June 5, 2016 Comments Off on ‘Holy Hell’: How One Man Documented 22 Years Inside a Sadistic Cult
‘Holy Hell’: How One Man Documented 22 Years Inside a Sadistic Cult
Former cult member’s documentary details over two decades of mind games and torture inside an L.A. cult
By Jason Newman May 27, 2016
He was grooming me. I didn’t see it then, but it’s so obvious now. I wanted a mentor; a teacher. When I got around him more, that’s when I was like, ‘Oh my God, he’s an asshole.'” For 22 years, Will Allen immersed himself 24/7 in Buddhafield, a Los Angeles cult with hundreds of members and a narcissistic, sociopathic leader named Michel Rostand. The group would live, work and meditate together, banishing all ties to their family in the hope of finding greater enlightenment. Their spiritual guru would, in turn, psychologically torture and brainwash his disciples on a daily basis….
His insider document of two decades of life inside the cult, entitled Holy Hell, combines home movies and official footage from these years alongside new interviews with former members detailing the sadistic, predatory nature that lay behind their leader’s ostensibly gentle, omnipotent façade. Buddhafield’s service-oriented, off-the-grid approach to attaining peace and harmony — “It was our little utopia in the middle of this big giant city,” says one former member in the film — disguised its leader’s iniquities, ranging from total mind control and forced abortions to alleged widespread sexual abuse and rape. The carrot dangled to all adherents was “The Knowing,” a ritual in which Rostand would “transfer his energy” to the participant so they would truly know God.
The resulting doc, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival last January, acts as both an extreme cautionary tale and a personal exorcism. In 2012, five years after leaving the cult, Allen, like many former Buddhafield members, was still suffering from PTSD and trying to move on….
It’s easy to see how Buddhafield members got initially sucked in by Rostand’s charisma; even the ones who now hate him describe him at first glance as “ethereal,” “magical,” “otherworldly” and “beautiful.” “I was floating walking home,” admits Vera Chieffo, who left the cult in 2009 after 27 years. “But he was also friggin’ weird.” The man known mainly as “The Teacher” would parade around the compound in speedos and Ray-Bans, demanding his disciples to be in peak physical and mental health through rigorous exercise, meditation and abstinence from sex, alcohol, drugs, caffeine and red meat.
But while he was outwardly preaching asceticism, Rostand would prey on young men like Allen, “promoting” the filmmaker to be his personal driver and masseuse before allegedly sexually abusing him and other members on multiple occasions. “Some of them are still figuring it out that it was rape because it didn’t seem like that,” Phillipe Coquet, who spent 24 years with Buddhafield, says. (Rostand has not been charged or arrested in connection with the abuses.) Members would often receive mixed messages, with their leader often noting, for example, the joys of sex before immediately rebuking it as “simple” and unhealthy….
Expert on Ritual Murders About the Triple Homicide in the Florida Panhandle, Santeria priest claims sexual assault was part of healing ritual, Child abuse scandal in Pakistan
August 11, 2015 Comments Off on Expert on Ritual Murders About the Triple Homicide in the Florida Panhandle, Santeria priest claims sexual assault was part of healing ritual, Child abuse scandal in Pakistan
– We Asked an Expert on Ritual Murders About the Triple Homicide in the Florida
– Santeria priest claims sexual assault was part of healing ritual, police say
– Child abuse scandal shocks Pakistan, families angry at police
We Asked an Expert on Ritual Murders About the Triple Homicide in the Florida Panhandle August 6, 2015 By Allie Conti Staff Writer
This week, people across the country have been freaking out about a crime story that sounds like it came straight out of the good season of True Detective. A sheriff in Florida’s Panhandle, which is also known as the Redneck Riviera and characterized by conservatism and religiosity, announced at a press conference that a ritualistic triple-murder took place in Pensacola last week….
