In Memoriam – Glen Meloy ("Standing up for truth and goodness")
Glen Meloy, of Palm Desert, California, a global coordinator in the effort to expose Sathya Sai Baba and his worldwide cult, died of cancer on January 1, 2005. He was born May 3, 1930 DesMoines, Iowa.
Since early 2000, Glen Meloy was a major leader of a coalition of former Sai Baba devotees and others, known as The Exposé, which calls for formal investigation of alleged crimes by this guru and the cover-up perpetrated by his organization.
The enormously powerful and influential Sathya Sai Baba lives in south India, and proclaims that he is God incarnate come to save the entire world by 2022. He has millions of devotees and an organization spanning more than 150 countries. For many years, there have been allegations that he serially exploits boys and young men for sexual purposes – from his schools, colleges and university, as well as boys and young men visiting from overseas - using bribery and threats as coercion. Investigators allege other wrongdoings such as faking miracles, promising but not delivering miraculous cures, claiming to be omniscient and making prophecies subsequently falsified, and the implication of Sai Baba and some of his leaders in police killings in his private quarters in June 1993, etc. Glen Meloy’s greatest concern was always for the young and defenceless. He neither despaired nor retreated when he discovered the enormity of what he was up against, not least the powerful evidence that Sathya Sai Baba and senior officials of his organization have perpetrated massive cover-ups, which also implicates successive Indian governments, state and national.
Glen Meloy was a dedicated devotee and active social service volunteer within the Sathya Sai Organization for 26 years. He served in the United States Air Force, was Advertising Director for a large firm in Iowa, and a former co-owner and President of The Grand Chandelle, Inc, as well as other corporate roles where he created the projects and directed all operations. He helped found Los Angeles Magazine, which is still prominent in Los Angeles. Embezzled by a business partner, he lost a fortune and retired poor but unbowed, but kept up his extremely hard work at social uplift projects in devotion to his then guru. Some of the causes he championed were world health care, especially alternatives, children’s and women’s rights, vegetarianism, freedom from alcohol and tobacco … He once studied an English dictionary, word for word, A-Z. Deeply saddened by rapidly shrinking democracy in the United States, he loved the sea front in Victoria in Canada and deeply wished to live there. From there his ashes were scattered on the ocean – not in a funeral but a celebration.
Children of many Sai devotees called him ‘Uncle Glen,’ as did a boy whose mother came to him around October 1999 with shocking allegations of sexual molestation of her son by Sai Baba. After exhaustive investigation of many other reports, both current and long-standing, Glen and others, including formerly high profile leaders, attempted to get the US Sathya Sai Organization to show duty of care and properly investigate the allegations. It failed to do so, as has been the case worldwide. Media - including the BBC, The Times of London, The Daily Telegraph, India Today, The Age, The West Australian, Vancouver Sun, The Ottawa Citizen, Toronto Star and many others - have found Sai Baba’s organization impervious to investigation. This fact was brilliantly captured by the BBC’s hidden cameras in its 2004 documentary “The Secret Swami,” when Dr Michael Goldstein, world head of Sai Baba’s organisation, becoming increasingly angry, demands of the interviewer, “Transparency in what sense?” and “What do you mean by thorough investigation”? Proclaiming that he would be able to tell if Sai Baba’s students had been sexually abused, Goldstein shouts “I would know it in my heart because I am what I am – a consummate professional. Can you understand that?” I got on the phone to Glen, whose comment was, “So Goldstein’s a consummate clairvoyant too, is he?”
Glen Meloy’s exposure activities were self-sacrificing and unrelenting. He preferred social action on the ground and mostly used the Internet as a research tool. Above all, he aimed to stop the flow of vulnerable young males to Sai Baba’s ashrams. He envisaged the place where Sai Baba lives as overtaken by sunflowers and rainbows, and his pictures in his home radiated with these natural images. He regularly inspired former devotees to inform political, religious, and educational institutions of the Sathya Sai Organization’s true agenda when it attempted to inveigle itself into the social mainstream. With the aid of enormous and careful research, he exposed that organization’s failure to tell the public of its true intent and especially its failure to reveal or investigate the negative allegations coming from many good and decent former devotee families worldwide. A very qualified sexual abuse therapist and former Sathya Sai Organisation leader speaks for many in saying, “Glen spent many hours counseling and supporting former devotees when they found out the truth and were reeling with the shock of it all.”
Despite taking on a vast cult, Glen Meloy remained a very kind, sweet person. He had a keen mind, maturity, tough self-discipline, and a clear vision of his mission that won the respect of police, lawyers, sexual abuse counsellors, Foreign Service professionals, anti-cult workers, etc, with whom he dealt on the issue of Sai Baba and his organization. When other former devotees were about to settle for a less strongly-worded UNESCO media advisory, he seized the moral high-ground, and it was his determination and powerful advocacy alone that encouraged top UNESCO officials in Paris to issue their strongly-worded media advisory of September 15, 2000:
The advisory cancelled UNESCO’s participation, along with a leading Australian university partner, Flinders University, in an education conference at Sai Baba’s ashram, stating that it was “deeply concerned about widely-reported allegations of sexual abuse involving youths and children that have been levelled at the leader of the movement in question, Sathya Sai Baba.” It also cited “several other concerns” that reflected badly on Sai Baba’s organizers. Glen’s coordination of extensive efforts with the FBI and State Department resulted in the latter’s public acknowledgement to the BBC in May 2004 that Sai Baba was the subject of their concerned investigations and US travel advisory. Just before Glen died, he was researching laws that offer hope to abuse survivors, even if the offences have been committed outside their own country. His legacy is ongoing and his example inspires others to bring his work towards the goal.
It was Glen's profound sense of moral outrage at the sexual abuse of children that most fuelled his fight. The lies, contradictions and evasions his and his colleagues’ investigations unearthed acted as a fuel booster. More than once, with a passionate love, he spoke of "standing up for truth and goodness." However much he disdained his adversaries’ deceptions and betrayals of these qualities, he did not hate his antagonists, nor did he respond to even the most vicious slurs cast by certain highly active Sai Baba supporters, whom he never regarded as typical of most Sai Baba devotees.
India's famous "guru buster" B. Premanand wrote: "Glen's death was a great shock. I wanted him to live till Sai Baba was arrested ... I am missing a great loving friend whom I came to know from the BBC film production." (Sri Premanand refers here to the BBC television documentary "The Secret Swami," screened in June 2004 in England and in other countries since.) Glen Meloy lavished on this documentary seven months’ intense effort as an unpaid researcher and coordinated much testimony as well as assisting the BBC in its research and filming of interviews in the USA. He believed that the BBC, in focusing so much on just one family (no doubt for reasons of dramatization), obscured the sheer serial and worldwide nature of the sexual abuse that is being alleged.
Mick Brown, author and journalist (Daily Telegraph, UK), who flew to the USA to investigate allegations against the guru, wrote, "I spoke to Glen often at the time I was writing the piece on Sai Baba. He was not only extremely kind and helpful, but struck me as a man of great courage, honour and integrity, who was galvanized by injustice and determined to rectify it." Many tributes have applied the words "warrior," "compassion," "goodness," “honesty,” “sacrifice” and “truthfulness." Glen was relentless in his quest for justice, and almost none of his colleagues knew that he campaigned despite a difficult and sometimes painful illness.
Glen was most self-effacing, but I believe he would have allowed for himself an honest obituary written by a close friend. He leaves behind many deeply indebted former devotees and others around the world. He leaves a son Glen Junior, and former wife and still friend of 26 years, Carolyn Wunderlich.
Barry Pittard, Australia. firstname.lastname@example.org Phone, Intnl: 61 7 5478 6007.