Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Schuon's child molesting case

In the early 1990's Traditionalist author Frithjof Schuon was falsely charged with ritual abuse. The below articles are from the Bloomington Herald Tribune who kindly gave me their permission to reprint them here. These articles were obtained before the BHT had an online archive and there are other articles on their site which deal with Schuon.

These articles are posted to demonstrate Schuon's innocence.


Schuon indictments dropped

By Kurt Van der Dussen

Indictments charging child molesting and sexual battery against international religious scholar and philosopher Frithjof Schuon issued by a Monroe County grand jury last month were dismissed Wednesday by Prosecutor Bob Miller. In addition, perjury indictments against two members of Schuon's group of adherents and supporters, Maude Murray and Sharlyn Romaine, were dismissed. Miller also said the deputy prosecutor who headed the grand jury investigation, David Hunter, has submitted his resignation. After reviewing a transcript of the grand jury proceedings plus available evidence, Miller concluded ``there is insufficient evidence to support a criminal prosecution on these charges.'' Miller said that other than the testimony of one individual, Mark Koslow, now living in an undisclosed location in the West, ``there is not one shred of evidence'' upon which a criminal case could be prosecuted against Schuon. ``Insofar as he has been labeled (by the allegations), a miscarriage has occurred,'' Miller said. Schuon's spokesman, Michael Fitzgerald, agreed. In a statement released Wednesday on Schuon's behalf, he said it was ``an affront to justice'' that nobody listened to the defendants prior to raising ``these disgraceful and unfounded allegations.'' The investigation and indictments, he said, were ``an outrage to the intellectual and moral reputation of Bloomington.'' Schuon, 84, of 3700 Inverness Farms Road, is a scholar of comparative religion whose books have an international academic reputation. He was indicted in October by a grand jury following a two-month investigation into allegations of religious rites involving his adherents in various states of semi-nudity and involving juvenile girls in sexual activities. The indictments against Schuon alleged that on March 23-27 and again on May 17, Schuon committed child-molesting by ``fondling or touching'' three girls aged 15, 14 and 13 with intent to arouse sexual desire.

They also alleged that on the same dates, Schuon committed sexual battery by touching the girls with intent to arouse sexual desire, ``when said persons were compelled to submit to touching by force or imminent threat of force, to wit, by undue cult influences and cult pressures.'' Both indictments were felonies, punishable by up to three years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000. The indictments for perjury against Murray, of 3490 Inverness Farms Road, and Romaine, of 3200 Inverness Farms Road, alleged that on Sept. 30, both women knowingly made false statements to the grand jury that they had not spoken to anyone about getting ``a spiritual divorce'' from Schuon. The three already had entered pleas of innocence to the charges. In addition, all three girls and their parents had called the allegations untrue. At Schuon's initial court hearing on Oct. 28, a frustrated Monroe Circuit Judge James Dixon had told Schuon he couldn't tell him what the state would have to prove to convict him because the charges were confusing. Dixon said it appeared to him conviction on either count would require the state to prove six distinct illegal acts. Miller said later that day the indictments would be amended. But Wednesday morning, Miller announced he was dismissing them totally. He issued a statement explaining that upon his ``personal review'' of the grand jury transcript, ``I have concluded that there is insufficient evidence to support a criminal prosecution of these charges,'' and that the indictments were being dismissed. Miller's statement continued: ``My decision is based on the fact that, other than the allegations of the original complaining witness (Koslow), there is simply no other evidence to support these charges.

