Call For Media and Government Investigation

of Sathya Sai Baba And his worldwide cult, the Sathya Sai Organization

Will Sai Baba Keep Hal Honig Smiling?

Posted by Barry Pittard on March 22, 2007

.jpg Photo of Hal Honig.

Before posting this blog, I have taken these steps:

  • consulted an international lawyer
  • discussed with, and forwarded documentation relating to written allegations made that the reader can see below in Question 3) to the FBI (at the U.S. Embassy in Canberra, Australia), with simultaneous recipients being, at a high level, the U.S. State Department, Washington and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Canberra, Australia.
  • In a further bid to ensure accountability, notified the New York Mayor’s Office, which has issued a case number.
  • Notified Interpol.

With informant permission, facts will be shared with media that has a track record of responsible journalism and law firms of repute.  Further enquiries may be made to me: Barry Pittard. Email:

Good Citizenship Preceeds Spiritual Pursuits

Whatever may be the outcome of enquiries by the authorities, the truth may best be established by those reformist forces that one hears are growing in the Sathya Sai Organization (even though it is highly undemocratic in its main and often hidden power structures). The chances are that, if they ask questions, they will – like other individuals of conscience and integrity who have done so in a number of countries – be summarily thrown out of the Sathya Sai Organization. But let us trust that some remain who have professional competency to investigate and to hold accountable. Perhaps there will be some who are at least motivated by the wish to see the good social service works of the organization somehow maintained, despite continuing media and other exposure of Sai Baba and his top leaders.  

Perhaps they may be reminded that we are citizens first. One does not even get to the airport enroute to a guru unless one’s fellow citizens act decently and by certain rules. One must never allow fealty to a guru or any other charismatic figure to annihilate moral and ethical duties to our wider communities. In fact, as citizens, we have far more power to combat evil-doing than we might imagine, if only we will take courage and best use those rights law reformers have valiantly fought, and even died, for!

Will the U.S. State Department Be Accountable? Or Protect Honig?

One is informed that in the 60’s Hal Honig was a U.S. Cultural Attaché in Rome. He is a member of the Sathya Sai Central Council of the U.S.A., National Executive Commitee for Sai Young Adults, and National Seva (Sanskrit=Service) Coordinator Service Projects (which includes teaching needy youth)

‘The Secret Swami’s’ Cult Lacks Accountability

Hal Honig’s accountability is not only to his Sai Baba community but to the wider community per se. It is unusually high given that he has taken so many boys and young men to see Sai Baba, who faces many worldwide accusations of serial sexual molestation of boys and young men and implication in police killings in his bedroom on June 6, 1993 (which V.P.B. Nair, former Home Secretary of Sai Baba’s state, Andhra Pradesh, has told BBC television in ‘The Secret Swami’ (2004) was “cold-blooded murder”).

A key question is – do Hal Honig and his fellow worldwide Sathya Sai Organization leaders tell the parents and rank-and-file members of how seriously and responsibly made are the allegations against Sai Baba?

These leaders are often wealthy and influential, not least those who have Donald Trump as a near neighbor. The BBC producers of ‘The Secret Swami’, noting profound public unaccountability of Sai Baba and his organization, sought and gained permission from top BBC management and their legal advisors  to use a secret camera on Dr Michael Goldstein of Covina, California, the world chairman of the Sathya Sai Organization – a group that sees billions in various currencies pour into the Sathya Sai Central Trust in India.  

But Will Hal Honig Answer – Truthfully?

Those Sai Baba devotees honest and gutsy enough to ask for clarification can demand of Hal Honig, particularly as a foremost ‘Young Adult’ leader within this Organization:

1. Do you believe it true that various honest young males of your acquaintance (not to mention those parents who have strongly believed their childrens’ accounts and stood by them) have shared stories of Sai Baba? For example:

  • touching their genitals
  • oiling their genitals 
  • sucking their penis 
  • requiring to have his penis sucked
  • receiving from him or giving to him anal sex 

Oft-Persecuted Gays May Wish Honig’s Frankness, Too

2. There is evidence down the years that you lead a gay lifestyle. For example, we are told that you were well-known to the gay community in your U.S. Embassy days in Rome in the 60’s. Happily, studies have reinforced the evidence that the majority of gays, like heterosexuals, neither practice nor countenance sex with minors. Therefore, would it not be good to convince us all – including the gay community which is harmed by attributions of being male sexual abusers – and even make a sworn statement to the effect that the parties at your luxury apartment in Manhattan, New York, close to Donald Trump’s apartment, would not at all permit or countenance, or have ever done so, any such tresspass of law and morality?

