Child Abuse

A personal assessment of child protection in BKWSU, documentation of proven risk, abuse disclosure and the ongoing campaign for child protection provision.

Sr. Jayanti  Dadi Janki,

24th February 1999

Dear Dadi Janki, Sr. Jayanti and Sr. Maureen,

I was shocked to receive allegations today of repeated child sex abuse in the context of Raja Yoga centres. I was doubly shocked to read that allegedly Seniors in Raja Yoga knew of these incidents and did nothing.

As these alleged events are apparently now public knowledge please advise me what happened and what the institutions response was. Please also advise me what mechanisms are in place now to protect children from this kind of danger.

yours faithfully,

E R

27th March 1999

Dear E,

Thank you for your letter which Maureen sent to us in Madhuban….

I spoke to Dadi XXXX [a senior BK in Delhi] about the incidents and her memory tells her the report was followed up.

It wasn’t reported immediately, and when it was XXXX [child’s name] was already back in London and some weeks had elapsed. An inquiry took place and the person who appeared to be the culprit was asked to leave. In Madhuban it was more difficult as the turnaround of sheevadharis –souls who come to help as volunteers in service – had already happened, and there was no conclusive information.

Our concern is as great as yours and the spiritual training given to the people involved in service focuses on the need for purity in life and relationships. We will definitely ensure that proper care and attention is given especially to the children who come to us

Yours,

BK Janki

10th April 1999

Dear Dadi Janki, Sr. Jayanti and Sr. Maureen,

Thank you Sr. Maureen for your note of 28th February 1999 and thank you Dadi for your letter of 27th March 1999. I hope you all had a fulfilling and fruitful time in India.

On the matter of the child sex abuse issues referred to in our correspondence I would strongly suggest that you consult some of the excellent agencies with expertise in this area. The response of those in positions of authority within Raja Yoga at the time of the original events in question and also your recent responses to my inquiry do indicate unfortunately that as an organization you are not up to date with the best possible practices in this field. Most organizations that deal with minors have numerous safeguards and systems for the prevention, or at least quick reporting, of such incidents.

In an organization of your size it is inevitable unfortunately that some sex abuse will occur. You know this and I know this, but based on your letter to me I would have to suggest that regrettably, you do not even know what good practice in child protection is, let alone having actually got around to actually implementing it. In educational circles this would be considered complacence at the very least. There have been many court cases where such failures have in themselves been judged to constitute reckless endangerment and gross negligence.

Already in failing to report the person responsible for the abuse in Delhi the Brahma Kumaris themselves broke the law as it is itself illegal to fail to report a crime. For the sake of the present and future minors in your care I request that you put aside the reasons you have not already sought proper advice on this area before and do so now …

Your faithfully

E R

26th April 1999

Dear E

…We appreciate your concern and care in making us aware of the factors requiring attention, in particular with regards to children and we are ensuring that precautions are taken…

yours sincerely

Sr. Jayanti

30th April 1999

Dear Brahma Kumaris,

Thank you Sister Jayanti for your letter of 26th April.

… Please explain what you mean when you state that you are “ensuring that precautions are taken” in respect of children…And what is your response to my recommendation that you get expert advice in the area of child protection? Are you going to do this or not? If not, why not.

Please explain why you have not been using headed notepaper in your letters to me. I must request that henceforth you do so. Is it Brahma Kumaris policy not to use headed notepaper when dealing with unsavory subjects? The matters with which we are dealing have potentially legal implications, and in the light of this I must request that the information contained in the memorandum you sent me is copied onto a proper letter so that somebody in authority in your organization signs for it…I am writing… not to this or that individual but to the Brahma Kumaris as an organization. I expect, in fact I demand, proper responses from accountable officials of that organization.

So far your responses to me … make you as an organization look somewhat evasive, casual or only semi-interested. I don’t know which of these if any it actually is, I can only tell you how it appears. I request that you take me and the issues I am raising more seriously. I request that you do not use unattributable statements, unheaded notepaper or vague platitudes such as “appreciate your concern” and “precautions”. I suggest you face what I am putting before you head on. Frankly I have been trying to diplomatically nudge you in a direction which you need to evolve towards i.e. proper open and systematically managed child protection awareness and procedures. If there is a single reason why I should not help you in this area I would be delighted to hear it. If there is a single reason why you as an organization should be absolved of responsibilities in this area, again I would love to hear it. If you think it inappropriate of me or anyone else to raise the questions I have you are of course free to state it. In the absence of these please deal with my questions more fulsomely and clearly.

