Chakra Discussions

GBC Encourages Youth to seek Compensation via Chapter 11

by Anuttama das

Posted June 24, 2003

Dear Devotees and Friends,

Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

I am writing on behalf of the ISKCON Governing Body Commission (GBC) regarding the child abuse lawsuit and Chapter 11 Reorganization proceedings underway in United States Federal Bankruptcy Court. Please share this information with anyone who could benefit from it.

The opportunity currently exists for young people who were abused to get significant financial and other assistance from ISKCON through these court proceedings.

The GBC urges any young person who may have been mistreated or abused at a gurukula (or temple) in the 1970s, 1980's, or 1990's to come forward and file an official claim to seek compensation, or assistance, through the current proceedings in the Federal Courts.

The decision of North American temples named in the suit to seek Chapter 11 Reorganization was approved by the GBC. The purpose of the reorganization was to 1) provide a fair system to assist any young person who may have been abused in the past, and 2) protect innocent devotees from losing their temples.

A federal judge will soon study the assets of the ISKCON temples/projects involved and decide how much they are able to pay. The exact amount of compensation and different levels of distribution are still to be determined by the Court. The number of individuals filing claims will not affect the amount of money the temples must pay.

Filing a claim does not mean one is "joining" the existing lawsuit. Nor will filing a legitimate claim at this time hurt ISKCON, or be an offense to Srila Prabhupada. No ISKCON member should criticize someone who files a claim.

It is imperative that anyone who has a legitimate claim files (registers their name) immediately. The Court has set a deadline of June 30, 2003 for filing. Names submitted after that date may not be eligible for assistance, although the ISKCON temples are requesting the court to extend the deadline. Per a court order on June 20, 2003, all claims will be kept "under seal," or confidential. The privacy of individuals filing claims will be protected and personal information will not be made public.

To file a claim, please go to the website harekrishnaclaims.com for detailed information. This is valid internationally, and is not restricted only to those abused in North America.

Your servant,
Anuttama Dasa
ISKCON Minister of Communications