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Statement by the NA RGB Re: Additional Shocking Testimony Filed Against Anirdesya Vapu (former Bhakti Vidya Purna Swami)
By NA Regional Governing Body   |  Mar 14, 2023

Statement by the North American Regional Governing Body

Additional Shocking Testimony Filed Against Anirdesya Vapu (former Bhakti Vidya Purna Swami)

The North American Regional Governing Body (NA RGB) of ISKCON acknowledges the recent shocking and horrifying testimony of child abuse shared by Vedasara dasa—including testimony against Anirdesya Vapu, the former Bhakti Vidya Purna Swami (legal name Alan Ross Wexler).

Vedasara dasa currently serves as the Temple President of ISKCON Atlanta. As his colleagues, we accept his statements as factual and are greatly pained to learn of the suffering he underwent—and the burdens he carries today. We pray that Lord Krishna will ease his pain. We are grateful to Vedasara for his courage in bringing forward his testimony.

Vedasara dasa has given a vivid report of the physical, sexual, and psychological abuse he suffered, caused by Anirdesya Vapu, when Veda was a child in the ISKCON Gurukula (boarding school) in Mayapur, India, from 1983-1990. According to this new testimony, Anirdesya Vapu’s responsibility included directly abusing children and, through his failure to supervise others, fomenting widespread abuse and neglect. As the head of school, Anirdesya also created an environment of fear that prevented children from speaking out about their abuse.

From this testimony, it is clear that the Bhaktivedanta Gurukula Village, which was later renamed the Sri Rupanuga Paramartik Vidhyapith school, was managed by Anirdesya Vapu in a way that allowed vulnerable children to be preyed upon.

We understand that the international GBC and International Child Protection Office (ICPO) are reviewing this new testimony in the case against Anirdesya Vapu. Shockingly, this would be the third CPO decision involving Anirdesya Vapu. The first CPO case was in 2000, when Anirdesya Vapu was found responsible for children’s physical and emotional abuse and was removed from teaching, managerial, or administrative roles in ISKCON.

A more recent and damning 2022 CPO decision found Anirdesya responsible for the sexual abuse of a minor. Consequently, his sannyasa status was revoked; he was banned from visiting ISKCON centers or serving in any leadership role, and multiple other restrictions were put in place by the CPO and the ISKCON Governing Body Commission (GBC).  Details of the previous decisions may be found at  ISKCON News:

After these new allegations of abuse brought forth by Vedasara, the NA RGB calls upon the CPO and GBC to enforce the strictest punishments possible against Anirdesya Vapu, including a lifetime ban from ISKCON.

In his testimony, Vedasara also expressed his concern for the welfare of hundreds of other students who went through the Mayapur Gurukula in the past. The NA RGB shares Vedasara’s concern for every child who was harmed in ISKCON schools. We recall with deep remorse that in 2002, 400 former students of multiple ISKCON schools shared in a legal settlement that provided approximately 14 million dollars (US) for victims of emotional, physical, and sexual abuse; contributions to that fund came from ISKCON temples and members around the world. Vedasara’s testimony is a stark reminder that every devotee in ISKCON must be on guard to protect our communities and our children from abuse.

We note, with relief, that the Gurukula in Mayapur was converted from a boarding school to a day school in 2022 to promote greater parental involvement and children’s safety.

Your servants,

NA RGB members:

Bir Krsna Goswami, GBC member

Badrinarayan Swami, GBC member

Bhaktimarga Swami, GBC member

Devamrta Swami, GBC member

Malati devi dasi, GBC member

Anuttama dasa, GBC member, Communications Minister

Praharana devi dasi, NA RGB Chair

Kuladri dasa, NA Temple Support Office

Manorama dasa, Youth Minister

Govinda Priya devi dasi, NA Vaisnavi Minister

Kumari Kunti devi dasi, NA Communications Co-Director

Jaya Krsna dasa, Zonal Supervisor

Vrnda devi dasi, Zonal Supervisor

Pyari Mohana dasa, Regional Secretary

Nityananda dasa, Regional Secretary

Prabhupada Priya devi dasi, Zonal Supervisor (pending)

*The NA RGB was formerly known as North American Council (NAC). It is now, as of 2023, officially to be known as the North American Regional Governing Body (NA RGB) of ISKCON.

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