I wish to be fair to you and to give you every opportunity to express what good practices and awareness your organization has in child protection. And if you need to improve your expertise in this area I would certainly like not to embarrass you by pointing out such things indelicately or in an inappropriate forum. However, these matters concern many more people than you and myself and I feel an obligation to raise issues which frankly effect all people connected with children. All that is necessary for evil to prosper is that good men do nothing. Neither you nor myself are minors who find themselves, through no decision of their own, in the midst of your organization, nor are we parents of such. So there are others to whom these issues are much more directly pressing. I am concerned that you are failing to facilitate these people’s right to address these issues within your organization properly. And I fear that you do not have sufficient knowledge in this field to make such decisions as this competently and responsibly. And, unfortunately I also fear that you do not even have enough knowledge to recognize your lacking in this area. Hence I feel it is my obligation to not let up until you at least check out your position properly. Tell me honestly, do you think I am being improper?

Each letter I receive from you sets off alarm bells in my head. You are a gigantic worldwide organization and you do not know how to answer straightforward questions about your child protection policies. My conscience will not allow such apparent ignorance go unchallenged. You have as yet told me nothing of any substance to suggest that there is any less chance of the same things which happened to XXXX [child’s name] happening to one or more of your current Raja Yoga children.

I am hoping that I only have half the picture here and that someone in your organization will successfully reassure me that my fears are wrong. But that will not happen with platitudes, it will happen with details. Details which you should be able to provide. So far no one has done this, nor even seriously tried. Up to now each letter has multiplied my fears. Either you are failing to explain your policies well or those policies are inadequate.

For my part I will continue to raise these issues, with you in the first instance but failing that to a wider audience if necessary, so that I can feel that I have done my part in reducing the amount of such abuse happening to children who are ostensibly under your ‘protection’. I would humbly request that you join me in such efforts. You saw fit to offer me the words ‘truth’ and ‘beauty’ in your last letter. In return I offer you one – humility.

Sooner or later Raja Yoga will need to face these issues just as every other educational institution and every religious body has had to. Failure to do so on your part will mean that the goodness of many of your endeavours will be eclipsed by an evil so pernicious and so destructive that you will get little sympathy when it emerges that you knew about it and did less than you could have.

Reading between the lines of your organization’s communications with me I fear that you might just view me as a distraction or an irritation. You have clearly spent a tiny fraction in the production of your letters as I have on mine, presumably you feel you have better uses of your time. Well I may be a mere irritant, but you cannot afford to treat the issue of child sex abuse as such.

Right now, if you care about the long term success of your institution, or if you care about the physical, psychological and sexual well being of your children, you need to view irritants such as myself who take the time to point out your vulnerabilities as the best friends you have got.

Ultimately of course, you can pretend that the fallen such as me are a complete irrelevance. Out here in the world, where most of your followers end up, people with children find it hard to ignore real issues, whoever raises them. The question I am asking myself, as I assess your non-answers, is just how much do the present administrators of your organization wish to be their own worst enemies. And to what extent are they prepared to sacrifice their most vulnerable charges for the sake of ideological intransigence….

Yours faithfully

E R

9th June 1999

Dear Brahma Kumaris,

It is now some time since my letter of 30th April 1999, and I am still waiting for a reply. I understood from my telephone conversation with Sr. Jayanti that I had managed to raise some issues which you wished to address. I am therefore somewhat confused by the subsequent silence.

I await your advises.

Yours faithfully

E R

25th June 1999

Dear E,

… Thank you for your letter which we received on 16th June. Sr. Jayanti has been travelling quite a bit.

I just wanted to let you know that we are in discussion with the teachers who look after the children’s classes at Global Co-operation House (6-12 year olds) and also with the teenagers (two groups –12-15 year olds and 15-18 year olds) This includes a schoolteacher who for the past 23 years has taught biology and Health Education in secondary school and has been a regular student of the Brahma Kumaris for the past nine years.

We will shortly put in writing to you the procedures that we already have in place for the protection and care of our children and young people and would be pleased to receive any further comments.

Yours sincerely

Sr. Maureen.

9th August 2000

Dear Brahma Kumaris,

It is now sometime since you began the process of instituting adequate child protection policies following last years disclosures. You have not yet indicated what your policies now are although you undertook to inform me of such. I would be grateful if you would clarify your intentions in this regard.

Yours faithfully

E R

19th September 2000

Dear Brahma Kumaris,

I wrote to you on the 9th August this year requesting an update on the implementation of your child protection policies following last year’s unfortunate disclosures. I have yet to receive a reply. I would request that you give this matter your attention at your earliest convenience….

Yours faithfully

E R

28th October 2000

Dear E

Thank you for your telephone call.

This is to let you know that the matter is in hand and we will be writing to you shortly.

Yours sincerely

Maureen Goodman

30th April 2001

Dadi Janki and BK Jayanti,

I refer you to my letters of 23rd January 1999, 10th April 1999, 30th April 1999, 9th June 1999, 11th September 1999, 19th September 2000, 24th February 1999, 9th August 2000 and 28th October 2000.

