3HO_logo_lotus_small (1).png
3HOEurope.jpg
sss-corp-emblem_1.jpg
krilogo.jpg
sdi-logo.jpg

 

Statements from Our Response Team

June 2, 2020

Sat Nam Dear Members of our 3HO, Sikh Dharma, and KRI Community,

 

An Olive Branch is working hard to complete its investigation of alleged misconduct by Yogi Bhajan and to present a report to the Siri Singh Sahib Corporation (SSSC) by the end of June or, more likely, in July. It has been contacted by close to 300 people who have shared information about the allegations, performed nearly 100 interviews with people both supporting and refuting the allegations, and evaluated available facts and viewpoints regarding motive and consistency of statements made. In this difficult time for our community, we will continue to provide you with clear and accurate information about the investigation and address concerns that have been raised about the process.

We would like to share with you some information important to the current dialogue occurring within our community:

Addressing the allegations of misconduct by Yogi Bhajan openly and honestly is critical. As a spiritual community that teaches and connects with thousands of people all over the world, we are committed to truth and righteous action, and secrecy and covering up serious issues raised about the history of our leadership is not in alignment with our principles. It is our duty to maintain the trust that people have in our organizations and the teachings that have been built up over decades. Therefore, we are dealing with these allegations by having them investigated independently. By adopting such an approach, without bias or limitation, and releasing a complete report of the findings, all those whose lives have been enriched by the teachings can learn about all the reported information surrounding the issues and can consider for themselves the conclusions reached by a neutral fact-finder. 

All efforts are being made to ensure that Yogi Bhajan is defended in the investigation directly by his students who knew him well. Concerns have been expressed that Yogi Bhajan has not been adequately represented because he is deceased and therefore cannot defend himself. All efforts have been made through the investigative process to ensure that his voice is heard through his students and family. At least 120 people have reported to An Olive Branch on Yogi Bhajan’s behalf. To date, An Olive Branch has conducted more than 50 interviews specifically to explore his defense. In addition, An Olive Branch has received and reviewed numerous written statements in support of Yogi Bhajan, and those statements have been studied and made part of the record. Information about the motivations and factual consistency of the allegations has been provided to and assessed by the investigators through questioning, fact-finding and analysis.  

The Collaborative Response Team (CRT) provided An Olive Branch with the names of over 100 individuals to be interviewed over the course of the investigation. These were people who spent extensive time in close proximity with Yogi Bhajan and were therefore likely to have information about the circumstances surrounding the allegations. This list includes anyone named in any allegation as well as those in his family, household, staff and personal environment. To our knowledge, anyone from this list who agreed to participate has been questioned about the veracity of claims made and circumstances described. The investigators want to get to the truth of what happened and are doing everything possible to accomplish that goal. 

All reporters of harm are required to identify themselves to An Olive Branch, and their identities have been confirmed through various methods. Anonymous allegations are not being accepted in this investigation. However, to make people feel safe in coming forward and to protect those who are reporting harm from direct public attack, the identity of reporters, while known to An Olive Branch, will not be released to the public. Should a reporter choose to make their identity public, now or in the future, that is their choice alone. 

As stated in a previous letter and in our FAQ, the reporters of alleged harm by Yogi Bhajan are “members of his staff, secretaries and other women who were close to him” at some time over a period spanning more than 30 years. Several reporters have made their statements publicly, which are available for anyone to review. Anyone who had comments on the motives or credibility of this group of reporters have been encouraged, over the past 60 days, to provide this information to An Olive Branch for consideration, and many have done so.

 

As previously stated, the path taken by the CRT is: acknowledge the allegations, investigate, act promptly, communicate often, and ensure safety of all parties. Responding to whistleblower reports and reports of harm occurs frequently within all different types of institutions today. Following this approach enables an organization to build trust and discover facts that can be shared and assessed by their constituents.  For more details about why we chose this path, please see our FAQ.

It must be understood that the practices for a criminal investigation are not applicable to our circumstances as this is not a criminal or a civil legal investigation. Testimony cannot be compelled or received under oath and documents cannot be demanded under subpoena. The purpose of this inquiry is to get at as much relevant information as possible and to communicate that information to all constituents so that they can learn what is being reported about our history and let that guide future action.

