November 16, 2019 Update
Nov 16, 2019 —
We are very pleased to be able to report to you that the FPMT has at last engaged an organization (FaithTrust Institute) to conduct an independent investigation in order to assess the multiple allegations of sexual misconduct by Dagri Rinpoche. As you know, this group of senior nuns has been calling for an investigation since May, and thousands of you have signed the petition to support that appeal. The FPMT has now taken this decision after its board was approached in early September by a retired lawyer, representing three more women who had not previously made public their allegations. (An additional three women had already made allegations in various public forums, including an Indian woman who filed criminal sexual assault charges against Dagri Rinpoche in May, and two other women who made their allegations public through social media.) As such, the FPMT board has been aware of allegations by six separate women since September, when the retired lawyer presented the FPMT board with the results of her preliminary investigation into the three additional women’s allegations of unwanted sexual contact initiated by Dagri Rinpoche. The three women requested the FPMT board to engage an independent investigation as a first step toward accountability. On November 14, the FPMT announced it would indeed commission an independent assessment and also receive training on handling such allegations in the future and on healthy boundaries in teacher-student relationships. You can read their announcement here: https://fpmt.org/fpmt-community-news/statement/nov-14-2019-update/
Although the FPMT’s agreement with FaithTrust is a welcome and important first step, we should keep in mind that it is only the first step. Next, the FPMT will make an open call for other claims of sexual abuse by Dagri Rinpoche. A confidential channel will be set up to allow people to contact trained investigators at FaithTrust. After conducting confidential interviews, these investigators will compile a report with their findings and present it to the FPMT. Dagri Rinpoche will also have the opportunity to present his version of events.
Once the investigation has concluded, either Dagri Rinpoche’s name will be cleared or FaithTrust will make recommendations as to what steps the FPMT should take to make amends and to hold those responsible accountable. FaithTrust calls its process an “assessment,” and its interviews are not a substitute for a legally binding criminal investigation.
Because none of the recommendations are binding, the FPMT may choose not to implement them. As we learn more, we will keep you informed. In the meantime, please join us in expressing your support and gratitude to the women who came forward seeking accountability. We applaud their efforts and honor their courage.
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