In late December 2014, a senior board member of the Mount Eliza Ashram made an announcement at the Saturday evening Satsang Program that there had been “accusations” against the ashram Director Swami Shankarananda (a.k.a Russell Kruckman) and that a full and open inquiry into these allegations would be forthcoming. In the interim, Kruckman (Swamiji, Guruji) would be stepping down as Director of The Mount Eliza Ashram, and announcements to this effect would be made on the website within days. There are very many witnesses to this statement.
The allegations were of a sexual nature and exact number of women involved is not currently known but it is rumored to be large. One website that has received information claims the number to be at least 40. We do not vouch for the accuracy of this number at this point in time, however Helen Last (chief executive of victims’ support group In Good Faith and Associates), was quoted by the Age newspaper and said that she had spoken to 38 primary and secondary victims.
Mount Eliza Ashram Management Committee’s cover-up.
A day or so later, the Mount Eliza Ashram’s Management Committee sent out a statement that backpedaled on any talk of stepping down, and said that Swami Shankarananda’s actions were secret tantric practices in line with ancient Hindu scriptures. The letter is seen by many as an attempt to whitewash the issue, although this claim of “secret tantric practices” was at odds with Swami Shankarananda’s own accompanying letter which declared deep remorse at his own stupidity and admission that people have been hurt.
Here are the two letters that were sent out by the organisation to the Mount Eliza Ashram community, unchanged in any way except for the removal of one person’s contact details in order to not breach their right to privacy (these edits are marked in red).