It is now well over two years since the public revelation of several incidents of child sexual abuse in your Institution. It emerged that the Brahma Kumaris was aware of these events soon after they happened over 15 years ago and by its own admission failed to deal adequately with them. The Institution failed to identify all the perpetrators amongst its staff, it did not report any of the crimes in question to the police, and this failure in itself is a crime. Neither did it offer or provide any form of professional physical or psychological aid to the victim. Nor did it undertake any review of its practices or arrangements which had exposed a child under 10 years of age to such horrific damage. It neither devised any measures to reduce the risk of a repetition of such events nor introduced any systems to monitor or report them. In short it did nothing.

When a relative of the child in question, himself a minor at the time and now an adult, revealed these events some 15 years later it emerged that the Institution has also done nothing in the intervening years to prevent a repetition of these events. This is an organization prominent and active in many fields of psychological, medical, educational, spiritual and moral development; an institution used to meeting with the elite of these various fields, used to lecturing Governments and ordinary people alike about all manner of ethical and moral subjects in which it claims not just expertise but also moral authority.

As all of the letters listed above will attest I have these last two years been writing to you with one simple request. I have been asking you to institute appropriate child protection policies which would at least minimize the risk of this kind of tragedy happening again. To date I have received not one piece of substantive information that would indicate any less risk to a child in your organization now than when the previous events occurred. I have received various promises all of which have been broken. Indeed if you review your letters on the subject I think you would agree that you could not seriously expect me to believe another such assurance. I have also received a fair measure of platitudes and various other evasions. At one point in the correspondence I even had to insist that your replies be printed on headed notepaper. On the telephone senior officials in your organization have on occasion assured me that the matter is being taken seriously whilst at other times I have been quizzed as to why I seem so bothered about the subject.

I was told recently by an ex-Raja Yoga member that when another ex-Raja Yoga member asked recently about any child protection policies which might have been put in place he was told by a responsible official in one of your centres that according to the teachings of the Brahma Kumaris the child in question had brought about the assault upon herself. Not just in this particular instance, but universally speaking – any child which is sexually abused in the Brahma Kumaris must deserve it. Is your Institution so incapable of facing its responsibilities in such matters that your teachers are descending to this?. It is all OK as long as ideologically speaking you locate the child as the cause of its own abuse? And what does this say about how you as the leaders of your organization have been using the last two years?

Clearly whatever child protection policies I might have persuaded you to implement would have no chance against both the inaction and hesitation of your leadership on the one hand coupled with the worrying spiritual distortions now apparently being taught by some of your teachers out in the field.

With some small professional experience in these matters I have tried in vain to help you react bravely and positively to what any sane person would consider awful events. At least something might be redeemed for all concerned if the door to future abuse was firmly closed. Instead I feel that you have been hypocritical, disingenuous and downright dishonest. Both institutionally and individually. And I think that the prevailing ideology of your institution in respect of the victim of these events would appear to be no less than another kind of violent assault.

If your organization does not believe her to be the ultimate cause of sexual abuse you, and I mean you personally, should have ensured that every responsible teacher in your organization shows adequate local leadership. And if you do believe her to be such, in my opinion you are not fit to be put charge of children.

Your organization has not persuaded me that it has learnt either from the original events themselves or recent injunctions from such as myself. More worryingly you have conveyed to me an outright resistance to such learning.

I am afraid that I must conclude that in respect of minors at least you are a reckless and dangerous organization.

And unfortunately it must be that consideration above all else which henceforth will guide me in the handling of this unresolved matter.

Yours etc

E R

22nd May 2001

Dear E,

Thank you for your letter of 30th April. We apologize for not replying earlier. We will be responding to you shortly.

Kind regards

Sr. Jayanti
5th December 2001

Dear E,

This is to advise you that we have been working towards the finalization of our child protection policy for the BKWSU–UK and are nearing completion. We have been in consultation with educational specialists experienced in this field and with social services.

As you will be aware it takes time to formulate such policies and to ensure that adequate professional training is set up for volunteers.

A copy of the policy itself will be with you shortly.

We apologize for the delay.

Yours sincerely

BK Jayanti,

27th January 2002

Dear E,

Please find enclosed the child protection policy of BKWSU-UK, for your information.

Yours sincerely

BK Jayanti Director

15th September 2002

Dear Dadi Janki,

It is now over nine months since you implemented your child protection policy in your UK centres and I trust more than adequate time to implement it, or local equivalents, world-wide.

Please confirm that this has been accomplished and that your International Co-ordinating Office in London has procedures in place to vet and monitor the local equivalent policies if this is the path your organisation has chosen.

I await your advises.

Yours faithfully

E R

14th October 2002

Dear Dadi Janki,

I enclose a copy of my letter dated 15th September and I note your failure to reply.