The CRT has had very little direct contact with An Olive Branch, ensuring the investigators operate independently. After the initial communication to establish the investigation, the CRT has had little communication with An Olive Branch. Interactions have been limited to receiving statistical information regarding the number of contacts received by An Olive Branch and to providing An Olive Branch with names and contact information of potential witnesses. 

An Olive Branch has had comprehensive access to social media posts about the allegations.  Since the beginning of the investigations, the CRT has reviewed a daily collection of public social media postings relevant to the matters under investigation. An Olive Branch has also been provided with social media postings that are relevant to the allegations or defenses to them. They have read and assessed them all. However, An Olive Branch is unrestricted in their approach to the inquiry and is free to follow any information trail it sees fit. No effort has been made to use deceptive tactics to obtain private social media posts, which would be considered unethical.

Based on reports received and all that we have learned, CRT has full faith in the qualifications of An Olive Branch and the quality of its work. Investigators are not mind readers and must work hard to hear and reach out to witnesses from all sides of the allegations. That work is necessary in order to find as many relevant facts as possible and assess those facts critically and analytically. An Olive Branch is doing just that in this large investigation encompassing nearly 300 reports and 100 interviews, many lengthy and extensive. 

 

Because of its experience dealing with spiritual communities facing situations like ours, An Olive Branch comes well qualified to serve the needs of this inquiry. The three investigators from An Olive Branch who are working on this project are all founding members, co-directors and certified mediators. Together, they have advised and counseled 25 organizations experiencing allegations of ethical misconduct by a spiritual leader. An Olive Branch has performed five projects for Buddhist organizations (this is relevant because those organizations have many similarities to our own). Of these five projects, two were independent investigations (similar to this one), which included interviewing students who reported harm and receiving testimony from supporters of their teacher and rebuttal witnesses. An Olive Branch is following a similar process in our investigation. Its prior work gives An Olive Branch valuable experience in investigating the difficult issues associated with sexual misconduct in a spiritual community, which has unique aspects that the corporate world does not. An Olive Branch is skilled at critical listening and probing interview tactics, while being sensitive to both those who are reporting harm and to those defending the accused. 

To all people of our communities, we affirm our strong bond of shared values and caring for each other. We understand how difficult this process is for everyone and respectfully consider every point of view and criticism being expressed. Above all, we retain confidence in our collective ability to face this challenge. Please visit the CRT website often for accurate and timely information as we seek truth and move together towards understanding and unity.

 

 

Collaborative Response Team 
ssscresponseteam.org
 

To opt in to receive CRT updates emailed to you directly, send your request to crt@ssscorp.org.

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

May 18, 2020

 

Sat Nam Dear Members of Our 3HO, Sikh Dharma and KRI Community:
 

As of May 3, the intake phase of the independent investigation into the allegations involving Yogi Bhajan have concluded. During these next weeks, An Olive Branch will continue interviewing those who have contacted them and will go through the process of analyzing and processing the data they have received.  

 

As we wait for the results of the investigation from An Olive Branch, we want to share details with you about the established principles guiding the steps we’ve taken to respond to the allegations of sexual misconduct. This clarification may be helpful in understanding the path we are taking. 

In January 2020, a former secretary of Yogi Bhajan published a book detailing her experiences with him, including a sexual relationship. Shortly afterward, a number of serious allegations of sexual misconduct were reported by other women, including former staff members, on social media and through other communications. These allegations created a great deal of concern throughout our entire community. As nonprofit and religious organizations with a commitment to acting with integrity, and out of our respect for all members of our community, it was necessary to address the allegations appropriately and formally. 

The teachings of our community guide us to strive for righteous action, to treat everyone with respect, compassion, and kindness, and to support the highest ethical standards. We are committed to living up to those principles and to strengthening our organization’s ability to meet our commitment to these values and each other. 

Allegations of sexual misconduct can create a crisis for any organization, and experts from spiritual, religious, government and private organizations all over the world have developed principles and procedures for responding to allegations of this nature. These validated approaches mirror our community’s values and spiritual teachings, and we have moved forward using them as guiding principles. 

  • ·Acknowledge the allegations. We have acknowledged the allegations publicly and have worked to ensure confidentiality and a safe and respectful process for all parties.