But is it possible that we should be taking the allegedly ritualistic part of this tragedy more seriously? Dawn Perlmutter, an expert on ritual killings and former director of the Institute for the Research of Organized and Ritual Violence, says her phone has been blowing up since the news of the murders broke. (I managed to catch her 20 minutes before she took the stage at the International Association for Identification Crime Scene Conference, where she was giving a lecture on—you guessed it—ritual murders.) Apparently, these kinds of crimes are more prevalent than people might think. “I’ve worked on cases in Ohio, and Florida, and New York,” Perlmutter said. “They’re international, and not specific to either rural places or cities. They can happen everywhere.”….
VICE: Hey Dawn. First off, what makes something a ritual murder?
Dawn Perlmutter: What distinguishes a ritualistic killing from a standard homicide is that it goes beyond what’s necessary just to kill someone. There’s overkill or mutilation. But even more than that, it’s usually some kind of symbolic evidence. For example, symbols carved into the body, there can be symbols painted on the floor, it can be the positioning of the body, the staging. These are your pretty standard signs. They tend to be multiple homicides also. And then you get into other types of things, like significance of dates, or significance of holidays specific to different ideologies….
People seem very riled up by this—understandably. But how common is ritual murder?
I’ve worked on dozens of ritual murders and testified on them. In terms of statistics, I don’t think they’re as common as bank robberies, but they’re certainly more common than serial killing. They occur. They definitely occur. A lot of people don’t believe that they happen, but I just testified in two cases in LA, one last month, that was a ritual killing by a couple. And one was by a young Satanist in LA who murdered his mother. In both of those cases, there was severe mutilation and positioning of the bodies, so there was no doubt they were ritual murders.
What’s the most interesting case you’ve worked on?
I don’t know if interesting is the right term. One of the cases that was very disturbing to me was one in Toledo, Ohio, that involved a priest who ritually killed a nun in the sacristy of the chapel on Easter Saturday. It was a 25-year-old cold case, so it was nice that we could still solve it, and he was convicted. But that was disturbing because so many victims came out saying that had been done, and it was actually horrifying in a number of ways that it had gone on for so long….
Santeria priest claims sexual assault was part of healing ritual, police say
By Veronica Rocha August 6, 2015
A Santeria priest has been accused of sexually assaulting a girl during what he claimed were healing rituals, Montebello police said Thursday.
Police are trying to find Pablo Pinto Mata, 46 — known as a “Santero,” or priest — who often performed healing rituals at his business, Los Angeles Import, in the 2400 block of Whittier Boulevard in Montebello, police said.
But police said his so-called healing rituals were a ploy used to assault a teenager….
In 2013, Mata performed three healing rituals on a 16-year-old girl, police said. During those incidents, the girl had to disrobe. The third time, Mata forced the girl to disrobe and he sexually assaulted her, police said.
Mata told her the assault was part of a ritual common in Santeria, a faith of the Caribbean.
Police think there may be other victims who were sexually assaulted….
Priest of Caribbean Santeria religion ‘used HEALING ritual as cover to sexually abuse 16-year-old girl’
Pablo Pinto Mata, 46, is accused of sex attack against girl in 2013
Allegedly used three-part ritual to dupe her into undressing for attack
Mata has business linked to Santeria in Montebello, California
The faith has roots in Africa and incorporates elements of Catholicism
By Kieran Corcoran For Dailymail.com 7 August 2015
Child abuse scandal shocks Pakistan, families angry at police
HUSAIN KHAN WALA, Pakistan By Mehreen Zahra-Malik and Mubasher Bukhari Mon Aug 10, 2015
Parents at the center of a growing child abuse scandal in Pakistan accused police on Monday of failing to do enough to break up a pedophile ring in Punjab province, the prime minister’s political heartland.
Villagers in the central Punjabi village of Husain Khan Wala told Reuters that a prominent family there has for years forced children to perform sex acts on video. The footage was sold or used to blackmail their impoverished families.
Rubina Bibi says her 13-year-old son was a victim, but when she tried to file a report at the Ganda Singh Wala police station a month and a half ago, “the police station clerk told me to get lost and I was thrown out”.
“My son is in the videos, he is a victim,” she said. “Our children were forced into this. They were humiliated. But the police are treating them like criminals.”
Another mother, Shakila Bibi, said: “I went to the police station to file a complaint, but instead of registering a (report), they took my son into custody.”
Her 15-year-old son is still in jail, she said….
