The outgoing Kalapa Council releases a statement on the state of the community from their perspective.
Dear Community -
We have received questions from the community about the independent, third-party investigation being conducted by Wickwire Holm. In an effort to continue providing timely and accurate information, we are writing to you today with some additional details and answers to your questions.
Statement from Wickwire Holm
Wickwire Holm is the independent, third-party firm contract by Shambhala to conduct an independent investigation of allegations of sexual misconduct by leaders in the community. We have received and heard questions and concerns from members about the neutrality of this investigation.
Selina Bath, the lead investigator with Wickwire Holm, has written the following response:
“Wickwire Holm has been retained to conduct an investigation into complaints of sexual misconduct on the part of Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche and other senior leaders of Shambhala USA. Our role is to investigate these complaints and make a determination as to whether sexual misconduct has occurred.
Our firm has not been retained to represent the interests of Shambala USA, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, or any other senior leader
Our firm has not been retained to represent the interests of any individual who makes a claim of misconduct.
We do not represent any one individual involved. Our role is to gather and analyze information to provide a clear and objective report of our findings.
The terms of reference for this investigation are that Wickwire Holm will:
Investigate specific allegations of sexual misconduct on the part of Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche brought forward by identified claimants, and
Investigate specific allegations of sexual misconduct on the part of other senior leaders of Shambhala brought forward by identified claimants.
These terms of reference will guide the nature of the investigation, but do not prohibit Wickwire Holm from interviewing any witness that may have relevant information about the alleged misconduct.
As lawyers we must be honest and candid with our client and disclose any and all information that we believe may have bearing on the matter at hand. Information gathered as part of the investigation will be reported to our client who will then make a determination how to proceed.
Wickwire Holm will not make the results of the investigation public and will not make any public comment about the investigation while it is ongoing.”
The results of the independent investigation by Wickwire Home will be reported to the Interim Board of Directors of Shambhala, after the current Kalapa Council has transitioned our of our roles. The Kalapa Council will recommend to the Interim Board that the full results of Wickwire Holm’s investigation be made available to the Shambhala community.
Channels for Reporting Harm
As a reminder, there are three avenues to bring forward a claim of harm or sexual misconduct:
Care and Conduct: Shambhala’s existing Care and Conduct process and procedure is available for those who would like to raise a concern within the organization. To contact the Care and Conduct panel, click here.
Independent Investigation: Those who do not wish to raise a claim through the organization directly can bring their claim to Wickwire Holm, the investigator. Claims of sexual assault or misconduct by any teacher or leader in the Shambhala community can be raised directly to the investigator, Selina Bath of Wickwire Holm. Selina can be reached by e-mail or phone at (902) 482-7030.
An Olive Branch: In addition to other services, in early September, An Olive Branch will offer a Listening Post for those who wish to discuss stories of misconduct in the organization with a neutral third party. More details will be sent about this in the coming weeks.
Additionally, the Community Care website contains additional information, updates, and information about the work of the Transition Task Force. Click here to access the website.
As always, you can continue to contact the outgoing Kalapa Council to share feedback, ideas and concerns at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Outgoing Kalapa Council
Josh Silberstein, Chair