On Leaving A Powerful Global Cult. Sathya Sai Baba Example (Part 3)
Posted by Barry Pittard on January 28, 2010
… I spoke by phone and corresponded with a number of former devotee sexual abuse professionals who knew of various cases at first hand. These included Shirley Pike and the late Elena Hartgering. They and other seasoned professional workers were in no doubt of the fact that Sathya Sai Baba had seriously sexually molested young males.
As I listened to, or read, the written accounts of both primary and secondary witnesses, I was acutely aware that many of those giving the accounts did not even know each other. Once it was known I was investigating Sathya Sai Baba’s matters, I went on to discover compelling accounts from sources well apart from Sathya Sai Baba circles. Having studied Epistemology, Logic and Methodology in my university Philosophy course, I was ever more aware that the required criterion of non-collusion was being repeatedly satisfied. It was abundantly clear that many of the witnesses did not know each other. Nor did they know of other cases of which former devotees like the late Glen Meloy and myself were compiling an ever-expanding data base. See: Glen Meloy (“Standing up for truth and goodness”) – In Memoriam.
I could not escape the conclusion that Sathya Sai Baba was a serial sexual molester, on an appalling scale, of minors and young men from his educational institutions and from around the world.
I also felt acutely conscious that I had been, over many years, whether directly or indirectly (though certainly without proselytizing), instrumental in various people becoming devotees. It is a grave load of conscience to bear, and many former devotees bear it. Like so many others who have investigated and become former devotees, my then partner’s and my hearts were heavy indeed. Typical of others who have just become former devotees, she and I cleared our house of Sathya Sai Baba-related artefacts. As former devotees universally have found, dear friends, in some cases of many years standing, who remained devotees, dropped us, even though we had shown no hostility towards them or Sathya Sai Baba.
Incredibly, devotees forget that those they shun are the same people in whom they have long cherished qualities of truthfulness, loving-kindness, and sacrificial service to others. They stand by and allow the constant libeling and defaming of those old friends and fellow workers and, for example, the cruel naming of children, amid the distortion of facts on the internet (where there is known background association with those prominent in the Sathya Sai Organization) and deliberately used to attack the parents who have stood forth. They have betrayed those who have, at great sacrifice to themselves, stood up for the very qualities of truth they forever go on about in their study groups and elsewhere.
These members of the international Sathya Sai Organization abrogate responsibility for instituting and maintaining best practice processes of accountability and transparency to be seen in exemplary modern organizations. Yet, in their professions and trades, they gladly benefit from such provisions. Indeed, at large, they avail themselves of the democratic rights guarranteed in the constitutions of the countries in which most of them live.
Some Further Resources
There is a Spanish version available: