SUPERIOR COURT OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA IN AND FOR THE COUNTY OF SAN
ANANDA CHURCH OF SELF REALIZATION, a California not-for-profit corporation; CRYSTAL
CLARITY PUBLISHING, a California corporation; DANNY LEVIN, individually and ) as an employee of CRYSTAL CLARITY PUBLISHING and/or ANANDA CHURCH OF SELF REALIZATION; DONALD J. WALTERS, individually, and an employee of ANANDA CHURCH OF SELF REALIZATION and CRYSTAL CLARITY PUBLISHING; DOES 1 to 50;
No. 390 230
DECLARATION OF REVEREND PAMELA COOPER-WHITE IN OPPOSITION TO DEFENDANTS
MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
Filed January 9 1996
Date: January 23, 1996
I, The Rev. Pamela Cooper-White, do declare:
1. I have been retained as an expert witness in the matter of Bertolucci vs. Ananda
Church of Self-Realization et a 1., Case No. 390230 and have agreed to testify in this action. I have based my opinions herein solely on the statements of the parties and witnesses associated with the parties herein, and on my own special knowledge, skill, experience, training and education concerning the subject matter of my testimony as set forth below. My opinions as set forth below, all relate to the issue of sexual abuse of parishioners by their clergy, the dynamics of the relationships, which are relatively unique, and the types and extent of damages caused by such conduct These issues are sufficiently beyond common experience as to warrant expert testimony.
2. My qualifications as an expert are as follows. I am the author of the book "The Cry of Tamar: Violence Against Women and the Church's Response", published in 1995 by Fortress Press, Minneapolis, MN, (the scholarly publishing house of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America).
I am an ordained Episcopal priest in the Diocese of Chicago, presently serving as half-time Priest
Associate at St. Mary's Episcopal Church, Park Ridge, IL, and as part-time Pastoral Psychotherapist intern at the Pastoral Counseling Center of Lutheran General Hospital, Park Ridge, IL. I also teach as Adjunct Professor at Seabury-Western Theological (Episcopal) Seminary in Evanston, specializing in the field of women's studies and pastoral psychology. Prior to moving to the Chicago area in 1995, I worked for five years as the Director of the Center for Women and Religion at the Graduate Theological Union (consortium of nine theological seminaries), in Berkeley, CA, where I taught courses in women's studies and pastoral psychology, led trainings and consultations specializing in the area of clergy sexual abuse of parishioners, and Pioneered one of the first support groups in the the country for clergy abuse survivors. I also co-led several trainings and consultations, and co-taught a summer session course at Pacific School of Religion on clergy sexual abuse, together with Peter Rutter, M.D., psychiatrist on the faculty of University of California, San Francisco, Medical School, and author of "Sex in the Forbidden Zone" (published by Tarcher, 1990). I have consulted on over 100 cases of women who were sexually exploited by their ministers, working both with victims, and also as a consultant with denominational executives (including Bishop Lyle Miller, Sierra Pacific 2 Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America; and Char Burch, Associate Conference Minister, Northern California Conference, United Church of Christ.) I also served as a member of the Sexual Ethics Task Force of the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago, co-authoring the sexual ethics policy for that diocese in 1993. Since moving to the Chicago area, I have been a lead trainer for diocesan clergy on sexual ethics and sexual misconduct for the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago.
3. I have published several articles specifically on the prevalence and dynamics of clergy Sexual abuse of parishioners, including a chapter in my book, "The Cry of Tamar, entitled "Clergy Sexual Abuse;" "A Reply to Donald Capps: On Sex, Power and Scapegoating in the Parish," Journal of Pastoral Care, 48/2, summer 1994, 193-195); "Soul Stealing: Power Relations in Pastoral Sexual Abuse," (Christian Century, February 20, 1991, pp. 196-99) which was nominated by The Christian Century for the 1991 annual award for best full-length article by the National Church Publishers' Association. While Director of the Center for Women and Religion, I also Compiled a resource booklet entitled "A Clergy Abuse Survivors' Resource Packet," and wrote articles for the booklet, including (Understanding 'The Forbidden Zone:' Some Questions and Answers about Clergy Sexual abuse;" "Some Preliminary Guidelines for Reporting Pastoral Sexual Abuse; " "How Do I Know If I've Been Abused" Some General Guidelines; and "Suggestions for Denominations: Elements to be included in Clergy Sexual Ethics Policy." I have also written a number of published reviews pertaining to the area of ethical boundary violations: (With Marilyn Coffy, Jan Baltz, et al): "Desperately Seeking Sophia's Shadow," (review of Carter Heyward, When Boundaries Betray Us, in Journal of Pastoral Care 48/3 (fall 1 994); review of Sex in the Parish by Karen Lebacqz and Ronald G. Barton tin The Christian Century, April 1, 1992, pp. 344-45); (with Anita Ostrom): "Pastoral Care: A Ministry of Presence, (Review Of Women in Travail and Transition, ed. M. GIaz and J.S. Moessner, in Christianity and Crisis, March 2, 1992, pp. 69-70); "Boundaries: Sex in the Parish House," review Of Sex in the Forbidden Zone by Peter Rutter tin Christianity and Crisis, Feb. 4, 1991, pp. 22-23); review of Is Nothing Sacred?: When Sex invades the Pastoral Relationship by Marie Fortune (in The Christian Century, Feb. 7-14, 1990, PP. 156-158).
4. My relevant academic background and training includes an M.A. in pastoral Counseling from Holy Names College, Oakland, CA 1994, and an M. Div. from Harvard
University/Harvard Divinity School, Cambridge, MA, 1983. I also worked for many years as a crisis counselor, hot line advocate, and eventually as Executive Director of women's service agencies in California, and won two awards for my development of programs for multicultural approaches to prevention and intervention of relationship violence: the "Vida" award of United Way of Santa Clara County (1989), and the Family Violence Project (San Francisco) award for outstanding work in addressing the problem of domestic violence" (1985).
5. I hold professional memberships in the American Association of Pastoral Counselors (Pastoral
Counselor-in-Training); the American Academy of Religion/Person, Culture and Religion Section;
Assembly of Episcopal Hospitals and Chaplains; Association for Women in Psychology; Society for
Pastoral Theology; and Psi Chi (national honor society in psychology),
6. I Currently hold a Fellowship from the national Episcopal Church Foundation to do doctoral research in the areas of psychological and spiritual dimensions in the clinical treatment of trauma, and the uses and abuses of sexuality in the pastoral Counseling relationship. I am pursuing this Ph.D. work at the institute for Clinical Social Work, Chicago,
7. I have read the complaint, cross complaint and all the related declarations sent to me by Ms.
Bertolucci's attorneys, and have consulted with those attorneys. It is my opinion that Ms.
Bertolucci's complaint constitutes a clear cut case of a religion's minister's (J. Donald
Walters/Swami Kriyananda's) conscious and deliberate sexual abuse and exploitation of a person
clearly under his spiritual care and jurisdiction, as well as the conscious and deliberate sexual
exploitation of Ms. Bertolucci by an authorized senior church leader and teacher (Danny Levin)
under Kriyananda's supervision and with his knowledge and consent. The abuse by Kriyananda was
all the more damaging because this minister misrepresented himself as celibate, holy, and having only her best interests at heart, and thus betrayed her trust as an initiate in his religious organization. Both
Kriyananda and Levin used and abused Ms. Bertolucci emotionally and sexually for their own
gratification, violating the sacred trust of the ministerial relation ship, and using using their power and
authority to coerce her into sexual activity with them.
8. Because Ms. Bertolucci also depended on these individuals and their church for employment, it is my opinion that this minister rial sexual abuse also constituted sexual harassment and sex discrimination. According to Ms. Bertolucci, when she attempted to confront the church leaders about the sexual harassment, and to extricate herself from the situation, she was subjected to retaliation and unjust discharge from her employment. The leaders also created a climate within their religious organization of absolute, unquestioning obedience and blind trust, cooperation and collusion by others with Kriyananda's pattern of sexually exploitative behavior toward women in the community, so that it would be difficult for any victim to trust her own doubts about Kriyananda's motives and trustworthiness.
