigated.  Dates and locations were indicated in this report.  For example, a claim was made that something sexual happened in Boston, during the 2005 Boston marathon, where 2 other people were supposedly present.  The investigator contacted the witnesses and obtained proof that they were not even in Boston at the time.  The claim was denied.  This demonstrates the importance of being able to use this kind of information to confirm the credibility of claims.

  1. Whether their evidence is supported by other evidence

AOB set up a process where getting any verified or corroborated evidence was very difficult, and indeed was not pursued.  Without the accused being represented and with the claims being anonymous, how could any evidence, other than the stories of the accusers, be discovered? “Other evidence” was severely lacking in this “investigation”.

  1. Whether they have other motives

AOB was provided information, including documentation, by multiple sources which questioned credible motives behind some of the accusations.  NONE of this information was shared in the report.

The report says:

“We used all these criteria in assessing the credibility of both those offering evidence in support of Yogi Bhajan and those reporting claims of misconduct by him. Whenever possible, we sought corroborative evidence from other sources, not in the form of similar opinions, but substantive information about whether specific time frames, locations, and events offered by one person aligned with the information provided by others.”

This statement is completely bogus. It was impossible for AOB to do what they claim in the statement above, and there is no indication in the report of any of this kind of evidence.  The few times when conflicting evidence was brought up, AOB dismissed the comments of the witnesses.

The report also says

Because the alleged behavior typically occurred in private, however, we often had to rely on the statement of a single individual. In these cases, however, credibility was enhanced if a pattern of similar behavior was reported by multiple people.”

As mentioned previously, numerous accusers had a history of lying and making false claims in the past.  So, the “pattern of similar behavior” listed by AOB in the report cannot be assumed to be accurate.  If multiple people have lied, by making false claims against others previously, then the similar behavior is the accusers not being truthful, not that Yogi Bhajan’s behavior was not appropriate.

Credibility of Accusers Called into Question

A big part of determining the credibility of allegations is to hear from all sides; not to keep people from knowing what the accusers reported, so no one can confirm or deny their stories.  How can AOB possibly verify whether a claim is credible, if they are the only ones hearing the stories of the alleged victims?  It’s inconceivable that they could ever discover the truth.

That is why in every legitimate, fair and legal investigation, a representative of the accused is established, so at least that person knows what the accusations are and can determine who may have information as to the credibility of the accuser and the claim being made.

Some of the allegations were made public through Facebook, in “tell a Sikh” conversations, and when the accusers spoke at an April, 2020 Khalsa Council which was open to all.  Numerous people who heard these stories and knew the accusers well contacted AOB to call into question the veracity of the claims.  In our close knit community where it is impossible to keep anything secret, how is it that of the hundreds of people who listened in on these calls, no one had any previous knowledge about any of this alleged sexual misconduct they claim occurred over 20+ years?

Accusers who have a History of Illegal Activity against our Community

Some of the purported accusers are women who were connected to the infamous former UI Board, as soon as Yogi Bhajan left his physical body, worked to systematically steal the assets of the Dharma.

Some of the accusers were connected to our former UI Board. Even before Yogi Bhajan’s passing they worked to systematically steal the assets of the Dharma, and reaped millions in the sale of our Golden Temple company.  One of these women lied on the witness stand during the legal case we brought against them, claiming things about Yogi Bhajan which were not true.  These women signed non-disparagement agreements as part of the settlement.  However, the SSSC Board allowed these NDA agreements to be waived so these women could bring their accusations to light.  How can these women, who received millions in the settlement of this suit, be considered credible?

Misleading Information about Past Claims

The report says:

“Allegations were raised in December 2019, following the publication of  White Bird in a Golden Cage by Pamela Dyson. In response, the Siri Singh Sahib Corporation (SSSC) Board formed the Collaborative Response Team (CRT) to look into the allegations. On March 3, 2020 the SSSC Board commissioned An Olive Branch to perform a third-party independent investigation.”

One has to assume from this statement, and from comments Pamela made publicly on social media, that she was one of the accusers in the report.  People contacted AOB to share 1st hand knowledge of areas of Pamela’s book, for which they claim were a complete rewrite of history.  There was no mention of this information, which refuted what was written in the book, in the report.

Part 2 of the report says:

“various allegations of sexual and other misconduct by Yogi Bhajan were raised over the years, including two lawsuits in 1986 that were eventually settled out of court.”

