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.
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?