Chakra Discussions

Child Protection Office Selects New Director...
Plans Announced to Open Additional Office in Europe

by ISKCON Communications International

Posted June 30, 2004

Washington, D.C.-The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), announced June 19th that Tamohara dasa, or Dr. Thomas L. Pourchot, 53, has been appointed Director of the ISKCON Child Protection Office, or the Association for the Protection of Vaishnava Children. The appointment was effective June 1st.

Tamohara, a member of ISKCON since 1972, lives in DeKalb, Illinois with his wife, Mantrini dasi. Tamohara has a Doctorate in Educational Psychology and has been involved in graduate level programs in Clinical Psychology and Counseling for ten years. In addition, he has a Master's Degree in Human Resource Development. His major academic specialization is human development, and he has taught classes on child, adolescent, and adult development.

Tamohara also has experience working with young people within ISKCON, which includes serving as director of the Bhaktivedanta Village School in Three Rivers, California, from 1983 to 1986. Other members of Tamohara's family have also worked to benefit ISKCON youth. Mantrini, Tamohara's wife, and his daughter, Jaya Radhe, both serve on the Board of Directors of Children of Krishna (CKI). Tamohara's son-in-law, Manu dasa, is ISKCON's Youth Minister and is the coordinator of the Summer Youth Bus Tour in North America.

"I am excited by the challenge of this service," said Tamohara, "and I greatly appreciate the support and encouragement I have already received from the devotee community. I feel that Krishna and Srila Prabhupada are engaging my experience in counseling, education, and administration in their service."

Tamohara noted that his goal is to work with the ISKCON Governing Body Commission (GBC), local temples, and individual members to demonstrate Srila Prabhupada's deep commitment to protect, teach, and care for children.

"In caring for our children," he said, "we can help create a lasting culture of Krishna Consciousness for many generations to come."

In September, the CPO will also be opening a new office in Europe. The European office will be based in Benissa, Spain, and will be under the direction of Hanuman dasa, or Jose M. Fornos, 51. Hanuman, a member of ISKCON since 1980, is the father of two daughters. He is a long term advocate of children, and has served as CPO judge since 1999.

The international headquarters of the CPO will remain in Alachua, Florida. The office is staffed by Kesava dasa, who has been with the CPO since October, 2003. Tamohara, who plans to relocate to Alachua next spring, will oversee both the Alachua and Spanish operations.

Dhira Govinda dasa, David Wolfe, Ph.D., who served as the CPO director since its inception in 1998, will continue in a consultant role to assure a smooth leadership transition. The CPO will also continue to enlist the help of dozens of trained volunteers world-wide.

"The CPO has accomplished a great deal in its first six years, and I am fortunate to inherent well-established systems and procedures developed by Dhira Govinda Prabhu," said Tamohara.

The CPO will continue to emphasize educational and preventive activities. It will focus on training local child protection teams, encouraging screening procedures, and promoting child protection as a high priority at all levels of ISKCON. The office will also continue to investigate allegations of abuse, in conjunction with related government agencies. An equally vital concern is to ensure that abuse victims receive the support and help that they need.

"Through a cooperative spirit and working together, we can become a model for child protection," Tamohara said.

The ISKCON Child Protection Office was established by the international GBC at their annual meeting in Mayapura, in 1998. The CPO is funded entirely by voluntary contributions from individual GBC members and other ISKCON leaders.

For additional information regarding the CPO, please visit their website at www.apvc.org, or phone (386) 418 0882.