It is not true that there were any other allegations of sexual misconduct raised over the years aside from the Pamela and Kate lawsuits from the 1980s. The SSSC attorneys have provided misleading information regarding these lawsuits, saying the plaintiffs were paid out of court – the inference being that Yogi Bhajan paid the women off and therefore was guilty.  This is NOT what happened.

Yogi Bhajan admitted no guilt and DID NOT pay anyone off.  In fact, a counter suit was brought against the person who was financially backing the plaintiffs in both those cases. Neither Yogi Bhajan, nor anyone in our Dharma, paid a penny to the plaintiffs. All the lawsuits were eventually dropped. If Pamela and Kate received money from anyone, it was from the people who funded them to file lawsuits against Yogi Bhajan.

AOB conducted multiple interviews with people who gave them information about this; including actual court filings, but NONE of this was mentioned in the report. These are acts of censorship that no legitimate investigator would keep secret from the reader of the report.

As a side note:  When cases like this end, there is almost always a demand for an NDA (a non-disclosure agreement), where the party getting the money agrees to not disclose the embarrassing things that happened. Here, because nothing happened, an NDA was not even requested.

Never Even Knew Yogi Bhajan

It was discovered that one woman contacted AOB and said she was sexually abused by Yogi Bhajan, when in fact, she had come into the Dharma at the end of his life and never even met Yogi Bhajan. She had also had previously falsely accused other men of sexual misconduct.

Someone who came to know that this woman had made a claim with AOB, and who happened to know about her past false claims of abuse by other men, contacted AOB to challenge them as to how they were going to confirm her story and whether she had indeed even met Yogi Bhajan.

AOB told the person they would not do anything to confirm it.  How could they? You know the drill…. Since it’s anonymous, how would anyone know she was making a claim and AOB could not follow up with anyone to confirm or deny it.  Fortunately, in this case, someone who could confirm that she had never met Yogi Bhajan was able to contact AOB.  However, there was no mention of this in the report.

An additional note about this particular situation is that this woman says she received $1200 after providing her statement to AOB.  This was part of the offer made to “victims” to receive money for counseling.  She contacted AOB to make a claim, with the intention to receive money.  At the end of her interview, during which her identity was not confirmed, and her story was not investigated, she was asked if she wished to receive money for counselling. She answered yes, and she was sent a check.

This woman who made a claim, and who had never even met Yogi Bhajan, said she did not have to prove that she was actually going to use the money for counselling.  This was all handled in one process with AOB; no other party was involved; it was one phone call.  No receipts were needed to receive money, but she did receive $1200 to use for “counseling.”

Accuser Wrongly Represented Herself as “Senior Staff”

One woman who claimed to be “senior staff” was mentioned on Facebook as having made a claim with AOB. When actual senior staff were asked if she was a senior staff member who might have spent private time with Yogi Bhajan, they were told that she was not senior staff; she worked in Finances in an office and did not spend much time in Yogi Bhajan’s home, and certainly was never alone with him.

A supporter of Yogi Bhajan let AOB know that this woman’s claim of being senior staff was untrue, but this was never mentioned in AOB’s report. The supporter also gave the names and contact information of three people who could verify that this woman misrepresented her status in order to substantiate her claim. The three people were never contacted by AOB.

The system that was set up for AOB to maintain anonymity made it IMPOSSIBLE for AOB to investigate any claim, because they could not ask any other person about a given accuser.

Post Report Note:  this same person was mis-representing herself as part of Yogi Bhajan’s “senior staff”, also claimed publicly (on Listening Tour zoom calls) that she was part of his staff for 17 years and that “sex was happening”.

Claims which Lack Credibility

As mentioned above, in the “Assessments of Credibility” listed in the report, AOB states that one of the factors they consider for the credibility of a claim is whether or not the accuser has a reputation for having a character for truthfulness.

Many people in support of the allegers accuse anyone who questions the credibility of the accusers of “victim shaming”.  The reality is that if you are going to bring accusations against someone, which has the effect of destroying their reputation, and which their families have to live with for generations, you have to be accountable for your part of the story.  It is a one-sided truth if you simply make your statements and the people who hear them immediately take it as the truth.

Multiple people currently making accusations have been proven to have lied in the past, or at the very least, claims have been made against them of not telling the truth, so their credibility should be called into question now.

One supposedly “credible” accuser had falsely claimed to have sex with the husband of a friend years earlier.  In addition, she had affairs with other married men.   Numerous people said she had lied about a variety of things in the past.  She had also been kicked out of multiple respected spiritual entities.

Although this information was shared with AOB, it was not mentioned in the report and is not seemingly considered when determining whether her claims were “more likely than not”.

