Thursday 8 December 2016

'Guru' who preyed on young women jailed for assaults

Chris Greenwood and Wesley Johnson

Published 27/07/2010 | 05:00

A CULT leader who claimed to be a friend of the Dalai Lama was jailed for 10 years yesterday for attacking women.

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Self-styled guru Michael Lyons (52) was convicted of raping one woman and assaulting another.

He was accused of preying on beautiful and well-educated young women who came to him for spiritual guidance.

The Jamaican-born conman, better known as Dr Mohan Singh or Mo, constructed a formidable cult spanning Britain, the US, France and India.

A re-trial at Wood Green Crown Court in London heard he claimed to have links with the Dalai Lama and to have treated Queen Elizabeth.

His followers said he had healing powers and was capable of miracles, including curing cancer and improving fertility.

Up to 40 women financed his itinerant lifestyle, fuelling the myth and helping to lure victims.

The prosecutor said Lyons surrounded himself with "young and charming" women but was a "sexual predator masquerading as a guru and a healer".

The jury found Lyons, of Brondesbury Park, Kilburn, north London, guilty of raping a woman on June 30 2002. He was cleared, or the jury could not decide, in other allegations of rape or assault.

Police said Lyons might have more victims in Britain and the United States.

They said he may have imitated Indian mystic Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh after working for him. Rajneesh was dubbed the "sex guru" for his exotic preaching on free love.

Detective Sergeant Nicholas Giles said that "Lyons purported to be a naturopath, skilled in osteopathy, acupuncture and nutrition. His followers were mainly women, who supported his lavish lifestyle.

"We heard in evidence that Lyons used a programme of sleep deprivation, psychological harassment as well as group social pressure to coerce them to join. He sexually assaulted victims during this process.''

Irish Independent

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