Considering the public statements of the defendants, as well as those of the alleged victims, the uncorroborated allegations of the complainant are not sufficient to justify further involvement of the justice system. ``It is my firm belief that the grand jury acted in good faith in their consideration of the evidence presented to them and in a manner consistent with a lay person's reaction. However, in our system of justice there is no place for the old adage, `Where there's smoke, there's fire.' The grand jurors were also correct in pointing out the misstatements which form the basis of the perjury indictments. However, these misstatements were neither significant or material as is required by law to support a charge of perjury. ``Bloomington has long been a community which welcomes cultural diversity and freedom of expression. That is why I stated at the time the indictments were returned that my only interest in the activities of this group extended to the possible involvement of children. The evidence in my possession at this time does not support that allegation. ``What the evidence does indicate is that the group is engaged in activities that are protected by the First Amendment and should be respected in a community that values the free flow of ideas. The behavior of consenting adults in the privacy of their own homes must be considered the most fundamental of liberties guaranteed under our constitutional system.'' Miller said part of the problem with the grand jury indictments was that Hunter had failed to give the jurors ``appropriate direction about the law and its requirements,'' which resulted in inappropriate indictments. He said Hunter resigned his position last week. Asked if he requested Hunter's resignation, Miller replied, ``I will not make any further comment, and will leave it to people to drawn their own conclusions.'' Hunter blamed Miller. ``The indictment has his signature on it,'' he said Wednesday. ``He approved the wording of the indictment. It was he who initiated the grand jury investigation.

When it started, he explained to the grand jury what he wanted. He only turned it over to me to finish it up after he got tired of being in there. So I find his explanation novel if not startling.'' Miller differed with that, saying the case was brought to Hunter by the state police. He said his own sole role during the six weeks of grand jury hearings was to question Koslow before the jurors on the first day. ``That was it,'' he said, though he did confirm he signed the indictments. ``There's no question that I'm taking responsibility for what happened here,'' said Miller. But he said he needs to trust his subordinates, and that in this case, he acted as rapidly as he could to correct mistakes by a member of his staff. Indianapolis attorneys Dennis Zahn and Jim Voyles, who represent Schuon, were in court Wednesday and could not be reached for comment. Indianapolis attorney Richard Kammen, who represented Romaine, was highly critical of Miller. ``I think there's some really serious questions that have to be addressed as to how Mr. Miller runs his office,'' he said. ``This has been as abusive and disgraceful a procedure as it could be. At the least, he owes the defendants a very grave apology.'' In an interview telecast Wednesday night on WTHR Channel 13, Miller said that ``certainly an apology of sorts'' was called for. Miller said Wednesday night that his statement reflected his regret that ``the system broke down.'' Asked if the former defendants were considering civil actions, Kammen replied, ``We're in the process of weighing all the available options.'' Schuon's spokesman Fitzgerald said the state police have already been contacted and asked to pursue disciplinary action against Detective Sgt. Jim Richardson, who headed the investigation, for abusing the defendants' civil rights. The disciplinary action could be ``an alternative to remedies through the courts,'' which he said Schuon would prefer to avoid, Fitzgerald said. But he said a federal civil rights lawsuit has been suggested by at least one legal expert. Richardson and Miller both maintained the state police investigation was properly conducted, with its findings handled in the normal manner and submitted to the grand jury as they should have been.



Our opinion editorial Schuon case a travesty Monroe County Prosecutor Bob Miller apparently is focused on becoming Indiana's next attorney general. That's the most plausible reason we can think of that he couldn't see what was going on in his office with respect to the recent indictments of an 84-year-old religious scholar and two of his followers on charges that last week were dropped. We're pleased Miller had the strength and integrity to dismiss the indictments against Frithjof Schuon, Maude Murray and Sharlyn Romaine, realizing as he must that he would be opening himself up to criticism after doing so. In dropping the charges, Miller said there was ``insufficient evidence to support a criminal prosecution'' of them. He said aside from allegations made by one man, ``there is not one shred of evidence'' on which to base charges against Schuon and the others. Our pleasure with Miller is tainted, however, by the fact that the case got as far as it did. Felony indictments of sexual battery and child molesting were brought against Schuon in mid-October following a grand jury investigation headed by deputy prosecutor David Hunter of Miller's office. Perjury indictments were brought against Murray and Romaine. Schuon is a scholar of comparative religion whose books are well respected in the international academic community. The indictments stemmed from religious rites involving his adherents. Authorities said the rites included various states of semi-nudity, and juvenile girls in sexual activities. The main witness in the case was Mark Koslow, who now lives in California. Koslow continues to stand by his charges, saying, ``I saw what I saw.'' Apparently, no one else saw the same things. Perhaps the biggest tip-off that this was going to be a troubling case came the day the indictments were announced. Along with Miller, Hunter and state police Detective Sgt. Jim Richardson at a news conference was Koslow. Bringing forth the key witness in a case to make a lot of sensational allegations was unfair, unprofessional and turned the court case into a circus. But it played well for television, not to mention newspapers. Another tip that day was that two of the three alleged ``victims'' in the case showed up, too, without an invitation. These two teen-age girls had been touched inappropriately for Schuon's sexual gratification, the police and prosecution said. The girls' story was entirely different. They said it didn't happen.