  • Arrange for a person or team to lead the organization through the situation. The Siri Singh Sahib Corporation formed a Collaborative Response Team (CRT) of six representatives of the nonprofit and for-profit organizations to provide a time-sensitive response to the crisis.

  • Act promptly and develop a process to respond to the allegations. The CRT meets multiple times a week to assess the situation and respond quickly to changing circumstances.

  • Be transparent and communicate often with all stakeholders. In addition to individual and email communications, we launched a website to provide transparency and serve as a central point of communication to everyone. Also, we have met with groups from our various constituent organizations repeatedly to provide them with updates on our process.

  • Engage a professional and neutral third party to conduct the investigation. We selected An Olive Branch to conduct this independent investigation based on its experience with the difficult issue of sexual misconduct and its specific skills in investigating allegations of this nature for spiritual communities.

  • Provide the opportunity for full and balanced participation in the investigation process. An opportunity for full participation is important to An Olive Branch’s ability to conduct a complete investigation, and the CRT has encouraged and supported this participation. An Olive Branch will assess all information they receive and individuals they interview during the course of the investigation.

  • Make counseling available to those who report harm. We have made confidential professional counseling available, at no cost, to any individual asserting harm from the misconduct they have reported. Our decision to offer these counseling services is not an indication of any conclusions being drawn by those involved in the continuing investigation or by any of our organizations. These services are offered out of compassion for individuals who may find them helpful.

  • Be transparent with the independent investigation findings. An Olive Branch will be spending the next four to six weeks finishing the gathering of evidence, completing interviews with witnesses who have already been in contact, and reaching out to individuals with potentially relevant information. Once that work has been completed, An Olive Branch will compile its findings and prepare a report that will be shared publicly. While the anticipated completion date is late June, it may take a little longer due to the very large number of individuals who have chosen to participate in the investigation.

This process continues to be challenging for us as a community. In taking the steps outlined above, our commitment has been to act based on our community’s values and out of respect for everyone. Our goals are to seek the truth and to address the past in order to ensure the future of our community’s service and teachings. Our organizational leadership is committed to assessing our current policies and procedures to ensure that we represent our values in all that we do, now and in the future. 

An Olive Branch’s report will mark the end of the investigation, but we recognize that it will not be the end of this journey. Our organizations are committed to engaging our entire community to explore avenues of healing and to find a clear path to a successful future for all. 

Sat Nam,

 

Collaborative Response Team 
 

To opt in to receive CRT updates emailed to you directly, send your request to crt@ssscorp.org.

 

 

 

April 30, 2020

 

Sat Nam Dear Members of our 3HO, Sikh Dharma and KRI Community:
 

This message is to provide you with some updates regarding the timeline and next steps related to the investigation into the allegations of sexual misconduct by Yogi Bhajan. 

 

As we announced earlier, the intake email to An Olive Branch for individuals reporting harm as well as potential witnesses with information supporting or contradicting the claims of misconduct was scheduled to close today, April 30. To ensure that all voices will be heard, the CRT has requested that the email (yb.investigation@an-olive-branch.org) remain open and monitored through the end of this weekend, May 3.  

 

Thereafter, the intake portion of the independent investigation will be concluded, and the intake email will no longer be monitored. An Olive Branch will spend the next four to six weeks finishing the gathering of evidence, completing interviews with witnesses who have already contacted them, and reaching out to individuals suggested to have potentially relevant information. Once that work has been completed, An Olive Branch will begin to compile their findings and report. The scheduled report completion date of June may be extended due to the high number of individuals who have reached out to participate in the investigation.

 

This phase of the investigation has been a challenging process for us as a community. We greatly value the contribution of everyone who has provided information and made a real effort to help An Olive Branch assess the allegations effectively. If you have any questions, please contact the CRT at crt@ssscorp.org

 

Sat Nam,

 

Collaborative Response Team 
ssscresponseteam.org
 

To opt in to receive CRT updates emailed to you directly, send your request to crt@ssscorp.org

April 21, 2020

 

Sat Nam Dear Members of our 3HO, Sikh Dharma and KRI Community,

 

To address questions that have recently come up in our community, the CRT has expanded the FAQ section on our website. We would like to share with you some of the new questions and answers.
 