If I receive nothing from you by 15th November I shall assume that your decision not to reply is final.

I await your advises.

Yours faithfully

E R

9th November 2002

Dear Mr. R,

We have received your letter of 14th October 2002 addressed to Dadi Janki on whose behalf I am replying, and appreciate your continuing interest in children’s welfare. In response to your enquiry, I would confirm that the Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University (UK) is fully compliant with all relevant child protection legislation and requirements by virtue of its child protection policy, procedures and practice.

Yours sincerely

Lygia Monteiro Children’s Officer

15th November 2002

Dear Dadi Janki, Sr. Jayanti and Ms Monteiro,

Thank you for your letter of 9th November 2002. My letter of 15th September is only 6 lines long and is as unambiguous as I could possibly make it, and I find it hard to imagine anyone interpreting it as a request as to whether BKSU (UK) has a child protection policy. My letter clearly asks if you have used the nine months since the production of that policy to implement it or equivalents of it at your centres around the world. My letter moreover is expressly addressed and directed to Dadi Janki at the International Co-ordinating Office.

The only sense I could make of the sheer inappropriateness of Ms Monteiro’s reply of 9th November 2002 was that she had not read the letter to which she was replying. I telephoned your offices today but was told that they had never heard of her. I did also email Sr. Jayanti a few days ago with a view to finding out why there had been no reply, but I have heard nothing from her. For the sake of the good faith of these communications I would be grateful if you would explain what happened, so that I can at the very least dispense with the hypothesis that these misinterpretations were intentional.

This issue notwithstanding you will I trust, under the circumstances, agree that I can only conclude that you have not disseminated your UK child protection policy amongst your other centres abroad. My response to that is simple. I find it astounding.

It leaves you in a completely untenable situation in terms of credible child protection. It is the equivalent of saying that you will protect your children as long as they are in Britain, but they are on their own if they go to other centres abroad. It would also appear that you value the sexual protection of your UK based children above that of your Raja Yoga children elsewhere. Clearly this is nonsense so I can only sensibly conclude that whilst you have a UK child protection policy document it is currently more of a document than a genuine policy.

How could it be genuine if you have not disseminated it to your other centres? What good is a lifeguard who will only save you if you fall in one half of the swimming pool? How can it be worse to be molested in London than in Delhi and Madhuban? A girl under the age of 10 travelled from England to India.

At the Delhi BK centre where she stayed she suffered a sexual assault. And then in Madhuban – your headquarters no less, she suffered another completely unconnected sexual assault. Unconnected in the sense that it was by a different and unrelated person to the perpetrator in Delhi. Not one assault, but two in the space of as many weeks. Both perpetrators working in your two most important centres in India.

You have known about these events for many, many years, and yet only after numerous requests by me did you even begin to do anything. And what did you do? You produced a policy document that does not even relate to the locations where the events happened. It is a document which had it existed at the time would have made absolutely no difference whatsoever. I would therefore suggest to you that it is a document produced more in response to my letters than to the assaults upon your child student.

I have spent the last three years trying to think up different ways of asking you the same question: What are you going to do to offer better protection for your children? Is this not the most important issue? Your policy document pretends it is, but your actions say something else.

Whether you are allowing yourselves to be distracted by your karmic theories as to why she supposedly deserved what happened to her, or whether your attention to these issues is sabotaged by an obsession with politics and public relations I do not know and frankly am not interested in speculating about. But there is certainly something distracting you from what I state again I think is the most important question: What are you going to do to offer better protection for your children?

The correspondence between myself and your institution over the last three years combines to make a fairly damning statement about your fitness to look after other people’s children. This sentiment, you will remember was not my starting point. My posture was one of positivity –trying to find the one good thing that could come out of these extremely unfortunate events –new procedures, attitudes and awarenesses that would strongly lessen any chance of repetition. I thought that you would be humble enough to recognise that in spite of your eloquently declared ambitions you are certainly not perfect yet. I must confess to being quite shocked by what has happened since. I have entered these communications in good faith and with respect for your institution. What I have experienced from it in return, and I think the record of our correspondence shows this, is platitudes in place of genuine regret, delay rather than action, deception rather than honesty, and smokescreens in place of proper accountability.

There is amongst many ex-Brahmins a feeling of deep disappointment at what they believe is a callous and hypocritical disregard on the part of your organisation to the many real difficulties and issues faced by current and past-Raja Yoga practitioners. Problems which you take no noticeable responsibility for just as you have yet to take real responsibility for your failures in respect of the Delhi and Madhuban assaults at the core of our discussions. Many of these difficulties are extremely serious –depression, physical abuse, spousal violence, psycho-sexual problems, depression, marital break-ups, parent-child estrangement, attempted suicide and actual suicide. You know much better than me that there are many more letters about many more incidents I could be writing to you. For every such incident I know of, and believe me there are many, no doubt you know a hundredfold. And for every one of those hundredfold events there are thousands others of which you have no knowledge. But which you should.