And now Miller agrees _ or at least he agrees that he has no credible evidence that it happened. This example of better-late-than-never leaves us with a question. Where was the prosecutor while Schuon's reputation was being soiled by the charges brought against him? Following the announcement that the indictments had been dismissed, Miller said his deputy, Hunter, failed to provide proper legal guidance to the grand jurors about what the law required to charge Schuon with the offenses they settled on. He accordingly gained Hunter's resignation. Would it have been too much to ask for the county's elected prosecutor to be on top of this significant, high-profile grand jury investigation that not only involved Schuon but many respected members of this community? Miller had a duty to be thoroughly familiar with the testimony presented before the grand jury and with the existence _ or nonexistence _ of evidence before the grand jury proceeded with indictments. It likewise was his ultimate duty, not Hunter's, to ensure that the grand jurors understood the laws concerning child molesting and sexual battery and what is needed to prove them before they issued indictments.

This case was in the making since early summer. Miller had several months to determine whether there was sufficient evidence to sustain indictments against Schuon. There really is no excuse for him to say he didn't discover the evidence was insufficient until after he read the grand jury transcript. It's also worth pointing out that his signature is on the indictments. To his credit, he did not shy from responsibility. ``A mistake was made by my office and I'm responsible,'' he said last week. ``I tried to correct it as soon as I could and, hopefully, we will learn from it.'' Whatever lessons are learned will be a little late for Schuon, an aging philosopher of international renown whose personal reputation has been so publicly called into question. One lesson we have learned is this: a grand jury is not a proper forum for determining the criminality of behavior that may be viewed as unorthodox or unacceptable to some members of a community but which is linked to sincerely held religious beliefs. Another is this: don't sign anything unless you know what it means.



Schuon rejects cultism charges By Andrew Welsh-Huggins A Bloomington-based Swiss philosopher arrested Tuesday on charges of sexual battery and child molesting issued a statement Wednesday in response to ``allegations and confusion'' about his religious relationship with a group of local followers. Refuting notions that he was the head of a cult, Frithjof Schuon, 84, 3700 Inverness Farms Road, said the group, known as Tariqah Mariamiah, ``is a spiritual society for prayer which exists for those Sufi followers of my principles.'' The statement was relayed by Michael Fitzgerald, a friend of the philosopher. Schuon also said his ``personal affinity is for the Red Indian cultural form'' but he denied requiring anyone to follow that form. Schuon's interest in Native American religion dates to the 1950s when he studied with and was later adopted by both Sioux and Crow Indian tribes. He has also written extensively about Native Americans, including The Feathered Sun, published in 1990. ``All I ask is that someone accepts what is in my books, prays and accepts certain moral and aesthetic principles,'' he said in the statement. Schuon surrendered himself to police Tuesday after being indicted on charges of sexual battery and child molesting following a six-week grand jury investigation. The charges allege that in March and again in May Schuon fondled or touched three girls aged 13, 14 and 15 ``with intent to arouse sexual desire.'' In Wednesday's statement, Schuon did not address the legal charges against him.

Fitzgerald said Schuon was resting at home following symptoms of a heart attack he experienced Tuesday evening. A doctor examined Schuon but found no actual signs of a heart attack, Fitzgerald said. The allegations against Schuon, the author of more than 20 books on comparative religion, concern religious rites involving what Monroe County Prosecutor Bob Miller called ``various states of nudity'' by the participants, with children sometimes present. The rites eventually involved touching teen-age girls, according to complaints received by Indiana State Police. The alleged incidents occurred at a house in Inverness Farms subdivision off Old Ind. 446, according to police. The participants were members of what state police Detective Sgt. Jim Richardson called ``a non-traditional group operating under the guise of religion'' and what a former member of the group labeled a ``cult'' led by Schuon. Richardson said he began his investigation in mid-July after speaking with that former member, Mark Koslow, 35, now of Cleveland, Ohio.

