Verdict Against Kriyananda

“Swami” Kriyananda and Ananda Church have been found guilty by juries in two seperate trials and lawsuits. They do everything possible to obscure this even going so far as to pretend that the guilty verdicts against them are for minor things. This is not true. Here is what the actual verdict against Kriyananda and reads,

THE Sexual Trial VERDICT,

Count one: Both the Ananda church and Kriyananda/Walters were found liable on the charge of “constructive fraud”, with a finding of “malice and fraudulent conduct”.

Count two: Both the Ananda church, Kriyananda/Walters and the Senior Minister were found liable for “intentional infliction of emotional distress” with a finding of “malice” and a finding of “despicable conduct” against the church.

Count three: Both Ananda and the church were found liable for “negligent supervision“; that the church had a duty to control Kriyananda/Walter’s behavior, and failed to do so, with a finding of “malice and fraud” on the part of the church.

The jury also found that the Senior Minister had made “unwelcome sexual advances”.
Kriyananda and Ananda was assessed millions of dollars in fines do to their actions.

Awards for “compensatory damages”,
$595,000 in compensatory damages against Swami Kriyananda and the Ananda church.
$30,000 in compensatory damages against the Ananda Senior Minister.

Award for Punitive Damages:
1,000,000 (one million dollars) in PUNITIVE damages against Kriyananda. Punitive [exemplary] damages are awarded after actual damages. Punitive damages serve to warn others that certain conduct will not be condoned. They are awarded in lawsuits where a defendant has acted in a willful, intentionally malicious way.

Also in 1998, Ananda agreed to pay an additional $200, 000 to settle two additional related lawsuits. One of these lawsuits was brought against Ananda because Ananda admitted hiring[and paying with Church tax-exempt money] for the theft of trash [privileged client-attorney information] from the plaintiff’s lawyers’ office.

The Stealing Copyrighted Material Trial VERDICT,

In a seperate lawsuit and verdict against Kriyananda/Walters and Ananda filed by Self-Realization Fellowship, a federal jury found Kriyananda guilty of stealing, copyright infringement, and theft of intellectual property. Here is a summary from the newspaper,

October 30, 2002
Jury: Copyrights violated by church
Doug Mattson

A lengthy legal battle involving the Nevada County-based Ananda Church of Self-Realization ended Monday in federal court. All eight jurors found that Ananda and its founder, J. Donald Walters, infringed on the copyrights of the Los Angeles-based Self-Realization Fellowship by reprinting articles and selling recordings of the fellowship’s long-since-dead guru.

Jurors also awarded Self-Realization Fellowship roughly $29,000 in damages. The verdicts capped a monthlong trial and 12 years of courtroom wrangling, and it ended with each side declaring some form of victory.

“On balance, I’m pleased with the outcome,” said Ananda lawyer Robert Christopher of Palo Alto. “It will mean the (Ananda) church will survive without financial injury.” He claimed the fellowship had earlier sought $6 million in damages.

But a lawyer for Self-Realization Fellowship, Philip Stillman of San Diego, said the case was never about money. “These guys literally stole magazine articles and started publishing them as their own,” he said.

The case hinged on the writings and recordings of Paramhansa Yogananda, a native of India who founded Self-Realization Fellowship in the late 1920s. He died in 1952. Walters became a member in 1948 but was “thrown out” in 1962, said Stillman’s legal partner, Michael Flynn.

Walters, known as Swami Kriyananda, later started Ananda Village in Nevada County. It became home to hundreds of followers who also revered Yogananda and his words. The group republished his articles and sold his recordings, according to Stillman and Flynn.

Jurors ultimately agreed with Self-Realization Fellowship’s argument that Yogananda had repeatedly made his intentions clear before dying – he wanted the fellowship to maintain copyrights to his works.

The lawsuit moved sluggishly, as it was twice appealed to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and twice returned to Sacramento.

Along the way, Walters was sued for sexual harassment and fraud by former Ananda member Anne-Marie Bertolucci, whose lawyers claimed Walters fraudulently used his title of swami, implying he was celibate.

Other women testified Walters coerced them into sex. Bertolucci was awarded damages in excess of $1 million in 1998.


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