I think that in your most private moments you would agree that you have an institutional culture which to some extent buries its problems. Whether this is intentional or accidental is for you to decide but I would ask you to take responsibility for it as much as you take the credit for the many wonderful things about your culture. They are in total a much truer expression of who you are as a group than what you say about yourselves –both amongst yourselves and to the wider world. It is a culture that is very beneficial in many ways to many people, but it is not without its imperfections and these cause casualties. I look forward to the day when your organisation is mature enough and truly confident enough to face its obligations to them.

In the meantime I think you will have to agree that I have given you more than enough time with our current mode of communication to address the concerns I have raised with you. In fact I fear that my misplaced loyalty to you has led me to give you much more time to waste than I should have. Henceforth my letters to you will be to your organisation as a whole so that your various teachers around the world can be informed about our progress or lack thereof.

Perhaps under their gaze you might suddenly discover some sense of importance to these issues. You have disclosed precisely nothing to me that is of a confidential nature and your letters to me are purportedly about your official policies or the application of such so there is obviously no issue of personal privacy about them.

And in finishing I must ask you again the following two questions:

Nearly a year on now from its production have your centres around the world implemented either your UK child protection policy or local equivalents thereof?

This is a simply yes or no. You can email it or post it in less than a day.

Does your International Co-ordinating Office have procedures to vet and monitor these regional policies?

This too takes a simple yes or no.

I await your advises

Yours Faithfully

E R

26th November 2002

Dear E,

Thank you for your communications. I am sorry that I have not been around to always reply personally to your letters and e-mails as I have been travelling a great deal. Thank you for everything that you have shared with us to help make our work more effective for young people. We appreciate your concern and have paid attention to this. As you know we have been implementing this in the UK, and now around the world.

The process of implementing a child protection policy for the Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University (BKWSU) worldwide has been under way for a number of years and steps to formalise this further started over a year ago.

The written child protection policy for the BKWSU in the UK was completed in December 2001 and was sent to you on 27th January 2002.

In February 2001 and February 2002 the BKWSU held meetings at the Regional Office level at the BKWSU world Headquarters in Mt Abu, India, during which we discussed the implementation of formal child protection policies worldwide. (Regional Office level meetings involve consultation amongst senior BKs from BKWSU offices in London, Delhi, Mt Abu, Moscow, Nairobi, New York, Sao Paulo and Sydney.) On 15th February 2002 there was a meeting of national co-ordinators of BK centres across the world.

One of the main items on the agenda was the implementation of formal child protection policies in each country. A copy of the policy prepared for the UK was distributed to all the co-ordinators who were requested to find out the legal requirements in their own countries and to prepare a policy accordingly. The level of activity of each BK centre varies from country to country, but all co-ordinators have been asked to take this very seriously and to take action accordingly. We have requested the co-ordinators to keep us informed of developments in this regard.

All over the world our awareness of child protection has been considerably heightened. For example, in the UK we now undertake a risk assessment before taking minors out on any outings and all of our children’s’ and youth teachers have been police checked.

If you agree, I would still like to be able to meet you personally. I shall not be travelling so much over the next two months. Please let me know when would be a suitable time for you.

I hope this information is helpful. With regards,

Yours sincerely,

BK Jayanti

30th November 2002

Dear Dadi Janki and Sr. Jayanti,

Henceforth I shall send you both an email and a hard copy of my letters to you. I would be grateful if you would consider doing likewise.

As a reply to my letter of 15th November you letter of 6th November is, in my honest and blunt opinion, so incomplete that I simply cannot accept it as a credible and appropriate response. Please re-read my letter and take the time to re-consider if you truly wish your reply to stand as your institution’s formal position all the matters I have raised. If I do not hear from you by 15th December I shall interpret your letter of 6th November as your final statement and shall act accordingly.

I await your advises

Yours faithfully

E R

by email 07 / 12 / 02

Dear E,

Thank you for your e-mail of 1st December (contents dated 30th November).

Could you please clarify which letter you are referring to, dated 6th
November, as we do not have a record of any letter sent on that date. It
seems from your e-mail message that you did not receive my letter by post, dated 26th November, so I am enclosing it below in this e-mail.
I would also reiterate my invitation to you to come and meet so that we may discuss your concerns.

With best wishes,

BK Jayanti

by email 07 / 12 / 02

Dear Sr Jayanti,

I apologise, you are correct, there is no letter from you dated 6th November. My letter should have said 26th November and not 6th November. I hope this clarifies the mix up and you will be able now to understand my letter dated 30th November as a reply to your letter dated 26th November.