At a news conference Tuesday, Koslow described Schuon as a powerful, aloof man who was ``obsessed with nudity'' and who led his followers, who wore American Indian garb, in rituals during which he pressed himself against bare-breasted women while placing his hands on their hips. During his investigation, Richardson said he interviewed more than 30 people in connection with the case, developing as he did a picture of a well-organized but secretive group led by Schuon. Evidence he gathered ``from cooperative witnesses'' included written instructions to group members on how to talk with police, how to dress, even where to pitch tepees used by the group, he said. ``One of these documents points out that it's against the law to lie to an FBI agent but not to a local police officer,'' he said. A search warrant also turned up photographs of nude and semi-nude members of the group participating in ritual dances, he said. In addition to present and former group members living in Bloomington and the United States, he also received calls from former members living abroad, he said. Richardson on Wednesday defended himself against charges that he was conducting a ``witch-hunt'' against Schuon. ``You can be a Satanist or anything you want,'' he said. ``As long as you don't break any laws in Indiana, it's all right. But if you do (break laws), then there's going to be an investigation.'' Fitzgerald, the founder, chairman and chief executive officer of Sunrise Publications in Bloomington, said on his attorney's recommendation he could not discuss the indictments. The rituals described by Koslow ``don't exist,'' he added, but declined to comment further on Koslow's allegations.

The ``enemies of Schuon'' are people who don't adhere to Schuon's notion of a basic uniformity of belief, he said. ``The problem with many of the people who don't like Mr. Schuon is that over a period of time they've become more fanatical for one religion,'' he said. Many of Schuon's books were published originally in French and later translanted into English and other languages. Many of Schuon's most recent books have been published by World Wisdom Books, a Bloomington-based publishing company which currently only brings out books by Schuon.

By Andrew Welsh-Huggins
For the first time in almost a year, Frithjof Schuon has a sense of
peace and relief. Schuon, 84, is a Swiss religious philosopher who moved to
Bloomington 11
years ago.
 It was in December 1990, he and supporters say, that a former
follower vowed to seek revenge on Schuon for disapproving of an adulterous
affair the follower was having.
Schuon believes that revenge culminated in a mid-October grand
jury indictment charging the philosopher with sexual battery and child
molesting in connection with American Indian rituals near Schuon's home on
Inverness Farms Road in southeast Bloomington.
On Wednesday, all charges against Schuon were dropped. Monroe
County prosecutor Bob Miller said he had found ``insufficient evidence to
support a criminal prosecution of these charges.''
In a brief interview Wednesday, Schuon said the announcement ended
a ``nightmare.''
``It was a terrible atmosphere,'' he said. ``There was always
pressure, a kind of blackmailing pressure.''
He described his accuser, 35-year-old Mark Koslow, as ``an awful
character, a psychopath . . . I didn't think such a creature as Koslow
existed.'' Schuon also lashed out at the Indiana State Police for their
handling of the case.
 ``I am astonished. This was not fair. They promoted Koslow, they
were sentimentally attached to Koslow. Police should be cold and neutral,
not promoting someone,'' he said.
At a news conference announcing the charges in October, Koslow
also described Schuon as a ``cult'' leader who exerted enormous control over
his followers. Asked Wednesday if he exerted such control, Schuon said, ``Of
course! I'm a philosopher, why shouldn't I? But I'm not a tyrant. Because I
disapproved of the relationship he thought I was a tyrant and brainwashed people.''
Schuon said he has admired American Indian religion, and
particularly that of the Plains Indians, for years. He has written extensively about
American Indian religion, visited reservations in South Dakota and Montana in
the 1950s and 1960s and met with Indian holy men in Europe.
The ``primordial'' aspects of American Indian religions attracted
him, Schuon said.
 Such religions are without theology and hairsplitting and based on
``metaphysics'' and prayer, he said. American Indian religion also
conforms with his belief in the
existence of "one hidden religion . . . the same truth hidden in all forms."
``Indians have a strong feeling of transcendence and
universality,'' he said. ``The Great Spirit is above all forms and yet present in all
 Reached by telephone Wednesday night in the Oakland, Calif., area,
Koslow denied that revenge was his motive in making the initial complaints to
state police.
He called Schuon a ``false spiritual master'' whom he decided to
expose as a way of warning other people about the philosopher.
 He scoffed at claims by Schuon and his followers that the three
teen-age girls Schuon is accused of touching were not in Indiana at the time of
the alleged incidents.
``I saw what I saw, I know what I know,'' Koslow said. He also
said he was not surprised the charges were dropped.
 ``I was saying all along if Schuon was just indicted I wouldn't
care if he wasn't convicted. I knew I was the only one with the courage to come
out against him,'' Koslow said.
 Schuon, the author of more than 20 books on comparative religion,
said Wednesday he is too ``exhausted'' to do much writing now.
 Instead, he spends his days now praying and resting.
``I am a philosopher, I write books,'' he said of his life's work.
``I have a certain gift of intuition, of moral and spiritual