9. The cooperation/collusion of the community further made it difficult for any victim to bring forth
accusations of sexual misconduct, without fear of ostracism, loss of support (emotionally and financially), loss of a community which had been organized to function as the victim's family, and loss of her spiritual foundations In fact, the group dynamic of the Ananda Church community fits precisely the group dynamic I have previously named elsewhere as a typical indicator or warning sign of abuse in a religious congregation: a "dynamic of secrecy and closed or chaotic process.....a lot of gossip and just a few people in an inner circle in the know, "' ("Cry of Tamar," p. 141, and also "Soul Stealing," p. 199).
10. As with rape, any minister's sexual or romantic involvement with a parishioner or member of his/her religious community is not primarily a matter of sex or sexuality but of power and control. For this reason, in my writings and training lectures, I have called it pastoral sexual "abuse" rather than a private matter of sexual activity between consenting adults. Even when adultery is involved, as it was with minister Levin, unfaithfulness is not the primary issue. I have found that a majority of ministers who enter into romantic or sexual relationships with their followers do so primarily because there is an imbalance of power between them at the onset, and and heighten the intensity of that power dynamic, and because they need to reinforce and heighten the intensity of that power dynamic.
11. This need is driven by internal forces and is reinforced by societal conditioned expectations that women will function as a nurturing, sexual servant class to support men's external achievement. This notion of sexual "service," while implicit in many main mainline church cases of sexual misconduct, was made quite explicit in the Ananda Church, as described in some of the supporting declarations (e.g., Denise Peterson and Kamala Willey).
12. Probably the most important factor in this case is that there can be no authentic consent in any
relationship between a minister and his parishioners/followers, because the relationship has by definition such unequal power. No matter how egalitarian a Pastor's style of ministry, he carries an authority as pastor that cannot be set aside. When that minister is a man, as in the vast majority of documented cases, the power imbalance is tipped by societal reinforcement in the male minister's direction, particularly the role conferred in general on men as the providers, "heads of household," and protectors. But the ministerial role also carries a great deal of power in and of itself, and one of the most insidious aspects of that power is the role of "man of God." Even in mainline church denominations, the minister carries ultimate spiritual authority in some sense, particularly in the eyes of a trusting parishioner who looks to him for spiritual guidance and support.
13. In the case of the Ananda Church, this dynamic was heightened even further by the cult-like demands for community conformity, loyalty and devotion to the leader, justified by references to the obedience to the Swami in Hindu tradition together with veiled threats of retaliation, abandonment or ostracism if followers questioned questioned Kriyananda's authority. By taking the title "Swami, and by linking himself as the spiritual successor to the famous Hindu, Paramahansa Yogananda and claiming to be Yogananda's psychic "channel" from beyond the grave, Walters/Kriyananda elevated himself to the position of ultimate spiritual authority very close to being an incarnation of God Himself. Additional layers of authority were added in the case of both Levin and and Kriyananda: spiritual teacher and mentor, which sets up a dynamic of criticism and correction "for her own good," a form of psychological abuse; employer and Supervisor, carrying economic and financial power over the victim; and spiritual counselor, with all the clinical "transference" of power, trust and authority inherent in any any counseling relationship.
14. The parallels to incest within the church "family" are also striking in this case, particularly because of of the age difference between Kriyananda and Ms. Bertolucci and the other victims. Kriyananda was even viewed by many of the women as as their spiritual father (e.g., Kamala Willey, Deborah Deborah Donie-Seligson) making the incest dynamic, with all its attending psychological destructiveness, even more explicit.