As to meeting you thank you for the invitation but I see no point at this stage at least until I get your response to the issue of good faith referred to in the 2nd paragraph of my letter of 15th November and the various other outstanding matters of that letter which you have not addressed.

Yours faithfully,

E R

21st December 2002

Dear Dadi Janki and Sr. Jayanti,

Further to my letter of 30th November I note that you have not chosen to respond to me either by my stated deadline of 15th December nor until now. I shall therefore do as indicated and interpret your letter of 26th November as your final statements in response to my letters of 30th November and 15th November.

I note that you have not referred to my complaints and questions about your office’s letter dated 9th November 2002 and signed by a Ms Monteiro. I wish to know if Ms Monteiro and Sr. Maureen intentionally misrepresented my previous letter and if they were intentionally dissembling in wasting time sending to me a redundant and nonsensical answer. Obviously I also wish to know if you take responsibility for such behaviour by those under your direction. How you deal with such apparent dishonesty in your office is crucial to the issues surrounding what appears to me to be your failure to run an accountable and ethical organisation.

As you do not feel the need to apologise for them I can only assume you do not also feel the need to provide the monitoring and control your posts oblige and which they clearly need. So I request again that you investigate these matters and provide me with both the facts of what happened and what you have done, or are going to do about them.

I note also that behind the platitudes, euphemisms and padding you have been unable to provide me with any reassurance that your UK policy document has a realistic chance of being properly implemented outside the UK. In the last year you have managed no more than to let your regional offices see your policy. But it would appear that if their respective regions have no statutory requirement for organisations such as yours to have such a policy you are happy for none to be implemented. Otherwise local law is an irrelevance. So you are not committed to child protection per se, you are merely committed to not breaking the law.

This by the way is completely contradictory to your UK position where you have borrowed a policy document from a state school which by its very nature is subject to statutory obligations completely differently to an organisation such as yours.

With such a lacklustre leadership from London it is therefore no surprise that not a single one or your regional offices was willing or able to reply to my email of 1st December in which as you know, I requested the following five pieces of information for each respective region:

    1. Which centres have formally implemented a policy and the date that they did so.

2. Which centres have not yet formally done so and when they are expecting to do such.

3. What monitoring and reporting procedures you have in place between yourself as the regional office and the various centres in your region.What monitoring and reporting procedures there are between yourself as the regional office and either Madhuban or the International Co-ordinating Office. Your own centre’s child protection policy and the date it was implemented. I repeat – not a single one of your regional offices which are supposedly industriously exploring the local details of child protection issues was able to provide a single piece of information in any of the 5 above categories. Of particular noteworthiness in its failure to reply is London –the one regional office which supposedly now has an active policy and none of the substantial legal differences with its neighbouring partners which you have presented as the reason for delay in international implementation. And you have not even been able to tell me that European Union countries have implemented your policy. Please explain why this is the case.

You attempt in your letter of 26th November to make vast months of inactivity sound like the intricate organisation of a substantial task. However, using the issue of regional legal variations will fool only the ignorant and I am alarmed that you have attempted to use it. Even your language where you ‘request’ your subordinates to keep you informed, and where you refer to your implementation process as being ‘under way for a number of years’ (as if that is a good thing) suggests to me that you still do not even know how to pretend to be seriously implementing such a policy.

I can remember many occasions when I was a member of your organisation in which the speed of world-wide implementation of something you were committed to was impressive to say the least. When we wrote ‘Co-operation in the Classroom’ it was only within months of completion that you had it printed and distributed to every single school of many of the twenty five or so countries in which it was published.

When BKWSU really wants to do something quickly it does not take ‘a number of years’, and it does not make regional participation an autonomous matter. You know like any other organisation the difference between a discussion paper and a policy. And you know better than me the difference between disseminating a policy with schedules, deadlines and clear monitoring on the one hand and the vague open ended process you have described to me.

You have by far the most centrally controlled organisation I have ever come across – one where the intimate daily practices of all your officials are highly regulated. Your officials have precise instructions on their sleeping habits, their diets, their family relations, what they do with their money and leisure time etc etc. Now suddenly in respect of child protection you have discovered democracy.

I suggest to you that if you had been serious about child protection you would have had a working policy in place around the world a long time ago.

I predict that your terrible record over the last twenty or so years since the occurrence of the appalling incidents which you chose to forget and in particular your constant delay and excuses over the last three years will be used one day to prove gross recklessness and negligence on the part of your institution in general and its London leadership in particular.

And given my failure to impress upon you the seriousness of these matters I will perhaps take some grim comfort that at least the record of the correspondences between us will prevent you from using as your defence in court the same tired platitudes and empty sentiments.