Lawyer Latif Sra, representing some of the victims, said: “I have personally met hundreds of parents who have not yet come forward to file official complaints, either out of fear or shame.”
Police have arrested seven suspects, but downplayed the scale of the abuse, suggesting a land dispute may have sparked accusations.
“It’s a very murky situation,” said Babar. He added that seven cases involving 11 children had been registered.
Activist Mobeen Ghaznavi said he had 130 video clips containing abuse.
“People are afraid. They are being threatened and intimidated,” he said.
Suraiya Bibi said the abusers threatened her family when she complained to police….
Woman Says Dennis Hastert Abused Her Brother, Paying to Hide ‘Misconduct’, Catholic Archdiocese in Minnesota Charged Over Sex Abuse by Priest, Ex-PSU student sues school over fraternity allegations
June 9, 2015 Comments Off on Woman Says Dennis Hastert Abused Her Brother, Paying to Hide ‘Misconduct’, Catholic Archdiocese in Minnesota Charged Over Sex Abuse by Priest, Ex-PSU student sues school over fraternity allegations
– Woman Says Dennis Hastert Abused Her Brother in High School
– Hastert Case Is Said to Be Linked to Decades-Old Sexual Abuse
– U.S. Accuses Ex-House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert of Paying to Hide ‘Misconduct’
– Catholic Archdiocese in Minnesota Charged Over Sex Abuse by Priest
– Ex-PSU student sues school over fraternity allegations
Woman Says Dennis Hastert Abused Her Brother in High School
By JULIE BOSMAN and DAVE PHILIPPS JUNE 5, 2015
YORKVILLE, Ill. — As an enthusiastic young teacher and wrestling coach at the high school here, former House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert reliably had one student at his side, former classmates say. Stephen Reinboldt, a smart, slender, likable student who rose to become class president, was the wrestling team’s equipment manager. For four years, he arrived at practice early and stayed late, traveled with Mr. Hastert to overnight tournaments, even when only one wrestler was competing, and went for long rides in the coach’s sports car, sometimes driving it.
On Friday, Mr. Reinboldt’s younger sister, Jolene Burdge, said her brother, who died in 1995, was also sexually abused by Mr. Hastert, but hid the fact for years because he thought no one would believe him.
“Mr. Hastert had plenty of opportunities to be alone with Steve because he was there before the meets,” Ms. Burdge said on ABC’s “Good Morning America.” “He was there after everything because he did the laundry, the uniforms.”
The allegation comes a week after Mr. Hastert, who served for eight years as House speaker, was indicted on charges of making cash withdrawals, totaling $1.7 million, to evade detection by the authorities and lying to investigators.
Two people briefed on the F.B.I. investigation told The New York Times that Mr. Hastert was using the money to pay a former student hundreds of thousands of dollars to hide the fact that Mr. Hastert sexually abused him decades ago….
Ms. Burdge said she tried for years to get news organizations, including ABC News, and advocacy groups to pursue the story. She began in 2006 after it was revealed that Mr. Hastert had covered up claims that Representative Mark Foley, a Florida Republican, had sent sexually explicit emails to congressional pages.
She said she had given up on exposing Mr. Hastert. Then, two weeks ago, just before Mr. Hastert was indicted, she was contacted by the F.B.I….
Hastert Case Is Said to Be Linked to Decades-Old Sexual Abuse
By MICHAEL D. SHEAR and MICHAEL S. SCHMIDT MAY 29, 2015
WASHINGTON — J. Dennis Hastert, who served for eight years as speaker of the House of Representatives, was paying a former student hundreds of thousands of dollars to not say publicly that Mr. Hastert had sexually abused him decades ago, according to two people briefed on the evidence uncovered in an F.B.I. investigation.
Federal prosecutors on Thursday announced the indictment of Mr. Hastert, 73, on allegations that he made cash withdrawals, totaling $1.7 million, to evade detection by banks. The federal authorities also charged him with lying to them about the purpose of the withdrawals.