15. Even If Ms. Bertolucci and the other women had initiated the sexual contact, which they did not, there could have been no authentic consent on their parts. The sexual boundary in any ministerial relationship is an absolute professional ethical obligation, and it is the professional duty of any minister according to the widely accepted standard of care never to initiate a sexual or romantic relationship, nor even to permit sexual activity initiated by a member of his/her religious community. It is clear, furthermore, that in the case of Ms. Bertolucci, the sexual activity was initiated by the ministers, and that Ms. Bertolucci on numerous occasions said "no." and/or attempted to end the sexual relationship after specific incidents of sexual contact.
16. There is a clear and typical pattern in Ms. Bertolucci's case, found in most cases of pastoral sexual misconduct that I am familiar with, in which the ministers (1) created a bogus climate of safety, trust (in the case of Ananda Church, absolute trust), and promises of of spiritual and personal growth and enhancement of well-being; (2) singled out women to perform perform sexual services for them, in a pattern of sexually predatory behavior; (3) when confronted, threatened the victim with exposure and shaming in the community, and (4) consistently used the rationale of 'blaming the victim" turning the responsibility for the sexual behavior back on her and confusing her with their insistence that she was at least consenting, and, further, was seductive, or even initiating the sexual activity herself.
17. This pattern of blaming the victim is similar to the dynamic in which rape survivors usually feel that they are the ones who are on trial. It is a very common pattern in cases of pastoral sexual misconduct, reinforced by myths and stereotypes portraying all male pastors as innocent sitting ducks for the seductive wiles of female parishioners. The woman parishioner carries brand as the instigator of all sexual entanglements, still a prevalent theme in today's pastoral professional literature. This is reinforced by a long documented tradition of romantic fiction portraying the virile but innocent pastor being preyed upon by sex-starved divorcees and overbearing wives.
18. There is no profile of women predisposed to pastoral sexual abuse. However, there are some generally learned susceptibilities that incline women to overlook, forgive, and tolerate a pastor's sexual exploitation, as well as some specific vulnerabilities relating to life issues: (l) socialization to be polite, non-confrontational, accepting of men's behavior; (2) training and desire to heal men's wounds-offending ministers often present themselves to women as needing their special love and healing; (3) submissiveness as a religious value; (4) self-identity defined for women by society as primarily primarily sexual in function. Particular life situations can add to a a woman's vulnerability, and many clergy perpetrators have an uncanny knack-some women women call it almost telepathic in intensity-for zeroing in on women with these these vulnerabilities (partly because they have access to intimate details shared with them in their capacity as spiritual counselors: (l) divorce, marital conflict, or abuse; (2) a husband who shows indifference or is frequently absent-the minister's interest in her as a person can be extremely affirming; (3) a time of career confusion, (4) particular power differentials such as a large age difference, or a high reputation in the spiritual community. The systematic separation and isolation of Ms. Bertolucci from her husband by the Ananda community and promising her a more fulfilling, safe and spiritual environment not only created but heightened conditions of vulnerability for Ms. Bertolucci, 19. Evidence presented in the declarations of several of Kriyananda's victims and other material documents also place Kriyananda clearly within the profile of clergy sex offenders, and in fact, places him on the most destructive, predatory end of the spectrum, that of the multiple repeat offender who deliberately seeks vulnerable women to exploit exploit for for his own sexual gratification.
Based on a review of all the supporting declarations, there is strong evidence that that Kriyananda is a pattern offender with a systematic method for exploiting women victims, including the following
predictable sequence of events: (1) requests for massage framed in terms of being a privilege and a sacred service; (2) justification of sexual contact in spiritualized terms using the the authority of his ministerial office to back up such claims. (3) response to confrontation by victim's, by blaming the women for using seduction and initiating/consenting to the sexual contact, and finally (4) threatening ostracism, ejection from the community (including any employment), public shaming, and being considered a failure as a spiritual spiritual disciple
20. In my previous writings on the profile of clergy sex abusers, I have identified narcissism as the key psychological factor ("The Cry of Tamar", PP. 1 35-38). Most at risk, and most destructive, are ministers who tend to conceal insecurities and cravings for attention under under a behavioral style of specialness- a style often condoned and even reinforced by the ministerial role. The pattern of narcissism includes a sense of entitlement, regarding his wants as needs and rights; feeling above the law or feeling entitled to establish and live by his own rules; and an inability to feel empathy, resulting in an absence of conscience. Because manipulation and the projection of a star image are common to narcissistically wounded people, empathy and conscience are often convincingly feigned. But at the core of the person is over whelming despair, emptiness and fear.
For this reason, the narcissistic minister' s personal craving for recognition combines explosively with the power of the role and a social climate of masculine privilege. Both Kriyananda and Levin in this way abused their ministerial authority in the service of their own personal and sexual gratification. in the Ananda Community, Kriyananda's cultivation of a star status, linking himself with Yogananda as a spiritual heir, and holding himself out as a holy man and a direct channel to God, both created and
maintained the conditions for the repeated exploitative gratification of his narcissistic cravings for attention, sexual pleasure, and absolute power.
21. The overall dynamic of power and coercion seen in this case also fit the definition of brainwashing developed for Amnesty International in 1973 Researcher Biderman outlines 8 methods in his "Chart of Coercion," ("Report on Torture," Amnesty International, 1973):
A. Isolation - depriving victim of all social support for the ability to resist, and an intense concern for the perpetrator. Examples of this in the Ananda case include the isolation of Ms. Bertolucci from her husband, (a pattern of isolating potential victims from their support networks, also seen in some of the supporting declarations); Levin's taking Ms. Bertolucci to a remote wooded area and taking advantage of her when she was alone and vulnerable to his advances; the apparent isolation of Ms. Bertolucci from any women counselors who might have supported her in confronting the authorities; and setting Ms. Bertolucci up in the "seclusion retreat".
B. "Monopolization of perception" - fixing attention upon the victim' s immediate predicament, fostering introspection, eliminating stimuli competing with those controlled by the captor, (often by focusing victim's attention on serving the perpetrator's needs and interests as primary). Example: victims being told that serving Kriyananda was their highest spiritual duty.
C. Induced debility and exhaustion weakening mental and physical ability to resist. A striking example: the situation in January, 1993, when Ms. Bertolucci developed carpal tunnel syndrome due to overwork, and was told in response to her complaints of fatigue and pain that she was not channeling God's energy correctly-resulting in further physical strain, pain and fatigue.
D. Threats-cultivating anxiety and despair: Ms. Bertolucci, as well as other victims in their supporting declarations, were threatened with ostracism and retaliation (including financial retaliation), exposure and shaming before the community, and Levin's comment that he could have "raped" her also carried an implicit threat of violence.
E. Occasional indulgences - providing positive motivation for compliance. Examples: victims were told how special they were to be singled out for Kriyananda's attention; initially finding employment for Ms. Bertolucci, (similar to the case of Kamala Willey?s being given special housing arrangements), and admission to Kriyananda's inner circle, also constituted the establishment of special privileges.
F. Demonstrating "omnipotence" suggesting futility of resistance. Example: Levin's working out with Ms. Bertolucci is a typical strategy used by offenders to show off their physical prowess, which also carries the veiled threat of violence should the victim attempt to resist.
G. Degradation - making cost of resistance appear more damaging to self esteem than capitulation, and reducing prisoner to survival level concerns. This was clear in the ministers pattern of turning the blame back on the victim, removing her only source of income in retaliation and threatening personal reprisals by the community.
H. Enforcing trivial demands developing habit of compliance. This was a clear and consistent part of the pattern of service, heightened in intensity by the implication that even the most menial service constituted serving God.
22. The personal and spiritual damages in such a case of ministerial sexual abuse most commonly fall in the category of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder ("PTSD"), including emotional, cognitive, and physical sequelae. Ms. Bertolucci suffers from panic attacks and chronic depression, frequently associated with PTSD. Other symptoms experienced by Ms. Bertolucci fit the current Diagnostic and Statistical Manual ("DSM-IV") used by therapists for diagnosis, including: recurrent and intrusive distressing recollections of the traumatic events, recurrent distressing dreams of the events, intense psychological distress occurring when the person is exposed to triggering events that resemble or symbolize an aspect of the traumatic event, avoidance of activities, difficulty concentrating, self-destructive behavior, somatic complaints (i.e, the chronic fatigue experienced as the sexual abuse by Levin and Kriyananda went on; the stress-induced stomach pain), feelings of ineffectiveness, shame, despair, or hopelessness; feeling permanently damaged; a loss of previously sustained beliefs; social withdrawal; feeling constantly threatened; impaired relationships; a change from the individual's previous personality characteristics.
23. As I have written elsewhere, the damages in such cases are numerous: In the aftermath of sexual
abuse by a minister, victims typically experience post-traumatic fear, grief, guilt, shame, and rage, similar to that of rape and incest survivors, as well as an ongoing sense of spiritual as well as physical and emotional threat to their well being. In the ideal, the pastoral relationship can and should be a sacred trust, a conventional place of safety and nurture where a parishioner can come with the deepest wounds for healing. The harm when this is exploited is no less than a violation of sacred space, which further ruptures and destroys the woman's boundaries, devastating her sense of self and her mental health.
24. In their authority role, ministers have an opportunity to be role models of appropriate uses of power and authority. The harm done by sexual relationships, with all the clandestine qualities attached, is to reinforce a traditional power-over dynamic and to breed a closed, destructively hierarchical community model. Such a community dynamic personally reinforces the victim's socialization to lesser power and meaning, while it more generally erodes the confidence and leadership of the entire community-sacrificing the good of individual women and also the larger community for the grandiose needs for power and recognition of the minister.
25. When a minister focuses on the woman's sexuality, her other gifts and competencies begin to be
devalued. Frequently the very talents that attracted him to her in the first place become discounted and criticized by him once the sexual relationship begins. When a minister violates a parishioner's or follower's boundaries, he is stealing from her the appropriate, powerful and sustaining relationship of spiritual guidance and support that the religious community as a whole has represented to her. Particularly because of the threats to her own reputation, he is robbing her of an important arena for her creativity and contributions, although he will frequently encourage and exploit these for his own ends while he can.
Many women, including Ms. Bertolucci, report that in the aftermath of this abuse they not only lost their own spiritual community but their trust was so violated that they felt that they could not go back to church any where.
26. Finally, because of the spiritual nature of the violation, there is a special feeling of being trapped and a particular level of fear associated with ministerial sexual abuse. Even when a determination to think about leaving has taken hold of the victim, it is fear that may keep her stuck : fear that no one will believe her side when it's her word against his; fear that she will be the one held responsible; fear of losing her attachment to that church, as well as sometimes the community in which she lives, her personal reputation, and if she is employed there, her own professional reputation; and even fear of his retaliation, sometimes within the sphere of personal and church life, but also sometimes there have been known to be instances of physical violence, rape, or threats of violence in such cases.
27. Perhaps the most chilling and most unique to pastoral sexual abuse is the fear of violation or retaliation on the spiritual level. This became increasingly clear to me in work with the survivors' group I led in Berkeley. It is difficult for a non-survivor to comprehend the sheer terror that accompanies this form of abuse. But often because of the image of charismatic spiritual power that these men have asserted and fostered, there can be a terror akin actually to being cursed or damned. Sometimes this kind of threat is almost made explicitly by the abuser, treading dangerously close to the realm of ritualistic abuse. Such power is experienced by victims as demonic in nature and intensity-victims fear that their very souls will be stolen.
28. All of these damages, typical in cases of pastoral sexual abuse, are evident in Ms. Bertolucci's case, and in fact, the intensity of the damage is heightened beyond even typical mainline church cases because of the cult-like coercive dynamic of the Ananda community, and the absolute spiritual and executive authority of Swami Kriyananda.
SIGNED under the penalties of perjury under the laws of the State of California on January 8, 1996 that the foregoing is true and correct.
the rev. Pamela Cooper White