Instead, since the report does not mention any of these details, it seems that merely the number of accounts was the most important factor in determining credibility, and so this and other non-credible accusers were included in the AOB assessment that “credibility was enhanced if a pattern of similar behavior was reported by multiple people.”

Page 49 findings – AOB states

“While there were a few generalized refutations regarding the credibility of Reporter #”xx”, these refutations were offset by others speaking in favor of her credibility.  After weighing all of the relevant information available to us, we have sufficient evidence to conclude it is more likely than not…”

AOB was contacted by people who knew the accuser and had grave concerns about the credibility the stories.  In addition, letters written by the accuser at about the time that the claim supposedly took place, were also shared with AOB, which demonstrated a completely different endearing relationship than what was shared in the report.  Why was this information not included in the report?  Apparently, once again AOB only included in the report, information from people who spoke in favor of the credibility of the accusers.

Regarding the findings of noting “similar behavior” by “multiple people”, multiple accusers are former UI member associates.  One of them, is a woman who helped to orchestrate an effort to steal all the assets from the Dharma nearly a decade ago.  She said in her deposition in the court room at the time that she enjoyed daydreaming about concocting elaborate conspiracy theories.  Another accuser lied while giving testimony in the court room.  Others simply did not have access to Yogi Bhajan in any way, which could lead to the type of salacious events they say occurred.

Staff of Yogi Bhajan, who individually, at the beginning of this ordeal, told multiple people that they had never witnessed anything happening, later came forward to say they had been abused also.  Their stories changed over several months. They are strong women; not pushovers; how is it that they were supposedly manipulated for years, and in the last 15+ years, since Yogi Bhajan’s death, NONE of them felt they could speak up? And how, in our “tell a Sikh” culture, would no one have heard about it until now?

The fact that the credibility of accusers who have made false claims and lied in the past has not been seriously looked at and challenged, demonstrates the bogosity of this report.

Post-report note:

One accuser who shared her statement publicly months before the report was completed, recently shared on social media that she did not contact AOB to give her statement, even though portions of the statement she shared publicly are indeed part of the report.  On August 22, 2020, after the report had come out, she posted on Facebook:

“I chose not to include my story in AOB report.  My wounds were too fresh, and I didn’t feel ready to participate.  I regret that now, because I believe my story is an important one to be documented officially, but since I can’t go back in time, I am going to share it here and hope it still has some impact.” 

Why did this accuser lie about not contacting AOB?

A Different Perspective

AOB summarily dismisses Yogi Bhajan as the standard archetype of a powerful man abusing his power.  However, the reality many of students reported to AOB is that he never shied away from challenging you to live in your higher consciousness.

He was very direct and because sex is such a big issue in our society at large, and for people in their personal lives—it is part of life—he did not shy away from addressing these issues with his students.

Here is an example of a situation which happened between him and someone who made an accusation against him.  It all depends on your perspective.  At the time, this young woman was in big trouble.  She was aggressively acting out, as some teenagers do and was on the verge of being kicked out of her school.  After a family member picked her up from, school, she visited Yogi Bhajan, who invited her to sit with him to watch a movie.   As the accuser describes it, he was a dirty old man, asking her to come to his room to watch the movie “The Whore”.

Here is a review of the movie (by Owen Glelberman on October 25, 1991):

“Despite the come-on of its title, Whore isn’t a raw, tabloid exposé of life as a working girl. It is, rather, a garishly antierotic cartoon…”

The understanding of family members, who were aware of this situation, is that Yogi Bhajan was trying to show this young woman what the behavior she was exhibiting could lead to.  He was acting in his role as teacher, with integrity, to encourage her not to go down that road.

And actually, Yogi Bhajan was so hurt by hearing of her behavior, that he effectively shut down the entire Sikh participation in the school, which involved over 30 students.

Absurdity

The section of the report alleging sex with multiple partners, is one of the most obscene and unbelievable claims.  There seems to be a group of 7 women who are making these and the other most salacious sexual claims; some of whom have made been proven to be non-credible or to have changed their stories over time, so there is much to question when considering the veracity of their accusations.

Page 54 of the report says:

“We note it would be difficult for other community members to have the opportunity to observe these events since access to Yogi Bhajan’s bedroom required passing through several doors, access was controlled by a staff person or Secretary, and the internal door could be locked from inside. However, without floor plans and room dimensions (which we requested but only partially received), we could not evaluate claims that there was not space in Yogi Bhajan’s bedroom for many people to participate in group sexual activities.”