What was the CRT’s process for selecting an independent investigator?

The CRT considered and interviewed several options for an investigative team. The CRT wanted an impartial third party who had 1) experience investigating the difficult issues of sexual misconduct, 2) appropriate training in interview and evaluation skills, 3) demonstrated ability to establish trust with reporters of harm as well as witnesses, and 4) awareness of the unique issues in handling such matters in a spiritually based setting. 
 

The CRT conducted an extensive analysis of possible investigators and found that there were very few who had all of the relevant experience that we believe was critical to a thorough investigation. We concluded that: 
 

•       Criminal investigators, such as retired FBI or other law enforcement, were not appropriate as this is not a criminal investigation or civil litigation before a court, and they would not have the ability to compel witness testimony or production of evidence.

•       Human resources investigators had ample experience in a “workplace setting” with harassment, but not with sexual misconduct in the context of a spiritual community. 

•      Judges and lawyers are often distrusted or feared, and this would be likely to discourage participation. 
 

An Olive Branch was unique and stood apart from more traditional investigators. They met our four critical requirements and had the most relevant experience of any of the individuals and firms we interviewed.
 

What are the qualifications and experience of An Olive Branch?

The three consultants from An Olive Branch who are working on this project are all founding members, co-directors and certified mediators. Together, they have advised and counseled 25 organizations experiencing allegations of ethical misconduct by a spiritual leader. 
 

An Olive Branch has performed five projects for Buddhist organizations. Of the five projects, two were independent investigations, including interviewing students who reported harm and receiving testimony from supporters of their teacher and rebuttal witnesses. Consequently, An Olive Branch has experience investigating the difficult issues associated with sexual misconduct using critical listening skills and responding sensitively both to those who are reporting trauma and to those defending the accused. 

 

All of An Olive Branch’s consultants have careers in different fields that make them well qualified for the work required by the SSSC to perform an independent investigation. They have graduate-level training and experience in gathering and analyzing qualitative data — data gained through interviews, observations and other sources.  
 

As mediators and facilitators, they know how to listen deeply and ask probing questions to tease out important details and distinctions in what people say. Their research backgrounds enable them to ask questions that are guided by social science knowledge, insight and practice, while their project management skills and experience support large-scale inquiries. 

 

Please visit the CRT website often and share it with others for accurate and timely information as we seek the truth and move together towards understanding and healing.
 

Sat Nam,

 

Collaborative Response Team 
ssscresponseteam.org

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

March 27, 2020

 

Sat Nam Dear Members of Our 3HO, Sikh Dharma and KRI Community,

 

As the independent investigation by An Olive Branch continues, our organization is taking an initial step to respond with compassion to those reporting allegations of sexual misconduct by Yogi Bhajan. 

 

We are making available confidential, professional counseling to any individual asserting harm from the misconduct they have reported. Beginning April 1, we have engaged Concern (https://www.concernhealth.com), a third-party assistance program, whose staff will perform a confidential intake process of those wishing to enter into counseling. Concern will refer these individuals to one of its recommended and trusted local counselors. Click here for an explanation of how Concern selects its counselors in different localities. 

 

The services are available at no cost to the individual, and their identity will remain private. Anyone reporting harm from the conduct under investigation will be referred to Concern. 

 

Our decision to offer these counseling services is not an indication of any conclusions being drawn by the continuing investigation or by any part of our organization. These service are offered out of compassion for those who may find them valuable. We will continue to reach out to community members in ways that reflect our values of mutual respect and caring. 

 

We encourage anyone with relevant information, either supporting or refuting the allegations, to email An Olive Branch at Yb.investigation@an-olive-branch.org. Because of the high volume of contacts, you can expect return contact within 5 days.

 

We are here to support all members of our community as we seek the truth regarding these issues and move together towards understanding and healing.

 

Sat Nam,

 

Collaborative Response Team 
ssscresponseteam.org


To opt in to receive CRT updates emailed to you directly, send your request to crt@ssscorp.org.

 

 

 

 

April 8, 2020

 

Sat Nam Dear Members of our 3HO, Sikh Dharma and KRI Community:
 

This message is part of our effort to keep all members of our community informed about the investigation into the allegations of sexual misconduct by Yogi Bhajan. Our intention is to share as much key information as possible while protecting the privacy of those who have requested confidentiality and maintaining the independence of An Olive Branch’s investigation. 
 

