Timothy Conway Ph.D – On ‘The Hislop Letters’
Posted by Barry Pittard on December 18, 2007
Before resigning in February 2001 – following his investigation of allegations of Sai Baba’s multi-faceted abuse – Timothy Conway Ph.D had been a respected member of the US Sathya Sai Baba movement (president of the large San Francisco center and a liaison-consultant for Northern California in the early to mid-1980s), as well as a longtime member of Santa Barbara, CA, Sai Center since 1988 (in addition to hosting the local Ammachi satsang and his own spiritual groups). Timothy’s key interest has been comparative East-West spiritual traditions, not just emphasizing intellectual expertise but concerned with actual living of the insights and precepts. An independent scholar with a background in psychology, Timothy is a respected lecturer and author of several outstandingly well-reviewed books (Women of Power And Grace and the forthcoming two-volume India’s Sages and other works). See his well-written and wide-ranging Enlightened Spirituality website for much more, details below.
Timothy Conway has just released (December 2007) his clarification of points raised about very indicting letters that were circulated (see dates, etc., in the scans listed below) to peak leaders of the US Sathya Sai Organization by former head, the late Dr John Hislop. This December 2007 update is the first reference in the links below, listed under Resources.
Authenticity of The Hislop Letters
Assisted by trusted former devotee networks, many of whose members had long previous association with Sathya Sai Baba and his movement, Timothy Conway investigated some of the abuse allegations, most notably, serial sexual molestation of boys and young men, after which he resigned as a matter of principle, an action taken by many worldwide, and indeed, though the occasion was different, a repeat of history, except that after 2000 the exit was on a far larger scale, when members had earlier left because of the strong signs of a profound cover up by Sai Baba and his officials and Indian central and state governments at the time of the June 6, 1993 police killings in Sai Baba’s bedroom.
The Hazards of Speaking Out
As invariably happens when speaking up about Sai Baba or his global cult, the Sathya Sai Organization, Timothy Conway has been attacked – but not of course by those who have respected him down many years as a man of integrity, love, and care for others. He has made public – including (in April 2004) to the BBC in its preparatory and intensive researches of several months for its documentary The Secret Swami (June 2004), what have become known as ‘The Hislop Letters’ (See links below). At my request, he also made a notarized sworn testimony as to the proper provenance of the letters, which had come into his possession via his precessor, see below)
Hislop Letters Further Evidence of Failure of Duty Of Care and Accountability By U.S. Heads of Sathya Sai Organization
Courteously and with great patience, Timothy Conway has recently responded to attacks on the authenticity of these letters, and on himself personally.
The letters indicate that foremost leaders of the Sathya Sai Baba Council of America, such as Dr Michael Goldstein, Bob Bozzani, Phyllis Kristal, Richard Bayer, Dr William Harvey and others have long known (at least since early 1981 when the memos were written) of the sexual abuse allegations, but not acted with duty of care and other forms of accountability. The wider membership in both the USA and other countries were kept in the dark. Still further, given that they have been told by Sai Baba not to look at dissenting views of him on the Internet, many remain in that dark.
Most Former Devotee Dissenters Do Not Respond To The Attacks
Most former devotees will not respond to attacks on themselves, and have spent years of spiritual practice aimed at rising above nastiness, vindictiveness and various type of falsity. Especially because of the extreme fanaticism of certain of pro Sai Baba apologists, they prefer to share their evidence with bona fide, third party investigators of repute, such as the world’s most responsible media, UNESCO, governments, law enforcement agencies such as Interpol and FBI, leading religious and civic institutions, academics researching the Sathya Sai Baba phenomenon, etc. The obstacles to getting convictions have been stupendous. Indeed, former members of other powerful groups have found the same difficulties – for example, patterns of denial, cover up, slander, libel, shunning, harassment, suppression of evidence, misrepresentation of the viewpoints of those who have spoken out about abuse by guru and cult, and so forth.
Around the world, the good name of many former devotees like Timothy Conway was not at stake when they were Sai Baba followers – often for decades of dedicated service – and is not indeed at stake in their professions, trades and wider communities.
Timothy Conway’s Update (referred to at beginning of this blogpost)
Click here to access Timothy Conway’s website: ‘Enlightened Spirituality’
An article in which Timothy Conway outlines many key issues, in historical perspective – including acute spiritual concerns and personal resolutions – relating to dissent from Sathya Sai Baba. I highly recommend this article as a mature, clear, very readable account.
There is a Spanish version available: