Kṛṣṇacandra Dāsa – Śrī Vṛndāvan Dham: You may be aware that there has been recent expose of child abuse claims in the Vṛndāvan Gurukula posted by Sanaka Rsi Prabhu in his series here, here, here and here. This should have, even in a semi professional organization, produced positive action to make sure that the Vṛndāvan Gurukula was investigated to ensure the safety of the children and to flex the muscle of the International Child Protection Office which apparently bathes in the full support of the GBC.
However, there has been an investigation conducted and an Indian devotee was apparently appointed by Pancagauda Dāsa the Temple President to conduct it and they apparently found that there were no grounds for a case. It is not clear what qualification the investigating devotee or devotees had in conducting such an investigation and it is difficult to take the findings seriously especially as there was no CPT unit report to work off.
The above report by Sanaka Rsi Prabhu brought to light that there was and is no functioning Child Protection Unit operating in ISKCON Vṛndāvan for well over two years which did not raise an eyebrow with the CPO what to speak of the Gurukula and Temple. Perhaps they feel that there is no need take the protection of child in their community or school with any seriousness?
In light of the past terrible history of child abuse in our ISKCON society it is grossly irresponsible for the CPO, the Vṛndāvan Gurukula Administration and the ISKCON Vṛndāvan Temple Management to be so neglectful in their duties to serve and protect our children.
Below is a correspondence I sent to an ‘email’ circle of interested devotees who are discussing the situation of ISKCON Vṛndāvan.
Perhaps the International CPO needs to report on the status of its programs in both Mayapur and Vrndavan Dhams. At least from the time the present CPO Director has been in position.
Given the history of abuse in these two areas, the lack of external professional social welfare, medical and police services to support any efforts for our institution with regards to child protection, it would be appropriate.
The report should cover:
1. *The overall plan for the protection of the children in both the dhams in not only the schools but also the Temple and devotee community.
2. *Outline the various educational programs or seminar and workshop for staff, children and parents that have been conducted and are planned.
3. *The child protection Unit status. For example how many staff the units, what is their, experience and training, their relationship with the school authorities, children, parents and Temple.
4. *The response of the Temple Authorities or School authorities to the CP Team and/or International Office. In other words are they open and supportive or help facilitate the CP officers forming necessary relationships with children, staff and parents etc.
5. *Outline the relationship between the CPT and the local police and what measures have been taken to increase/improve the relationship to aid in the protection of the children.
6. *What are the local Laws that aid the better facilitation/ response from the local law enforcement for investigation, apprehension and charging of offenders.
These are some ‘off the cuff’ ideas that may be included in such a report. However given the history of child abuse in these two Holy Dhams the onus is on any Child Protection service to maintain a high standard of vigilance professionalism / care and involvement in both.
It is simply not good enough that there is no CPT unit here in Vrndavan for over two years. This is an entirely unacceptable state of affairs.
Questions must be asked as to why the Headmaster, Principal and Temple President have not considered this lack as being neglect?
Why did the International CPO also neglect to make sure there was a functioning and trained CPT in place.
And lastly but also worth of careful consideration… How come there is no child protection team in Vrndavan now??? After Sanaka Rsi Prabhu revealed the first of his series surely the CPO would have responded and made sure that all measures were made to get a team up and running???
If they have then please disregard the above paragraph.
This is certainly a situation that must not be allowed to be maintained.