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Another Former Boulder Shambhala Member Accused of Sexual Assault on a Child

June 30, 2019

 

Michael Smith, 54, turned himself in to the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office early Friday after the Boulder Police Department issued a warrant for his arrest on one charge of sexual assault on a child by one in a position of trust, according to the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office. He met the victim through his membership at the Boulder Shambhala Center. The abuse started when she was 13 years old.

 

Boulder police have also been contacted by another woman, who claimed that Smith also sexually assaulted her when she was 11 years old at Karme Choling, a meditation center run by Shambhala International in Vermont. Vermont investigators are looking into this claim.

 

The two survivors do not know each other. Both came forward after police in Boulder arrested former Shambhala teacher, William Karelis, in February for sexually assaulting a 13 year old student. That case is pending trial. There is also an investigation in Larimer County, Colorado, regarding possible criminal activity at Shambhala's retreat center in Red Feather Lake, Colorado.

 

Hopefully the bravery of these two women continues to snowball and brings other crimes to light, allowing victims to receive validation through justice and proper institutional response. It is encouraging to see law enforcement support the rights of victims and take action on these claims.

 

The story was first reported at the Denver post here:

https://www.denverpost.com/2019/06/28/boulder-shambhala-sexual-assault/

 

It has since been picked up by a number of different outlets, including Daily Camera and Think Progress:

https://www.dailycamera.com/2019/06/28/another-former-boulder-shambhala-member-accused-of-sexual-assault-on-a-child

 

https://thinkprogress.org/new-arrest-for-child-sex-abuse-at-the-embattled-buddhist-group-shambhala-a1de89ec9793/

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