A new report details an allegation that Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, head of the Shambhala Buddhist community, sexually assaulted a woman while teaching in Chile in 2002. It also examines allegations that other leaders of the organization knew about the assault shortly after it occurred.
The July 10 report is by lawyer and sexual misconduct investigator Carol Merchasin and is an update to Phase II of Buddhist Project Sunshine (BPS), which Merchasin contributed to.
Merchasin describes the Chilean woman’s account of the sexual assault as “very credible” and says it is consistent with patterns of behavior by Sakyong Mipham described in the BPS report.
Merchasin says there is “considerable corroboration” of the allegation that other Shambhala leaders knew the assault had occurred. She emphasizes that her investigation is preliminary and that a full investigation is required, which will give Sakyong Mipham and the Shambhala organization an opportunity to respond to the allegations.
A law firm in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where the international headquarters of Shambhala is based, has been hired by the Shambhala organization to undertake a third party investigation of any allegations of sexual misconduct against Sakyong Mipham or others in the community.
Lion’s Roar contacted lawyer Michael Scott of Halifax, who is now representing Sakyong Mipham, for comment on yesterday’s report. Scott, whose biography states that he “focuses his practice on criminal defense,” said that he has received the updated report and will review it with his client, but has no comment at this time.
Merchasin’s entire update can be viewed here:
Previous coverage on LionsRoar.com:
- Sakyong Mipham responds to sexual misconduct allegations (July 10, 2018)
- Shambhala leader to “step back” from duties during investigation of sexual assault allegations (July 7, 2018)
- Shambhala leadership council resigns; names investigator of sexual abuse allegations (July 6, 2018)
- Report alleges sexual misconduct by leader of Shambhala community (updated June 29, 2018)
- Shambhala leader makes public apology (June 25, 2018)
- Sexual misconduct in Shambhala addressed by CBC radio (May 24, 2018)
- Guardian reports on Shambhala allegations (March 5, 2018)
- Shambhala statement addresses sexual misconduct (February 13, 2018)