By Kurt Van der Dussen

The California man whose testimony against 84-year-old religious philosopher Frithjof Schuon led to Schuon's indictment on child molesting and sexual battery charges has been sued in Monroe Circuit Court by a woman indicted by the grand jury at the same time for alleged perjury. Maude Murray of 3490 Inverness Farms Road had filed the suit against Mark Koslow. It alleges that Koslow bought property for Murray with her money during a relationship the two had, but has refused to convey her the deed for it after the relationship ended. Koslow could not be reached for comment on the lawsuit. His whereabouts between Bloomington and California are unknown, according to his mother in Bay Village, Ohio, and Indiana State Police Sgt. Jim Richardson, who has been in contact with Koslow throughout the state police investigation of Schuon and his alleged spiritual activities. Murray is one of two female supporters of Schuon indicted by the grand jury in October for perjury. The two allegedly testified they had not spoken to anyone about getting ``a spiritual divorce'' from Schuon, knowing their testimony was false. The indictments against Schuon allege that on two occasions in March and May, he committed child-molesting and sexual battery by ``fondling or touching'' three teen-age girls for sexual arousal during alleged ceremonies involving Schuon and adherents living in Inverness Woods southeast of Bloomington. According to the indictments, the sexual battery occurred when the three teen-age girls ``were compelled to submit to touching by force or imminent threat of force, to wit, by undue cult influences and cult pressures.'' Schuon has bitterly denied the allegations, as have his supporters. Schuon's supporters have accused Koslow of bringing the allegations against Schuon out of revenge for Schuon's refusal to give his blessing to a relationship Koslow sought. Murray's lawsuit alleges that between August 1990 and June 1991, Murray and Koslow had ``an intimate relationship.'' During that relationship, she alleges, she authorized Koslow to buy land for her at 7414 Pine Grove Road and subsequently gave him more than $67,000 to do so, which she says he did. She said Koslow was to hold the land in trust for her for a future residence. Murray alleges that Koslow subsequently has refused to convey title to the property to her. She is asking Judge Marc Kellams to order him to do so. Further, she alleges she paid Koslow $3,500 for his handling of the property acquisition for her, and she seeks that money back as well. She also alleges she entrusted other property to Koslow, but that he has refused to return it as well. She alleges that constitutes ``criminal conversion'' and entitles her to triple damages. Murray alleges she would never have entrusted her money to Koslow if she did not have ``trust and confidence'' in him based on his representations and her belief that he intended to marry her. She alleges he had no such intent and thus fraudulently gained control over her money.



