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Alachua Ashram Still Closed

An update on the Muralivadaka case

St. Helier, Jersey (CHAKRA)—Muralivadaka dasa, who recently admitted sexually abusing young boys 10 years ago at the Lake Huntington Gurukula, is presently living in St. Augustine, Florida, with his wife. He is trying to put his life together after the sudden exposure of his past deeds.

"As far as Murali is concerned I get an e-mail from him maybe once a week and sometimes 2 weeks, mainly business," reports Rtadhvaja Swami from Florida. "He is supposed to get some professional counseling. He is not allowed on the farm and I don't think he has been to any temple since this came out."

Some devotees have reported that he seems to be remorseful about the whole thing, but they question whether that will ever be enough to compensate for what he has done.

Rtadhvaja Swami says the boys' ashram (residence facility) for the school in Alachua is still closed. "At the present time, there is no ashram on the farm, as the people are too shocked from this incident. If there were ever to be an ashram here again it would have to be off the farm like the one Mother Laxmimoni runs for the girls.
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Rtadhvaja Maharaja says they are trying to keep the academics going for the boys anyway, and that it's going well. "I am just managing the school for now. Next year I will have to take on some of the teaching responsibilities also."

None of the parents of the boys in the ashram wanted to close the ashram or take their children out. "Every one of them gave full support to the program and are pushing me to get another one going as soon as possible," says Rtadhvaja Swami. "I also have received 6 more applications from parents who want their boys to come into the ashram. Unfortunately, I am unable to do this now. I have neither financial resources nor personnel for an ashram, nor am I convinced I can protect the boys from such a thing happening again, after the last one."

Despite the problems, Rtadhvaja Swami says he is happy to serve ISKCON by providing a facility for boys' education. This, he says, will allow them to stay out of the public school system, which Srila Prabhupada called a slaughterhouse.

"I have seen intelligent boys, they go to school and he is spoiled," said Srila Prabhupada during a conversation in London in 1973. "Yes, spoiled. He learns how to smoke, how to have sex, how to talk nonsense, how to use knife, how to fight, these things. At least at the present moment. Yes. Simply slaughterhouse, this so-called school is called slaughterhouse. Yes, slaughterhouse."

Everyone agrees that it would be better to keep school going. But should it be an ashram school or a day school? "I can honestly say if the parents could come up to a high standard it would be great for the boys to just stay at home, but this is not the case most of the time," says Rtadhvaja Swami.

CHAKRA 9-Apr-98

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