How Clean is Hal Honig’s Luxury Apartment?

3. What is your comment, since you are reported to have knowledge of the related matters specifically, on the following note (the validity of which we understand will be attested by a sworn affidavit)?

“[T]here are people in the Sathya Sai Organization that on a regular basis have brought young black boys from the getto in Harlem and elsewhere to Sai Baba and in exchange are getting young males from India to their apartments in Manhattan. These males are easily getting visas for study arranged by the Indian Government” …..”Being gay, I was myself invited to X’s three-story apartment. It was then I realised the whole set up and found the Indian boys used in X’s own bedroom by other pedophiles …”

A further note by the same witness reports:

“When I was in India in the 90’s, X came with a whole bunch of coloured boys. I asked him where he had got them he told me that they were rounded up in the gettos or in the poor quarters of Harlem or Bronx where the Sai Organization went to deliver sandwiches every weekend for the poor – they called their activity ‘Seva’. There they got in contact and then they took them to the Sai Centers and educated them in the beliefs of the Avatar and off they went to Puttaparthi. The same exchange was done from the schools in Puttaparthi towards X. Students came to live in his apartment after arriving in New York and they where told that they would study but at least some of them ended up as I saw for myself in his own bed, even though it was with another person, a friend of X’s (an american actor as it was told to me by the Indian boys). It all looked very rigged up. I was asked to be there to talk to his specially invited friends who came from high-up elite of New York, almost all artists in some way or another. For me it became very clear what it all was about since I caught the boys f***ing in groups with the American actor in X’s bedroom. Of course I as usual denied the whole experience and thought that the boys were enjoying their good time, even though they told me they where in new York for study reasons”.

Honig Group Member Suicides On Return To U.S.

4. Mr Honig, one boy in a group you led shortly after his return from the 1993 visit to Sai Baba took his own life. That is to say, you stood in the role in loco parentis to these boys and young men. Acting as their parent, you were their bounden protector. Did you have reason to believe that his tragic end, as he is reported as telling a friend, was related to his feelings of having been sexually abused by SSB?

Even the Dead Shall Speak

5. In Puttaparthi in 1993, or at any time thereafter, were you aware of the allegation by Liz‘s nephew (she was the US choir leader at Puttaparthi) that Sai Baba had sexually abused him?

6. You will remember, with much respect one trusts, the late Sharon Purcell and her son Satya. For over thirty years a Sai Baba devotee, she was a friend of the multi-millionaires, extremely close to Sai Baba and absolutely seminal to his Sai movement, the late Elsie and Walter Cowan. Do you remember how her son, Satya was a member of the group of boys you led in 1993? A number of former devotees regard it as a sacred trust to her and to Glen Meloy’s memory that their findings (some of them not yet revealed) will not be forgotten. One of those is the present writer, who will continue to refuse to bend to litigation and other threats by the leadership of the Sathya Sai Organization, as expressed by T. Sri Ramanathan when head of it in Australia, not to mention Sai Baba’s individual followers. I may add that, thankfully, the BBC, DR (Denmark’s national broadcaster), SBS (Australia’s national multi-cultural broadcaster) and other media have refused to bend to Sathya Sai Organization threats of litigation. They have also refused its cries for ‘balance’ because the organization has behaved as an extremely cultic one, which refuses to answer honest questions honestly. For example, the BBC television team was immediately cast out by Sai Baba’s Puttaparthi ashram authority the moment Eamon Hardy the producer asked about the worldwide allegations against Sai Baba.