The former student — who was not identified in court papers — told the F.B.I. that he had been inappropriately touched by Mr. Hastert when the former speaker was a high school teacher and wrestling coach, the two people said Friday. The people briefed on the investigation spoke on the condition of anonymity because they did not want to be identified discussing a federal investigation.
It was not clear when the suspected behavior, which was first reported by The Los Angeles Times, occurred. Mr. Hastert was a high school teacher and coach in Yorkville, Ill., from 1965 to 1981, and the indictment said the recipient of the payments was from Yorkville and had known Mr. Hastert for decades….
U.S. Accuses Ex-House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert of Paying to Hide ‘Misconduct’
By MONICA DAVEY MAY 28, 2015
CHICAGO — J. Dennis Hastert, the former speaker of the House of Representatives, has been charged with lying to the F.B.I. and making cash withdrawals from banks in a way that was designed to hide that he was paying $3.5 million to someone for his “misconduct” from years ago, a federal indictment released on Thursday said.
Mr. Hastert, 73, the longest-serving Republican speaker, had worked as a lobbyist since leaving office. The indictment, announced by the United States attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, said Mr. Hastert, who was once a high school teacher and wrestling coach in Yorkville, Ill., had so far paid $1.7 million to the person, who had lived in Yorkville and had known Mr. Hastert for most of his or her life. Mr. Hastert worked in Yorkville from 1965 to 1981.
In 2010, during meetings between Mr. Hastert and the unnamed individual, the two discussed “past misconduct” by Mr. Hastert against the person, according to the indictment….
Catholic Archdiocese in Minnesota Charged Over Sex Abuse by Priest
By MITCH SMITH JUNE 5, 2015
CHICAGO — Prosecutors in Minnesota filed criminal charges on Friday against the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, accusing church leaders of mishandling repeated complaints of sexual misconduct against a priest and failing to follow through on pledges to protect children and root out pedophile clergymen.
The charges and accompanying civil petition, announced by the Ramsey County prosecutor, John J. Choi, stem from accusations by three male victims who say that from 2008 to 2010, when they were under age, a local priest, Curtis Wehmeyer, gave them alcohol and drugs before sexually assaulting them.
The criminal case amounts to a sweeping condemnation of the archdiocese and how its leaders have handled the abuse allegations — even after reforms were put in place by church leaders to increase accountability — and the charges are among the most severe actions taken by American authorities against a Catholic diocese.
“Today, we are alleging a disturbing institutional and systemic pattern of behavior committed by the highest levels of leadership of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis over the course of decades,” Mr. Choi said in a statement….
The charging documents also say that archdiocese officials knew that Mr. Wehmeyer used a boys’ bathroom at a parish elementary school instead of the staff restroom; tried to give an elementary-age boy a tour of the rectory in violation of policy; and took camping trips with boys where some of the sexual abuse was said to have occurred.
The archdiocese placed Mr. Wehmeyer in a monitoring program for priests facing complaints of abuse or other problems, but prosecutors said in court documents that the supervision and follow-through was “lax or nonexistent.”….
An Ohio judge in 2003 convicted the Archdiocese of Cincinnati of failing to report sexually abusive priests in the 1970s and ’80s. The judge fined the archdiocese $10,000, the maximum allowed, after the archbishop entered a no-contest plea….
describes graphic situations
Ex-PSU student sues school over fraternity allegations
Susan Snyder, Inquirer Staff Writer Monday, June 8, 2015
James Vivenzio says he thought pledging a fraternity at Pennsylvania State University would mean brotherhood and honor.
Instead, the 21-year-old from Great Falls, Va., says, he was force-fed buckets of liquor mixed with urine, vomit, and hot sauce; made to guzzle hard alcohol until he vomited; burned on the chest with a cigarette; and once was beaten by a member of Kappa Delta Rho after he failed to participate in a ritual.
And the university, he contends in a lawsuit filed Monday in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court, failed to act after he reported the abuse more than a year ago, including his telling the school about the existence of private Facebook pages fraternity members allegedly used to post revealing photos of females who may have been aware they were being photographed.
“It is not an understatement to say that I was afraid somebody could die unless the abuse, the Facebook . . . and all that was going on, were shut down permanently,” Vivenzio said Monday, reading from a statement at a news conference in his lawyer’s office in Center City. “I’m no hero and I’m certainly no martyr.”