Lawsuit against Koslow in Schuon case dismissed H-T Report A lawsuit against the California man whose testimony against religious philosopher Frithjof Schuon led to Schuon's indictment on child molesting and sexual battery charges last year has been settled out of court. Mark Koslow had been sued by Maude Murray of 3490 Inverness Farms Road. She had alleged that Koslow bought property for her with her money during a relationship the two had, but had refused to convey her the deed for it after the relationship ended. Murray was indicted by the grand jury in October for perjury in her testimony concerning him.

The indictments against Schuon and Murray later were dismissed by Prosecutor Bob Miller for lack of evidence. At the time of the grand jury indictments, Schuon's supporters accused former follower Koslow of bringing the allegations against Schuon out of revenge for Schuon's refusal to give his blessing to a relationship Koslow sought. Murray's lawsuit alleged that between August 1990 and June 1991, Murray and Koslow had ``an intimate relationship.'' During that relationship, she alleges, she authorized Koslow to buy land for her at 7414 Pine Grove Road and subsequently gave him more than $67,000 to do so, which she said he did.

She said Koslow was to hold the land in trust for her for a future residence. Murray alleged that Koslow subsequently has refused to convey title to the property to her. She also alleged she paid Koslow $3,500 for his handling of the property acquisition for her. She asked Judge Marc Kellams to order Koslow to give her the deed and her money. The case was settled out of court earlier this month. Koslow was ordered to execute and deliver a deed for the Pine Grove Road property to Murray, with all other claims to be dismissed following registration of the deed with the county recorder.



H-T asking judge to reject effort to get reporters' data By Steven Higgs The Herald-Times has asked a judge to deny a former follower of religious leader Frithjof Schuon access to information gathered by reporters who covered Schuon's indictment and related incidents last fall. The newspaper's lawyer cited press immunity under the state's ``Shield Law'' and Indiana case law as a basis for asking Monroe Circuit Judge Marc Kellams to reject Mark Koslow's request for the information. Koslow is seeking to obtain or inspect any documents, news releases, statements and tape recordings the newspaper may have that came from Schuon or his followers. Schuon was indicted in October by a grand jury on child molesting and sexual battery charges. Two of his followers - Maude Murray and Sharlyn Romaine - were indicted on perjury charges over their grand jury testimony. The indictments were based primarily on testimony from Koslow that Schuon sexually fondled children during religious ceremonies on properties owned by group members on Inverness Farms Road in southeastern Monroe County.

Prosecutor Bob Miller on Nov. 20 dropped charges against all three, saying there was insufficient evidence to pursue the cases. Two weeks before charges were dropped, Murray sued Koslow over a real estate deal. She charged that he bought property for her with her money while they were involved in an ``intimate relationship'' between August 1990 and June 1991 but refused to give her the deed after the relationship ended. Koslow says information that Murray or others in the group gave the newspaper may have related to the property transaction or the couple's relationship and therefore could help his defense. He also argues that Murray filed the lawsuit as a way of publicly discrediting him and that negative statements may have been made to the press about him. On Jan. 22, Kellams issued the H-T a subpoena to produce the documents Koslow has requested.

In response, H-T attorney Harold Harrell cites a 1986 Indiana Court of Appeals decision that before parties to lawsuits can obtain information from the media, they must show that: The material sought is relevant to the lawsuit. There is a compelling need for the information. That all other possible sources for the information have been exhausted. Koslow, Harrell says, has not satisfied those requirements and therefore is not entitled to any information the H-T may possess. Harrell also says in his request that the state's Shield Law, which protects the media from having to divulge sources of information, also protects the newspaper's information. Rudy Savich, Koslow's Bloomington attorney, says he hasn't yet discussed the H-T's response with his client and does not know what steps they may take. But he says he wonders why the paper is taking up the Schuon group's defense. ``I just wonder what the H-T has that they're trying to hide,'' he said. ``I'm just very, very curious.'' H-T editor Bob Zaltsberg said he doesn't know what information reporters may have, but they probably do have some notes from the Schuon case in their files. The newspaper isn't trying to hide anything, but is resisting Koslow's request on principle, he said. ``I would prefer that our reporters not be used as agents of lawyers involved in civil cases,'' he said. ``It seems unreasonable that any attorney should have access to information that our reporters gather in the course of doing their duties.''

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