And The Living Keep On Demanding Accountability

7. Satya Purcell attests that he was deeply disturbed to hear first-hand accounts of sexual molestation by Sai Baba by three of his young male friends on that 1993 visit. It was, he recounts, too much for him and, with deep sorrow, he curtailed years of loving devotion to Sai Baba. Did you know – in loco parentis as you were – of that, Mr Honig?

8. If you did know of these and any similar matters, did you notify any civil authorities? Were you frank with the parents and the boys and young men?

9. What is your view of the fact that Mandatory Reporting by in-charge adults is essential in the face of reports that those in their charge have been touched on the genitals or other acts that most – experts and laypersons alike – would regard as being of a sexual nature?

10. Not only is it questioned whether you informed about such matters the parents of the many boys and young men who, down the years, you have led to Sai Baba. But did you challenge your fellow leaders in the Sathya Sai Organization with the fact that Churches and other institutions have been devastated, including financially, because of their refusal to honestly face serious allegations of sexual promiscuity – in the case of clergy despite, as in the case of Sai Baba, vows of celibacy – among those in charge?

11. Or do you, like various Sai devotees, think that Sai Baba does these things but that he, being God and “pure” (to use his own words), and is an exception? And is exempt from the laws in many countries surrounding these acts?

12. Do you think it at all credible that a person such as Sharon Purcell, not to mention so many, many others, after those thirty long years of devotion to Sai Baba would leave the organization? That she would make such allegations? That she would quit the fold which was her life breath, which she so much loved and where she felt so accepted and loved?

Sharon, brave soul that she was, even though sick and dying, made the strenuous effort to be available for interview by Alejandro Agostinelli in an Argentina TV documentary ‘Zona de Investigacion’ series aired on Aug 5 and 12, 2000. According to those who knew her well, she withstood vicious verbal attacks on her integrity by high-profile Sai Baba devotees such as Berniece Mead, who lived in the same block of apartments, head of the Education in Human Values programs in the U.S.A., and a keynote speaker on Sai Baba topics across America.

Does Sai Baba’s Cult Actively Suppress Suicide Cases? 

13. Did you know that one of the boys in your group, with an account of having his genitals oiled by Sai Baba, was Josh Kintz (Josh=Joshua), son of Mahri and Bruce Kintz now of Colorado? (They were long term members of the former Cherry Valley, California Center under the leadership of the late Joy Thomas more recently, along with her husband Raye, active members of the Hemet, California Center).

Vilification of Those Who Speak Out

14. Jed Geyerhahn (then of Maine), the nephew of the bhajan teacher Elizabeth Elwell, of the Sathya Sai Organization of New Hampshire, who reportedly lived in Puttaparthi for 9 years, has said “I was a very close friend of Hal Honig, an aquaintence to (Professor of Psychiatry in San Diego, U.S.A) Dr Sam Sandweiss and others”.  If it is true that he and you were such close friends, do you believe that this articulate young man, who was prepared to appear with his sex abuse allegations against Sai Baba on DR’s documentary ‘Seduced’ (2001), which has been seen by millions in Scandinavia and Australia, and who moreover was prepared to be extremely attacked on the Internet, was the type of person to make things up? He too was a member of the group you led to see Sai Baba in 1993, very well documented by photographic and other evidence, which we have along with various sworn testimony.