The filing came the same day that Kappa Delta Rho’s national office announced it had expelled 38 of the 100 or so members of its Penn State chapter and put the rest on alumni status. Penn State last month suspended the chapter for three years after a university investigation found evidence of hazing, underage drinking, and sexual harassment.
The lawsuit seeks compensatory and punitive damages and names the university, the fraternity, and the fraternity’s national office as defendants….
Police ‘covered up child sex abuse by actors and priests’, Documentary reveals how Scientology ‘controls’ John Travolta and Tom Cruise, Alfio Granata: Ice addiction
March 31, 2015 Comments Off on Police ‘covered up child sex abuse by actors and priests’, Documentary reveals how Scientology ‘controls’ John Travolta and Tom Cruise, Alfio Granata: Ice addiction
– Police ‘covered up child sex abuse by actors and priests’
– Documentary reveals how Scientology ‘controls’ John Travolta and Tom Cruise
– Alfio Granata: Ice addiction led man to rape and beat Dutch tourist, court told
Police ‘covered up child sex abuse by actors and priests’
John Simpson March 29 2015
Actors, priests, judges and entertainers have been implicated in the latest allegations that Scotland Yard covered up establishment child sex abuse, the police watchdog has confirmed.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has begun three more investigations into claims of corruption in the Metropolitan Police’s investigations into alleged paedophile rings involving prominent figures spanning 35 years.
The new investigations mean that there are now 17 inquiries into allegations that senior officers “hindered or halted” investigations and surveillance operations, suppressed evidence and ordered detectives to limit their inquiries when police officers, politicians or famous people were implicated.
Documentary reveals how Scientology ‘controls’ John Travolta and Tom Cruise
March 31, 2015
Scientology exposed … HBO documentary Going Clear delivers some explosive details about
HEAVILY lawyered US network HBO aired its highly anticipated Scientology documentary overnight, and with it some startling allegations about the organisation and its two most famous members.
Directed by Academy Award winner Alex Gibney, the film, Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief, is based on a book-length expose by Lawrence Wright and shares the stories of those who escaped the religion, including high-ranking officials.
Detailing claims of psychological and physical abuse, former members share horrific and fascinating accounts of their time in the church — particularly about how its leader, David Miscavige, relies on stars like Tom Cruise and John Travolta to recruit and raise money, and how he keeps them on board.
The Church of Scientology is worth billions but, as it operates as a non-profit religious organisation, is exempt from taxation.
In the film, Wright says there are two ways the fast-growing organisation could be stopped; the first is a financial crackdown by the IRS, and the second is a high-profile backlash, which is even less likely….
According to the MailOnline’s review, the film claims Scientologists hold a “blackmail file” on Cruise and fellow Scientologist John Travolta, to stop them leaving the faith….
The claims have been disputed by the church, with Gibney outlining in the film their insistence that Scientology has no control over Cruise….
The organisation claims Gibney and Wright, and the network, intentionally covered up facts, and labelled the director a “propaganda filmmaker with an agenda”….
Alfio Granata: Ice addiction led man to rape and beat Dutch tourist, court told 30 March 2015
A man’s ice addiction led him to violently rape and beat a Dutch tourist he had taken hostage during a six-week ordeal at a Melbourne hotel, a court hears.
Alfio Granata has pleaded guilty to 14 charges over the incident at a Preston Hotel.
A man’s ice addiction led him to violently rape and beat a Dutch tourist he had taken hostage during a six-week ordeal at a Melbourne hotel, a court has been told.
Alfio Granata, 47, has pleaded guilty to 14 charges, including multiple rapes, threats to kill, and intentionally causing serious injury.
The victim was left with 54 separate injuries after she was repeatedly beaten unconscious, violently raped and cut with a knife….
Prosecutor Nanette Rogers said Granata claimed he was possessed by the devil and the spirit of his dead grandfather.
Dr Rogers told the court on one occasion Granata put the victim’s nail cuttings, hair and blood in an envelope as part of a supposed ritual to destroy her soul….