The fact is that Yogi Bhajan’s bedroom in Los Angeles was super small and had a thin wall.  Other people slept in another room on the other side of that wall.  You could hear everything between his room and the other room.  AOB was given specific information about this.  They chose not to include this information in the report.  This information would have easily discredited the claim of orgies.

AOB interviewed dozens of supporters who were close to Yogi Bhajan and part of his household on a daily basis for many years, including staff members.  As these supporters started having interviews with AOB, it became apparent that AOB was asking one main question to everyone they interviewed, “What about orgies?  Did you ever see any or hear about any?”

It was shocking and laughable that the interviewer was even asking that question.  Every person who was asked, thought this was completely ridiculous, with maybe the exception of the 7 women accusers who purportedly took part in them, and whoever in the last few months, they told about it.  No one who was part of the community EVER saw or heard about this kind of activity.

Anyone who was ever around Yogi Bhajan, knows how many people were around him 24/7, 365 days a year.  There were kitchen staff, security, house care takers, family, guests and his many staff members. Many of these people called in to share information with AOB.   Even though AOB asked a standard question of all of these people, “whether they had ever seen or heard of orgies”, and they all said they NEVER did.

All the report says is:

“When queried about whether Yogi Bhajan had sex with multiple partners, no Supporters said they had observed or heard of this behavior.”

AOB proceeded to state that the behavior was more likely than not.

On page 68, the report says

“Even though many attended various gatherings to receive his teachings, not everyone was in his immediate, daily environment and so did not experience the proximity that the Reporters experienced. Further, even those who said they were in Yogi Bhajan’ s immediate environment – on guard duty, preparing and serving food, driving him to different locations, etc. – were not present behind closed doors where the most egregious harms allegedly were perpetrated.”

The above statement assumes that there were no supporters who “experienced the proximity that the reporters experienced,” which is simply not true.  Many supporters who had just as close “proximity” to Yogi Bhajan as the accusers did shared valuable information to question the credibility of the claims.

How is it that none of the supporters of Yogi Bhajan heard of any of this behavior, either during Yogi Bhajan’s lifetime, or in the last 16 years since his death?  Sexual orgies are not something which can take place without anyone hearing or seeing anything and if they did happen, could be kept quiet.  In our “Tell a Sikh” community, there’s no way people would not have known what was going on if there was a group sex/ orgy scene happening.

Anyone who knew what his day to day schedule was like, knows Yogi Bhajan had no time for this kind of behavior.  If you speak with anyone in his household staff, security detail and others who were part of daily life, they would tell you how busy he was; how tirelessly he worked day and night.  Between his schedule and his medical issues during the time period of many of these claims, he simply did not have the time, energy or ability for these kinds of activities.

As mentioned before, it does not appear that AOB confirmed that all the people who made the claims were ACTUALLY part of his staff or had the kind of access to him that they claim to have had.  The report also does not indicate that any information was checked as to Yogi Bhajan’s medical condition during the time of the claims, even though they were provided with extensive medical details which indicate he would not have been able to conduct many of the activities he was accused of at the time of the claims.

Since there was no representative of the accused and the claims were anonymous, anyone could say anything and no one could refute what they were saying.  If this was a true investigation, as opposed to simply taking statements from accusers as if they are true, much could have been shared to bring to light that this kind of behavior more than likely DID NOT happen.

Given the information shared above, and the complete lack of corroborated or verified evidence to prove that these claims did occur, the AOB should have concluded that it was more likely than not that these behaviors did not happen, or at the very least, inconclusive.

Rebuttals Not Included in the Report

The report says that people were invited to provide specific first hand evidence to refute the claims, BUT IT WAS IMPOSSIBLE TO DO, because there was no representative of Yogi Bhajan who was told what the allegations were, much less who, when, where – so it was impossible to refute information no one knew.

Many people did their best to determine what the accusations were and by whom, so if they had any helpful information to share with AOB, they could do so.   In the end, numerous people who knew both the accusers who made public statements and the accused very well, contacted AOB to call into question the veracity of the complaints (at least the ones they knew about).  Their “testimonies” represent hours and hours of interview time.

AOB should have concluded that at least 2 of the accusers’ stories were not credible, just based on medical information given to them about Yogi Bhajan’s medical condition during the last years of his life. Medical records were offered, but none were requested.

Page 38-39 findings of the report says that:

Multiple women made accusations that they were often bitten and had bruises on their lips, face and neck.”

