NBC’s “Today Show” is the latest media forum to share some of the details surrounding sexual assault claims made against Bikram Choudhury. Six women have now come forward, at the time of this release, claiming that the “hot yoga” guru sexually assaulted and/or raped them.
All six women are represented by attorneys Mary Shea of Shea Law Offices in Oakland, California, and Carney Shegerian of Los Angeles-based Shegerian & Associates, Inc.
The most recent of the six cases, filed last month in Los Angeles Superior Court, said Choudhury had raped a woman who had paid $10,000 from her college fund for a nine-week class so she could teach the “Bikram yoga” technique to others.
“We are absolutely honored to be given the opportunity to help these courageous women seek justice,” said Shea, who has spent more than 20 years standing up to sexual abusers and protecting those in need of representation. “Because of the unique nature of the Bikram yoga community and the level of trust and placed in the hands of the defendant, the plaintiffs’ heartbreaking stories of sexual assault, rape and abuse are further exacerbated by a deep spiritual violation as well.”
“These cases are actually representative of a problem that has plagued society for far too long,” said Shegerian, who specializes in employee rights. “Men in positions of power making unwanted and illegal sexual advances toward women who are their employees or students is a problem of epidemic proportions that simply must stop. These women are taking a very brave step toward shedding light on one such person of influence that has been sexually harassing, abusing and assaulting women for a very long time. It’s our job to help these women and put a stop to this.”
“Rape and sexual assault have no respect of gender, age, race or affiliation,” said sexual abuse expert and columnist Mark Vincent Healy. “Sadly, these abuses leave in their wake lifelong trauma, devastating mental health problems and higher rates of suicide than found in the general population — 14 times higher, in fact. It is a scourge on humanity and global in dimensions. It is an assault on the human family that knows little justice where over 98% of cases go unprosecuted. As a society we have to do more for victims of such intimate violations of the person. All survivors deserve to be treated with dignity, justice and compassion. Collectively we can make a difference.”
Shea added that a trial date for the first plaintiff, Sarah Baughn, is set for August.
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