Given all of the above I find it entirely in character that within the recent months of our correspondence you can find only the ridiculously irrelevant fact that you were unable to reply to my emails personally as worthy of apology. In a proper university, school, business, religious body or any other kind of adequately regulated organisation you would be unable to brush off such behaviour with so trite a conceit. Your position would be untenable and you would be forced to resign.

I await your advises as I still await replies from your regional offices.

Yours faithfully

E R

23rd December 2003

Dear E,

I have received your various recent emails. First of all I would like to reiterate that the Brahma Kumaris take the issue of child protection seriously and are now very firmly in the process of implementing child protection policies worldwide. It is not a fast process but it is progressing, as I hope our previous correspondence has indicated. In that context I would like to answer what appear to be the two outstanding questions from your letter of 15th November as follows:

Nearly a year on now from its production have your centres around the world implemented either your UK child protection policy or local equivalents thereof?

As you know we have distributed the Child Protection Policy (“CPP”) of the BKWSU (UK) and requested each centre to implement such a policy, adapting it as appropriate to suit their local circumstances, and to do so regardless of whether or not this is legally required. We have also requested that centres inform us about their progress in doing so and are awaiting responses from them.

Does your International Co-ordinating Office have procedures to vet and monitor those regional policies?

The nature of the Brahma Kumaris’ modus operandi world wide has not been one of detailed control and monitoring of all the ongoing activities of centres around the world; offering services on a volunteer basis, and varying widely in the scope and scale of their activities, to a large extent they operate autonomously, albeit while also receiving certain guidelines, requests or options given to them on a local, national, regional or world wide level.

In view of the increasing importance of ensuring that appropriate measures are taken to protect children, a greater level of involvement is required than in respect of other areas and the International Co-ordinating Office in London has requested centres in all countries to report on what current child protection measures they already have in place and what steps they are taking to adopt and implement a formal CPP if they have not already done so.

We are also offering further support such as additional briefings, helping assess training requirements, reviewing policies and providing training, while also, at a national, regional or international level, monitoring centres’ child protection measures through ongoing reporting requirements to help ensure that they are adequate.

We have not at present received all this information. At the time of Lygia Monteiro’s letter to you of 9th November we were therefore also not aware of the extent to which the centres in different countries had implemented child protection measures; while her letter to you accordingly did not contain all the details you required, it went some way to doing so within the timeframe requested by you.

While this letter did not state, as it should have done, that further details would be provided as they became available, both Maureen and, following my return to the UK, I, have been attempting to provide additional information as you have requested in your emails sent here and to centres in other countries. I would again apologise that we have not been able to provide a complete answer more promptly and hope that you will understand not only that this is a matter receiving increasing attention from us but also a protracted one that we are treating as necessarily ongoing in nature and involving a continuing and substantive process of education, awareness-raising, reporting and monitoring.

I would reiterate that we will provide you with further details once we receive these from the various centres and that we will be issuing further requests in this regard to centres as required. Other than in this respect, please do let me know if there are any outstanding issues and I will endeavour to respond to you as soon as I can.

I also acknowledge receipt of your email of 21st December and will reply in due course.

Yours sincerely,

Sister Jayanti

2nd February 2003

Dear E,

Further to our previous correspondence, I enclose further information regarding the formalisation of Child Protection Policies by BK Centres worldwide. This is clearly an on-going process both in terms of the flow of information to us and the action being taken by the various centres.

In the following places the local BK Centres have formulated a Child Protection Policy: Texas, USA – adopted in January 2002, The Netherlands – adopted in January 2003

BK Centres in the following countries have stated that they are in the course of developing a written Child Protection Policy and we are awaiting their documents: Australia, Canada, Colombia, Israel, Kenya, New Zealand, South Africa, Switzerland, Vietnam.

BK Centres in the following places are obtaining further information and researching the situation prior to formalising a comprehensive written policy as required according to their circumstances: Barbados, Belgium, Brazil, Denmark, Hungary, Iceland, France, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Guyana, Malaysia, Netherlands Antilles, Poland, Russia & other CIS, South Korea, Surinam, Sweden, Thailand, Turkey, USA (other than Texas).

Several of these countries have indicated that they have a policy of running activities only for adults aged 18 years and older, but may, nevertheless, develop a formal Child Protection Policy.

We are still waiting to hear from Centres in some countries as to which of the above categories they fall into, and will keep you informed.

Yours sincerely,
Sister Jayanti

2nd May 2003

Dear Brahma Kumaris,

After the encouraging content of your last letter in February you have not fulfilled your promise to keep me informed. I hope that this does not mean you have been failing to monitor progress around the world and that you will be able to update me quickly.

If you have not decided to keep me informed on a regular basis I have misunderstood you and would appreciate clarification.

Yours Faithfully

E R

11th May 2003

Dear E,

Thank you for your e-mail of 2nd May; we have noted your new addresses and would update you as follows.