We urge all individuals who believe they have information relevant to the investigation to contact An Olive Branch at their confidential email address, yb.investigation@an-olive-branch.org. Individuals will receive a response within about five days. Information both supporting and refuting the allegations is critically important and valued by the investigators, who are committed to conducting a complete, independent and balanced investigation.  
 

The period of the allegations stretches from 1970 to the early 2000s. Evidence relevant to the investigation may include: 

●Firsthand experiences with and observations regarding Yogi Bhajan and those around him, 

●Statements heard that were made by Yogi Bhajan and by others relating to the alleged misconduct, 

●Information about the relationships between Yogi Bhajan and those close to him.  


Neither the Siri Singh Sahib Corporation (SSSC), its Collaborative Response Team (CRT), nor any other organizations under SSSC have any influence over the investigation or the report. An Olive Branch has provided the CRT with the following update:

●In total, 118 individuals have contacted An Olive Branch as of April 3. Those who contacted An Olive Branch have provided varied information, both supporting and refuting the allegations.

●An Olive Branch has either completed or is scheduling interviews with all who have requested them to date.


The investigation will remain open to new information, and An Olive Branch will continue to conduct interviews until at least April 30. A public report from An Olive Branch is expected to be released in June.  

We are here to make our best efforts to support all members of our community. Our mission is to seek the truth regarding these issues so we can move forward together toward understanding and healing.  

Sat Nam,

Collaborative Response Team 


To opt-in to receive CRT updates emailed to you directly, send your request to crt@ssscorp.org.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

March 12, 2020

 

Sat Nam Dear Members of our 3HO, Sikh Dharma and KRI Community,

 

There has been a lot of discussion, especially online, about the allegations regarding Yogi Bhajan and our response to the situation. We understand the need for people to share their thoughts and perspectives about this sensitive issue. We support women speaking out about their experiences, and we have no intention of judging or silencing the voice of anyone.

 

Please be aware that a few individuals making public statements may appear to be speaking for our organizations. They do not, in fact, represent them. The Collaborative Response Team is the only official representative of SSSC, KRI, 3HO, SDI and our other nonprofit organizations in this matter. Our regular updates and statements about the situation will continue to be posted at ssscresponseteam.org.

 

We have recently expanded the FAQ section addressing many of your questions and concerns. We urge you to check our website often and share it with others for accurate and timely information as we seek the truth and move on a path toward healing and restoration.

 

Sat Nam,

Collaborative Response Team

 

 

March 9, 2020

 

Sat Nam Dear Members of our 3HO, Sikh Dharma and KRI Community,

 

The dedicated email address for communicating with An Olive Branch is now active. This will be a fully confidential method of communication. You can reach them at yb.investigation@an-olive-branch.org until April 30, 2020. 

 

We take the allegations that have been brought forth regarding Yogi Bhajan very seriously and encourage anyone with relevant experiences or information to speak with An Olive Branch. Interviews are private and confidential between the individual and the investigator. 

 

An Olive Branch is conducting an independent third-party investigation. The sole purpose of this investigation is to seek the truth, and the investigation will not be influenced in any way by the CRT or the SSSC.

 

Due to the sensitive nature of its work, An Olive Branch is unable to share their specific work experience publicly. We realize that this level of confidentiality has prompted questions within the community about the organization’s capability to conduct a thorough investigation. During the course of our due diligence, we found An Olive Branch fully met the critical requirements to be entrusted with completing this important task, including:

 

  • Extensive experience in investigating claims of sexual misconduct with thoroughness and compassion.

  • Significant experience conducting investigations for and understanding the issues unique to spiritual or religious-based organizations. 

  • Demonstrated ability to relate well to those reporting harm as well as others providing information.

  • Ability to instill confidence that all individuals in the matter will be treated with sensitivity and care.

 

As members of a spiritual community, we place a high value on righteous action and truthful living. We are committed to upholding these principles, in practice and policy, at all levels of our organizations and to strengthen our organization to meet these commitments. Our goal is to seek the truth and move toward healing. We open our hearts and prayers for justice and healing of all people. 