There were many people on the ground at Yogi Bhajan’s residence every day for years and they NEVER saw ANY indication of bruises or bite marks on his staff.  At least one interviewee was asked by AOB if they ever saw any bruises or bite marks.  That person, someone who lived in the same house as some of Yogi Bhajan’s staff, replied that they had never seen anything.  Chances are that if AOB had used their “Assessments of Credibility” to ask the dozens of supporters who contacted them if they had ever seen any sign of bruises or bite marks, they would have been able to come to a “more likely not” determination for these claims.

AOB does not mention how many people they asked if they saw bruises, and who said they had never seen any evidence of that.  Instead, they asked, “What about the orgies?”

Why was NONE OF THIS INFORMATION SHARED in the report?  There was no substantive information challenging the credibility or veracity of the claims, which was represented in hours of interviews with supporters.

“Supporters” Disregarded

In the report, there are only general comments by “Yogi Bhajan Supporters” who contacted AOB to vouch for his character in a general way, sharing “nice and supportive” comments.  These seem to have been included in order to compliment the narrative which was portrayed by AOB of long-time community members, who support Yogi Bhajan, or who were closest to him, as being cult members who edify him as a God.

To the contrary, many of these people, are conscious, God loving people, who also happen to love and appreciate their Spiritual Teacher.  Many of them contacted AOB with extremely valuable information, which calls into question the veracity of the stories of the accusers.

The report included no substantive, credible information provided to them by the supporters, which questioned the credibility of the claims.  In this way, the report is extremely one-sided and biased.

There were instances where people shared with AOB that they had been at Yogi Bhajan’s home every day until 11pm for years, were his driver for years and had indeed lived with some of the accusers.  When they listed these details in an email to AOB, the AOB replied, asking if their statement was good enough, or whether they wanted to have an interview.  Others who lived on Yogi Bhajan’s home property and were part of his household day and night for years, and who knew his staff and the “comings and goings”, were not granted interviews.

Wouldn’t these people be the very ones who, someone conducting an investigation would want to question?  For example, the claims of group sex and orgies.  Wouldn’t these people most likely have seen or heard something?

The report dismisses these people, because some supposed claims happened behind closed doors.  However, if the behaviors described in the report had been happening over the decades of time that the accusers claim these behaviors happened, somewhere along the way, people would have “tripped up” and spilled the beans.  In as close knit of a community as we are, and with so many people who were around Yogi Bhajan day and night, someone would have heard something.

After their interviews, sometimes lasting for more than 1-2 hours, people voicing their support of Yogi Bhajan, or who had information to refute the claims, were simply asked these 2 questions at the end of their interview:

  • Did you ever see or hear of orgies taking place? The only reference any supporters had ever heard of about this, until this report came out, was in a slanderous article against our Dharma.
  • Even though we’ve heard Yogi Bhajan was a good person and helped many people, don’t you think there’s any way he was just a man who had certain needs?

Very few other, if any, probing questions relating to the claims, were asked of the supporters by the AOB interviewer.  Mostly, they just took any statements the supporters wanted to share and did not proactively ask questions.

On page 68, the report says,

“Even though many attended various gatherings to receive his teachings, not everyone was in his immediate, daily environment and so did not experience the proximity that the Reporters experienced.”)

Contrary to their effort at rewriting history, as if only the reporters were closest to Yogi Bhajan, AOB does not mention anywhere in their findings anything about supporters having the same “proximity”.  From what they say in the report, it would seem that the supporters are simply blindly following Yogi Bhajan, without having the same access and understandings as the accusers.  This is biased and simply not true.

On page 53, AOB states

As reported earlier in Section 7.1, Supporters’ interviews and statements also offered general refutations that questioned why Yogi Bhajan, as an evolved a human being, would want or need to engage in sexual relations with his students and that they themselves had never witnessed such behavior by their teacher.”

This question, which AOB asked of supporters, “questioned why Yogi Bhajan, as an evolved a human being, would want or need to engage in sexual relations with his students”. If the supporters never saw ANY acts of sexual misconduct and they truly believe in his integrity, then, yes, they would indeed refute the question.

If the goal was indeed to get to the truth, many questions could have been asked of Yogi Bhajan supporters, who were around him so much (i.e. did you ever see any indication of sexual abuse?  Did you ever see anyone working with Yogi Bhajan who was bruised and using makeup to disguise their bruises, etc.)? If these questions were asked, why are they not included in the report?

Time and again, supporters expressed that they did not feel that they were being taken seriously, that AOB had already made up their minds, and that it was a waste of their time to have participated in an interview.