Sai smear campaign slumps
by Sandhya Jain on 31 Mar 2009 44 Comments

On 14 March 2009, a lingering, insidious smear campaign against Sathya Sai Baba quietly fizzled out when Channel Nine MSN removed a biased anti-Baba broadcast from its official website. In response to ardent Sai defamer Robert Priddy, Baba devotee Joe Moreno said MSN  “would not have removed the video had there not been legitimate complaints about the content and disinformation in their video.”

Sai Baba devotees following the so-called sex scandal case were gratified to find that over the past few years many accusers were exposed as liars and worse. The main accuser who inspired a BBC documentary, withdrew his California court case against the Sai Baba Society on realizing exposure was nigh.

As usual, when false accusations are made against Hindu gurus, a high-decibel media campaign begins. But when the innocence of the accused is established, the cacophony melts into stoic silence. It is to the credit of devotees that anti-Sai Baba information has been purged from US government and UNESCO websites, among others.

Alaya Rahm’s sexual abuse allegations against Sai Baba gained international notoriety when featured on the Seduced By Sai Baba and Secret Swami documentaries. His allegations were published in Britain (The Telegraph) and India (India Today). An army of anti-Sai activists translated the allegations into several languages and spread them via the internet. At first, the claims seemed disturbingly true; now they have simply vanished!

Alaya Rahm filed his lawsuit, Alaya Rahm vs. Sathya Sai Baba Society, in the Superior Court of California, USA, on 6 January 2005 (Case No. 05cc01931). Under California’s statute of limitations, an individual can file a lawsuit for alleged sexual molestation up to his/her 26th birthday, if the alleged events occurred before the age of 18. Alaya filed his case two days before this expiry date.

The trial was set for 28 April 2006, but on 7 April 2006, the plaintiff self-dismissed his own lawsuit. He attempted to sue for money damages, but no offers of settlement were made and no money or other consideration paid; the case was dismissed “with prejudice” and is binding under the international doctrine of res judicata. This means Alaya Rahm can never file another lawsuit against Sathya Sai Baba, in USA or in India, for the same claims made in this case.

Alaya never sought medical or psychiatric treatment for alleged trauma and could not itemize any wage losses. Moreover, no other alleged victim came forward to testify in support of his allegations, though anti-Sai activists claimed there were “over a hundred” alleged victims in the USA. He gave no reasons for quitting; no deposition was filed and no witnesses were identified to the court on his behalf.

Although Alaya’s accusations received publicity, his claims were not thoroughly investigated until the lawsuit was filed. During the subsequent legal process, it was found that Alaya and his family members made speeches at a number of retreats and conferences between 1995–1999, the period in which the alleged sexual abuses took place. Many talks were recorded and found to contain no suggestion of wrongdoing. Rather, there was enthusiastic praise of the Baba; Alaya even wrote a love poem to him.

The legal process identified witnesses present at the Indian ashram when the events allegedly occurred. One witness, Lewis Kreydick, purchased Alaya’s ticket and accompanied him to India in 1995 and in 1997; he was present in some meetings in which Alaya later claimed to have been sexually abused.

Mr. Kreydick inter alia testified that he had close links with Alaya from 1995 to 1997, and spoke with him daily when at the ashram in 1995 and 1997, discussing details of each meeting Alaya had with Baba. Though Alaya shared confidential details about his sexual past with Kreydick, he never related or suggested, in this period, that any misconduct, wrongdoing or sexual actions had transpired between him and Sathya Sai Baba. In fact, he only narrated positive and miraculous experiences.

Mr. Kreydick signed his typed deposition on 7 April 2006. The same day, the defendant (the Sathya Sai Baba Society) filed Kreydick’s deposition as part of the official record, and Alaya Rahm self-dismissed his case! Obviously, he did not feel confident to take his case to trial, though he was represented by an experienced sexual abuse trial lawyer.

Further, in Form Interrogatory No. 6.3, Set One, Alaya Rahm admitted to being a daily user of illegal street drugs and alcohol from 1995-2005. Thus, throughout his allegations and the filming of BBC Documentary “Secret Swami” and Danish Documentary “Seduced By Sai Baba,” Alaya was under the influence of illegal street drugs and alcohol. This was suppressed from the general public by his family and anti-Baba associates.

The controversy persisted because of the doggedness of ex-devotees, possibly persons who infiltrated the ashram in the guise of devotees, with the intention of maligning Baba later. Key blogs in the defamation were;; None of these gentlemen was sexually abused, nor had personally witnessed any incident of alleged abuse. Interestingly, some eminent Western ‘Hindus’ joined the anti-Sai crusade with startling enthusiasm, fuelling suspicions about the possible political agendas of these faux converts.

No alleged victim ever filed a police or court case against Sathya Sai Baba in India for alleged improprieties, though ex-devotees kept chanting that “hundreds,” indeed “thousands” of “minors,” “children” and “male youth” were molested by Sathya Sai Baba. 

Who inspired these venomous ex-devotees to launch investigations into vile rumours? Devotees say the Anti-Sai Movement is an extremist hate group which habitually makes wild allegations, including the laughable claim that Sai Baba is allied with terrorists! One magazine published a fake picture of Sai Baba holding hands with Idi Amin! A persistent campaign alleges that Baba is a paedophile and runs an elite paedophile and human trafficking ring to India from New York ghettos.

The truth is that neither Baba nor any organisation associated with him has been charged or implicated with any paedophile or human trafficking rings, either directly or indirectly, and that reputable media agencies and independent journalists have not been able to confirm a single instance of alleged paedophilia and/or human trafficking linked to Sai Baba or his organisations. Gutter allegations tend to choke on their own stink.

The author is Editor,

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