According to Edmonton police, the self-styled head of a wealthy spiritual community in Western Canada has been accused of sexually assaulting numerous of his members.
According to a police announcement this week, John de Ruiter, 63, was detained and charged on Saturday in connection with four alleged sexual assault instances that took place between 2017 and 2020.
“The accused informed certain female group members that he was directed by a spirit to engage in sexual activity with them,” police said.
According to the complaint, De Ruiter advised the women that doing so would lead to “spiritual enlightenment.”
Authorities urged any potential further victims to come forward and report what they had experienced.
Requests for comment from AFP went unanswered from de Ruiter’s assistants. De Ruiter, however, “intends to fiercely dispute these claims in a court of law,” a spokeswoman, Zaba Walker, told the BBC.
De Ruiter oversaw the College of Integrated Philosophy, popularly known as the Oasis Group, from 2007 to 2021.
Since then, the so-called spiritual leader, who is renowned for his penetrating look and long periods of introspection, has offered meetings, live streaming, and “spiritual retreats” for the devout in Edmonton.
De Ruiter was mentioned in a 2017 piece in the Canadian daily Globe and Mail that focused on claims of his extramarital relationships with numerous followers.
The man’s website says “John did not and does not use sex as a means of control or submission over any person.”
This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.