 

Sat Nam,

 

Collaborative Response Team 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

March 4, 2020 

Sat Nam Dear Members of our 3HO, Sikh Dharma and KRI Community, 

After careful due diligence, we have selected the organization, An Olive Branch (https://www.an-olive-branch.org/), to conduct the independent investigation of the allegations regarding Yogi Bhajan. An Olive Branch was chosen because of their extensive experience in performing thorough and compassionate investigations of allegations of this nature for spiritual communities worldwide. They are gathering background information and expect to begin speaking with individuals on Wednesday, March 11.

 

In order to seek the truth and move toward healing, the investigators will attempt to speak with any individuals reporting harm as well as potential witnesses with information supporting or contradicting the claims of sexual misconduct. We encourage people to speak with An Olive Branch confidentially about their experiences, and we have no intention of silencing anyone. They are establishing a dedicated email address for this purpose which will remain active until Thursday, April 30. We will share this address with you on Wednesday, March 11, when it is live. 

Once the investigation is complete, An Olive Branch will prepare a report of their findings, taking care to maintain the confidentiality of personal or sensitive information out of respect for participants’ privacy. The report is expected to be made public this June. 

The Collaborative Response Team is the only official response body representing SSSC, KRI, 3HO, SDI and our other nonprofit organizations. We strive to be transparent as we respond to these allegations, and we will continue to keep the community informed during the process through updates posted on ssscresponseteam.org. We all stand united against abuse of power, sexual abuse, any form of exploitation, and any use of sexuality as a vehicle for causing harm. If anyone has concerns or complaints unrelated to this investigation, we encourage them to contact the Office of Ethics and Professional Standards at eps@epsweb.org. We will respond to the matter with kindness and respect.

 

 

Sat Nam, 

Collaborative Response Team

February 25, 2020

Dear 3HO, Sikh Dharma, and KRI Community,

As a community inspired by the teachings of Yogi Bhajan, we are currently facing a significant challenge. Following the publication of Pamela Dyson’s book, we received additional allegations from multiple women.

As previously announced, we are commissioning an independent investigation of all allegations. We are in the process of conducting due-diligence to identify the right independent investigator to conduct this important task - fairly and without prejudice or bias. We expect the investigation process may take several months to complete and ask that everyone be patient as this process moves forward.

 

We have established a website with official updates of the investigation and our path forward.

Please visit our website for updates - ssscresponseteam.org.

This very sensitive issue is bringing a great deal of pain and emotion, and we are moving forward with dignity and respect for all parties. During this time, we call upon all members of our community to unite in prayer and meditation. Let us stand with integrity and grace, letting the voice of Truth guide us now and into the future.

Sat Nam,

Collaborative Response Team

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

February 18, 2020

 

Dear 3HO, Sikh Dharma, and KRI Community,

 

Credible allegations concerning sexual misconduct by Yogi Bhajan have come forward. Our organizations take these allegations very seriously. We stand united against abuse of power, sexual abuse, any form of exploitation, and any use of sexuality as a vehicle for causing harm.

 

Our teachings guide us to look to the Truth and to seek the Truth with courage and commitment. The undersigned are the members of the Collaborative Response Team that has been formed to officially represent our community organizations in this situation. We are commissioning a third-party independent investigation to seek the truth and the extent of the allegations so that our members can feel secure and safe.

 

Future communications will explain the independent investigation process and provide our community with ways to participate.

 

We open our hearts and prayer for justice and healing of all people. As the organizations of 3HO, Sikh Dharma and KRI, we are committed to upholding the dignity of all humans and the highest ethics of this path of consciousness. We pledge to act with clarity and listen to all concerns. We will treat everyone with respect and will support the truth and the best outcome for all parties.

 

“Truth is high, but higher still is truthful living.” Guru Nanak Dev ji

 

Sat Nam,

 

SS Sahaj Singh Khalsa – Siri Singh Sahib Corporation

MSS Nirvair Singh Khalsa - Kundalini Research Institute

SS Gurujot Kaur Khalsa – Sikh Dharma International, Siri Singh Sahib Corporation

SS Pritpal Kaur Khalsa – 3HO Foundation International

SS Shanti Kaur Khalsa – Dharmic Office of Public Affairs

As additional information is released, we will share it here.