Hare Krishnas Respond to Law Suit -
By Anuttama dasa
June 12, 2000
D.C.—A lawsuit alleging that child abuse occurred in the 1970's and
1980’s at several parochial schools and temples affiliated with the
International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), known as the
Hare Krishna movement, was filed on June 12, 2000, in the Federal District
Court in Dallas, Texas. The suit seeks $400 million dollars in damages.
terrible malaise of child abuse has infected public and private schools,
neighborhoods, churches, and families," said Anuttama Dasa, Director
of ISKCON Communications. "It is very sad that some of the children
of the Hare Krishna society have also been victimized," he said.
the events alleged in this suit did occur," said Dasa, "we
regret that they did, and we will make every effort to help address the
needs of the young people named in the suit."
Vaishnava religious tradition to which Hare Krishna devotees adhere is a
monotheistic branch of the Hindu faith. Vaishnava scriptures state that
the protection and care of children is an essential religious practice.
According to Dasa, child abuse in any form is "gross violation"
of Krishna principles.
have made considerable efforts in recent years to prevent abuse and, when
necessary, to provide counseling and financial assistance for past
victims. In 1990, policies were established requiring
abuse‑prevention education for Krishna children and the immediate
reporting of all suspected abuse to government and legal authorities.
1996, the organization "Children of Krishna" was formed to help
Krishna youth with education, vocational training and grants for college.
In 1998, the ISKCON Office of Child Protection was established with a
professional staff to:
work with ISKCON temples, managers and educators to enhance screening and
child protection programs,
financial support and counseling for abuse victims, and
and adjudicate allegations of past abuse, especially where local legal
systems are ineffective or lacking.
addition, the traditional Indian-style boarding schools, or gurukulas, that the Krishna established in North America in the
1970's were closed, or transformed into day schools. The only exception is
a small boarding school for high school age girls in northern Florida. Day
schools, Krishna leaders say, provide greater scope for parental
involvement and watchfulness over the children.
temples are independently incorporated. Most have relatively small
congregations and limited resources. The size of the suit is far beyond
the financial assets of the Krishna temples named in the suit, according
© Anuttama 12-June-2000
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