A meeting of National Co-ordinators of Brahma Kumaris centres around the world was held in Delhi at the end of March and the importance of developing and implementing a child protection policy was again highlighted and discussed.

Brahma Kumaris centres in Mauritius, Vietnam and Spain have now formalised and are implementing a written child protection policy.

Yours sincerely,

Sister Jayanti

12th May 2003

Dear Brahma Kumaris,

I welcome the progress in respect of Mauritius, Vietnam and Spain but as a reflection of your Institution’s worldwide development in the area of child protection over the last six months I find it alarming.

I note that you do not address the issue of information flow to me. That is your decision.

I have waited to see India appear on your list of countries with child protection policies and have been dismayed by its absence. Please clarify the situation there.

Yours

E R

8th June 2003

Dear Brahma Kumaris,

I am still awaiting a reply to my recent correspondance.

Yours

E R

9th June 2003

Dear E,

Thank you for your email of 12th May and subsequent one of 8th June. I am pleased to inform you that we have now received the Brahma Kumaris Child Protection Policy for New York State and that centres in other states in the USA are formulating their own Child Protection Policies taking account of the requirements of local state laws.

Regarding the Child Protection Policy for Brahma Kumaris centres in India, we have been in communication with senior members of the BKWSU in India about appropriate child protection practices and discussions are still continuing. We understand that child protection procedures are in place and being followed and will inform you as soon as the formal policy encapsulating these is completed.

Yours sincerely,
Sister Jayanti

2nd December 2003

Dear Brahma Kumaris,

It is now a further 6 months since you last promised me confirmation of child protection for your centres in India. Please now finally confirm such and email me immediately a copy of the policy document.

Yours etc

E R
19th December 2004

Dear Brahma Kumaris,

I understood from Sr Waddy that you had discussed with your God in Madhuban how to respond to my letters to you and he had told you to communicate with me. Given your failure to respond to my recent emails I do not know whether to doubt her veracity or your obediance. Please clarify.

I also was assured by Sr Jayanti back in june of this year that child protection policies are now in place in India and that the document encapsulating such was being completed. I have sent several communications requesting an update on this and they appear to have been ignored.

I assume that it is another Madhuban season and that chilren are visiting from around the world and so I am contacting other centres to try to get verification that the long promised protections are now in place.

Yours Faithfully

E R

9th January 2004

Dear Brahma Kumaris,

Your failure to respond to my communications of 2nd December 2003 and 19th December 2003 is noted. I enclose copies.

I will wait another 10 days and then conclude that you consider our communications to be at an end.

Yours Faithfully

E R

17th January 2004-

Dear E,

I refer to your recent correspondence and, following my recent return to London, am now pleased to enclose a copy of the written child protection policy received from the Brahma Kumaris, India.

With best wishes,

Yours sincerely,

Sister Jayanti

20th March 2004

Dear Brahma Kumaris,

Thank you for your email of 17th January with its enclosed copy of the child protection policy document for India.

If this document is part of a committed and systematic policy then some progress has been made. However, I have been unable to find any other Raja Yoga centre in the world that will confirm knowledge of it. I contacted approximately two hundred. There maybe some good reason for this but I cannot think of one. Normally, a child protection policy is not a matter of secrecy –indeed it is something which needs the opposite, So I am unsure what to conclude. Perhaps you could explain.

I trust you will agree that the presence of a few pages does not in itself make any difference to the safety of children under your care, that is to say – the existence of a policy document is substantially different from the existence of a policy. I request therefore that you provide any information on the management of your policy implementation world wide which might indicate the degree to which your organisation is genuinely and actively committed to child protection.

Given the credibility problems our correspondences have thrown up including the latest one to which I refer above I will state now that I am no longer prepared to spend months and years teasing out information from you drip by drip. I will give you one chance to persuade me that your policies are being implemented and one chance only. I will take whatever level of detail you provide to be the level of scrutiny you exercise. Send me some platitudes and I will know that platitudes is all you have. I suggest instead that you send me facts with the evidence you used to arrive at them. You should be experts in child protection by now –you owe that to child X, so you should know everything you need to send me. Whatever you fail to tell me about I shall conclude you do not consider important and do not do.

Given that you will be providing me with information that you already have I think it reasonable to require that you provide it to me within three weeks of today –namely by Monday 12th April.

I will then write a response to you which, in the event of you failing to allay my fears for children in your care, I will make public.

Yours Faithfully

E R

12th April 2004

Dear E,

Thank you for your communication of 20th March, received on 22nd March. This is to inform you that we are in the process of arranging for an independent evaluation of our child protection policies and procedures by social services. We will send this to you in due course.

Yours sincerely,

Sister Jayanti

[Continued … http://brahmakumaris.info/bb/viewtopic.php?t=137 ]

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