Sai Baba Cult Slanders Many Former Devotees

15. If not, is it the case that you are prepared to stand by – ignominiously! – while defenders of Sai Baba slander the good name of former devotees and his other critics who have spoken out? Do you think it right that Sai Baba’s defenders should twist their words ? That former devotees’ enormously dedicated service work in full faith in Sai Baba be erased, Orwellian-like, from the records? That any defender of Sai Baba should receive privileged information from top leaders in your organization by which to further harass former devotees and other critics? That prominent official defenders of Sai Baba like G. Venkataraman and any proxy on the Internet should cite out-of-context and falsify? That those in the Sai Baba lobby should contact professional or university associates of former devotees? That by phone and email a Sai Baba protagonist (covertly in touch with Radio Sai personnel and certain top leaders in the U.S.A.) should frighten former devotee friends, colleagues and other contacts related to their job or past devotees contacts and, with gross misinterpretation, use the  shocked responses in their propaganda? That defenders of Sai Baba threaten with dire consequences, sometimes with death? That Sai devotees from official centers should cheer on and encourage attacks on the Internet against those who have called for proper investigation of the many and serious allegations against Sai Baba and his organization? That Sai devotees take as a licence for hatred and revenge Sai Baba’s recent pronouncement that devotees should now “dissade” those who criticize him? That a man with a CD allegedly of Sai Baba engaging in oral sex should be murdered, the only thing missing being that explosive CD? That an Indian former devotee who has spoken out should report no fewer than five very vicious attempts on his life or limb? That your close colleagues like Dr Michael Goldstein, Dr G. Venkataraman, Indulal Shah, the late Dr John Hislop, Bob Bozzani, Dr William Harvey, Dr John C. Evans, Dr Narendra Reddy, Ashok Bhagani, T. Sri Ramanathan, Thorbjörn Meyer, Jørgen Trygved, Steen Piculell, J. Jagadeesan and many others, should assail or slander those whose probity and decency were accepted down so many years when they were devotees of Sathya Sai Baba – in some cases foremost leaders and in many cases long-time members?

16. The young men from that 1993 group you were supposed to protect from all moral and other types of harm have convinced their elders,  including those who know them best, that they are telling the truth. Those who have carefully investigated include abuse experts whose qualifications range from very qualified up to Professor. Did you protect your charges from any touching of their bodies by Sai Baba and anyone else on any visit to Puttaparthi such that you knew, and know today, to be prohibited by both law and the overwhelming codes of conduct throughout the world?

What Does Hal Honig Say is the truth?

If his apartment in Manhattan has no shameful past or present, if the many boys and young men he has led to Sai Baba prove to have full confidence in him, let Honig say so publicly. Let all those boys and young men, and their parents, relatives and close friends race to exhonerate him. Let us see whether the New York Police Department and the New York Mayor’s Office can make headway in their own enquiries. Let Sai Baba’s devotees demand the processes and answers proper to best practice in responsible civic, religious and corporate organizations. 

Let the world now see whether Hal Honig and his Sathya Sai Organization are models of truth, right conduct, love and peace – of which Sai Baba and they all speak so terribly much. 

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6 Responses to “Will Sai Baba Keep Hal Honig Smiling?”

  1. […] Baba’s bedroom, then covered up by the Ashram and Indian government. Also male youths in the Hal Honig-led group related accounts of Sai Baba’s sexual molestation of young males. In Part 5, Satya […]

  2. […] U.S.A. Embassy in Canberra, Australia, is found in my article Will Sai Baba Keep Hal Honig Smiling? HERE. Strangely – and one may query whether compromisingly – Hal Honig is a member of the Sathya Sai […]

  3. […] (Jack) Hislop, Michael Goldstein,  Indulal Shah, G. Venkataraman, William Harvey, Bob Bozzani, Hal Honig, Jagadeesan, Ashok Bhagani, Thorbjørn Meyer, Steen Piculell, Leonardo Gutter,  T.Sri Ramanathan, […]

  4. […] See about Hal Honig – the close Sai Baba devotee – and his reported sexual antics Will Sai Baba Keep Hal Honig Smiling? Notice how Richard Margolin fails to respond to my points about sexual abuse, and his conceited or […]

  5. […] Over the years, many have expressed concerns about the leader of groups visiting Sai Baba, Hal Honig of Manhattan, New York, a U.S. cultural attaché in Rome in the 60′s and now one of the most senior leaders of the Sathya Sai Organization in the U.S., including being, Peter Pan-like, the head of the Sai Youth wing.  See my article “Will Sai Baba Keep Hal Honig Smiling?” […]

  6. […]             While preparing for what I intended to be a long stay, I did ardent sadhana, with daily prayers to Kali and to Baba.  I attended SSO bhajans at the Manhattan SAI Center. Just before I left, I had my own first interview with our teacher. During this private hour together, this man rubbed my genitals with oil and massaged my perineum. “Does this bother you?” he asked; “it’s a very holy Vedic practice for awakening your kundalini.” (See on Hal Honig here) […]

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