By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
A 51 year old man posing as a Buddhist guru was jailed in London yesterday after decades spent preying upon vulnerable women in yoga studios and health food shops.
According to the Daily Mail, Michael Lyons, aka Mohan Singh, was sentenced to ten years for raping one woman and sexually attacking another. He was cleared of two other rapes and a sexual assault charge, with the jury unable to reach a decision on two other rape and assault charges.
Police say Lyons, who managed to elude charges on several other occasions, may have left hundreds more victims in the U.S. and Britain.
Lyons was born in Jamaica but came to Britain in the 1960’s where he grew up in a poor section of Manchester, England. He resurfaced in India in the mid-80’s where police believe he began a cult-like spiritual movement known as the Friends of Mohan.
Among his many fantastic claims, Mohan told his followers he was the Queen’s chiropractor and the Dalai Lama’s osteopath. He also claimed to be a trained ‘naturopathic’ healer who treated many celebrities, such as actor Steven Seagal with his ‘specialist’ purification techniques.
Police say his followers were mostly young, beautiful women who were well-educated and had an interest in alternative therapies and spirituality. He or his cohorts would typically search for and find their victims in yoga studios, health food shops and gyms.
Once recruited, they were subjected to a “sophisticated form of grooming,” said UK detective Nick Giles, which consisted of being promised solutions to their problems through his “purifying treatments.” These treatments consisted of intimate massage and sex accompanied by incense burning and “spiritual” music.
One of his alleged victims, American Skye Enyeart, said she first encountered “Dr Mohan Singh” while waiting for a bus after a day of studying in Washington, DC.
“This car rocked up, a Lincoln town vehicle, and Mohan and another female friend offered to give us a ride,” she told the Daily Mail. “There were about four other women in the car, and as Mohan was dressed in Tibetan robes, like a Buddhist, we felt safe. He gave us a lift as promised and we arranged to meet for tea later.”
When they met for tea at a local cafe, Enyeart said everyone seemed kind-hearted and talked about Tibetans, Buddhism, the Dali Lami.
“Mohan even purported to be the Dalai Lama’s osteopath,” Enyeart said, “He said he could diagnose any ailments just by feeling my back and after pushing some of my lower vertebrae told me I suffered from lower back problems. I had seen multiple physicians that year so I was impressed.”
At one point, Lyons placed a coin on her forehead and told her she was meditating with her third eye. “When he removed it, I felt different, all tingly,” she said, adding that it was “an odd but nice feeling.”
Enyeart and her friend arranged to meet Lyons the next day. Not long after getting into the car, however, she began to feel like something was wrong. The car wasn’t heading to a restaurant, but out of town. “I felt deeply uneasy and kept asking where we were going,” Enyeart recalled. “Mohan just kept telling me to relax.”
At some point, she believes she was drugged because she felt “physically incapacitated” by the time she left the car. “My body felt strangely separate and immobile compared to my mind. My limbs were too lethargic to move.”
Once separated from her friend, Mohan raped her, saying she was too proud and had to be “crucified to find enlightenment.”
“He told me he was showing me real love,” Enyeart said.
She filed a police report after returning to the city but was shocked when her friend began to turn against her. “I met up with her later but she would not discuss what had happened. Mohan had begun his brainwashing, leaving messages on her phone about how I was an evil vampire. It was incredibly upsetting.”
Within weeks, her friend had left Washington to join Lyons “harem” in Britain which was full of women who hung on his every word and treated him like a god. They paid all his bills, drove him around in luxury cars including Bentleys, Mercedes and vintage Rolls-Royces, while he toured the world with trips to Miami, Washington DC, London, Paris, and India.
Even after his conviction this week, many of his followers refused to leave him. Some even testified in his defense, calling him a “genuinely spiritual man.”
Because many of these brainwashed women served as accomplices in Lyons crimes, Judge Nicholas Browne, QC criticized them for their “blind loyalty” when he handed down Lyons’ sentence.
“They well knew what was likely to happen to both victims before their sexual abuse. Women’s groups everywhere will be shocked and appalled in the complicity in these two crimes of women close to you. It was complete betrayal by women to women.”
Enyeart, who was in the courtroom that day, called the sentencing an incredibly liberating experience.
“Looking at him in court I felt disgusted by him,” she told the Daily Mail. “I can’t believe that a master manipulator like him walked the streets for so long and I’m just glad that he will no longer be able to take advantage of other vulnerable people.”
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