The International Society of Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), commonly called the Hare Krishna movement, founded by A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, is embroiled in yet another scandal concerning the sexual abuse of hundreds of children at its schools in the movement’s Myapur headquarters, located in West Bengal, India.

Historically, ISKCON in the United States was sought refuge in bankruptcy after a class action lawsuit was filed against it by adult children of its devotees that had been sexually abused as minor children within its ashram communities and schools. The matter was then settled through bankruptcy court.

Mayapur, ISCON headquarters

In October, ISKCON’s Child Protection Office (CPO) released a damning report regarding the abuse perpetrated by the ex-headmaster of the school, Anirdesya Vapu (aka Alan Ross Wexler), formerly known as Bhakti Vidya Purna Swami (BVPS).

Excerpted quotations from the CPO report as follows:

“This decision pertains to new allegations that between 2005 and 2010 BVPS perpetrated the sexual abuse, (sexual) harassment and psychological abuse of a minor.”

“This panel recommends the GBC examine the culture of enabling child abusers that is prevalent amongst some senior ISKCON leadership and management. BVPS had previous CPO restrictions that prohibited him from managing schools, yet he was allowed to continue doing so, either directly at the girls’ school, or indirectly at the boys’ school via his proxies and disciples.”

“Despite there being at least two previous CPO cases highlighting BVPS’ abusive/harmful behavior, other sannyasis, gurus, senior devotees, and yatras, continued to support, protect, and defend him, as well as give him a high-profile. For example, his senior godbrothers invited him to their temples, encouraged their disciples to send their children to his school, disregarding serious complaints of abuse dating back to the 1990s, and visibly supported him and his schools by visiting them.”

“The support and endorsement that BVPS received from his seniors and peers enabled him to become the child abuser with the longest span of activity in the history of ISKCON. Their public support of him was in essence a seal-of-approval of BVPS. There is a need for a massive culture shift amongst senior leaders in ISKCON aimed at preventing and discouraging further abuse of children.”

“ISKCON needs to stop defending known child abusers because of ‘how much service they have done.’ The panel believes that if ISKCON’s senior leadership had been more mindful of, and prioritized child protection, BVPS would not have been able to continue abusing children for so many years and the lives of many children would have been spared the unnecessary abuse he perpetrated.”

BVPS/Anirdesya Vapu (aka Alan Ross Wexler) has now been stripped of his sannyasa status and exiled from Mayapur. But as of yet, no criminal charges have been brought against him. But before the dust settled, one of the former students, Vedasara, now an adult and leader in ISKCON Atlanta, reported horrific levels of abuse of young children by the former Swami, other students and teaching staff.

The report sent shock waves through the Hare Krishna movement. But ISKCON leaders seem to be conspicuously quiet, perhaps under legal advice. They haven’t even revealed the outcomes of an investigation that they commissioned about the movement’s schools in India — a report that was submitted to them some time ago.

ISKCON leaders are being criticized by the Society’s members for not doing enough to keep the movement’s children safe –- in fact, turning a blind eye for decades whilst this monster wreaked havoc in so many young lives. Red flags were everywhere. His abuse of children was an open secret. There were three CPO investigations.

Certain leaders, known to be friendly associates of BVPS, have released messages trying to distance themselves. But many of their disciples are not buying this. There is a massive crisis of faith. Many previously faithful disciples are now openly challenging their gurus.

Another leader embroiled in scandal

Most recently, yet another ISKCON leader is embroiled in scandal. Lokanath Swami has initiated a defamation lawsuit against two whistle blowers that have raised awareness of all of this and its mishandling over the last 30 years.


In 1990, whilst staying in a family home in New Jersey recuperating from an injury incurred, he sexually abused an eleven-year-old girl. She reported this to her mother. But the family only shared this with ISKCON’s leaders three years later. The ISKCON did not report this to the New Jersey authorities –- and also dissuaded the family from reporting it, promising that Lokanath would be severely punished. But in the end, they only gave him 2.5 years restrictions on initiating disciples and allowed him to remain a guru. And everything was kept hidden from the general devotee population.

Despite instructing Lokanath to inform prospective disciples of what happened, he stopped doing so and later contested the authenticity of an admission letter.

Details of the matter came to public attention in 1998. But the ISKCON Governing Body Commission (GBC) sought to play down the gravity of the crime. However, details surfaced again in 2010 when the victim, in her thirties, publicly spoke out about the specifics of the crime.

But each time the matter came to public attention, the GBC nevertheless allowed Lokanath to remain in a leading position, most likely because of his high profile status within ISKCON India.

The whistle blowers social media campaign in April 2021 once again brought this matter back into the public consciousness, which apparently increased public pressure.

In May ISKCON leaders publicly promised to give the case to the CPO, which is in line with their espoused policies regarding such matters. However, days later, they secretly withdrew the case and in August announced that they would set up a special designated panel to review the facts and prior handling. This became their preferred approach as opposed to the previous policy of giving the case to the CPO. The panel was composed of five members, two were former CPO Directors, but two others were loyal Lokanath supporters, though that bias was disputed.

It seems like no surprise that this panel concluded that no further action was needed and the GBC considered the matter closed.

The publicly released panel report officially documents the abuse that took place, along with all of the mishandling. The report included a co-authored letter of admission by Lokanath.

The European and North American temples indicated that Lokanath would not be welcomed in their jurisdictions.

Despite widespread circulation of these documents, significant community awareness and the restrictions imposed upon him, Lokanath decided to sue the social media whistle blowers, which now draws more attention to the scandal.


2 comments untill now

  1. srividya @ 2023-04-19 05:21

    LOK folks, never heard of the Streisand effect?

  2. Thank you! Please continue to write more articles! So many of us want these rascals exposed! And removed! I personally am a victim of rape in this movement! I was not in this movement as a child, but when I joined, I was raped by one of the priests on the altar! And right now the movement is only discussing the abuse to the children… But they weren’t the only ones! Thank you so much!

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