TIMELINE RELATING TO ALLEGATIONS THAT MANOUSO MANOS SEXUALLY ABUSED STUDENTS IN HIS CLASSES
1989-90 Manouso Manos (“MM”) confesses to sexual misdeeds; other sexual misdeeds are reported in the press, and Guruji states that MM will be removed from the system if the conduct recurs.
1992-2018 Not a single ethics complaint filed with IYNAUS that alleges improper touching by MM or sexual relations between MM and his students.
3/14/18 Ann West (AW) files a complaint alleging grooming by MM in prior workshops and sexual touching by him during 2013 workshop. She states she will publicize her complaint, but is first giving IYNAUS the chance to do the right thing. She demands an independent investigation shortly thereafter. Complaint is filed with IYNAUS Ethics Committee; it is not disclosed to IYNAUS President or to other Board members.
9/7 Publication of KQED article; IYNAUS President and the board first learn of AW complaint against MM.
9/12 IYNAUS President sends a letter to the whole membership about these events and asks for comments on how to prevent sexual misconduct.
9/12-10/30 IYNAUS President receives approximately 150 emails, including many emails that make additional allegations of sexual misconduct by MM and many emails/letters supportive of MM. All these emails are later provided to Ms. Bernadette Sargeant.
9/19 Ethics Committee issues decision on AW complaint. It does not “clear” MM. It concludes that there is "insufficient information" to find that MM groomed and wrongfully touched AW. Decision is announced on MM’s website.
9/19-10/6 Portions of Ethics Committee decision is published by AW on Facebook. MM publishes whole decision on his website (with IYNAUS President’s permission). Much criticism of decision in social media and in press.
10/6-7 At meeting of all board members, the IYNAUS Board decides to require an independent investigation of AW's complaint and other complaints against MM, and the Board adopts a series of other measures designed to prevent sexual misconduct and eliminate actual or perceived barriers to filing ethics complaints.
10/10 IYNAUS Board sends letter to all IYNAUS members that summarizes decisions from 10/6-7 board meeting.
10/30 IYNAUS announces that Ms. Bernadette Sargeant will conduct the investigation of the accusations against MM. Board requests that any additional complaints be filed by 11/30 through emails to Ms. Sargeant or to IYNAUS President. The Board states that all complaints will be treated as confidential unless complainant expressly authorizes use of her or his name. Independent investigation begins.
11/8 IYNAUS Executive Council rejects MM's offer to resign from IYNAUS if it agrees to end the independent investigation. IYNAUS President invites MM to make other settlement offers in 11/9 call with MM’s lawyers. See the Clarifying Statement Page on the IYNAUS website for details.
11/15 In a letter to IYNAUS President and Board, the Iyengars question the need for and appropriateness of the independent investigation of MM and ask IYNAUS board to reconsider with “calm head and clear mind.”
11/27 In response to Iyengars’11/15 letter, IYNAUS Board states that, after reconsidering, it still believes the independent investigation is necessary. See letter here.
12/10 Meeting at RIMYI between the Iyengars and a few IYNAUS board members to discuss the independent investigation.
12/20 MM’s lawyers tell Ms. Sargeant that they will notify her during the first week of January if there are conditions in which MM will agree to sit for an interview.
2/13 Having received no communication, Ms. Sargeant asks MM’s lawyers to confirm that he doesn’t want to sit for an interview.
2/20 MM’s lawyers tell Ms. Sargent that they will tell her on 3/8 if MM will agree to be interviewed.
3/8 MM resigns from IYNAUS and announces he won’t sit for an interview. MM and his lawyers make accusations against Ms. Sargeant, the IYNAUS President and the IYNAUS Board.
3/12 MM's lawyers threaten IYNAUS and the individual board members with litigation if IYNAUS provides Ms. Sargeant's report to the Iyengars or if IYNAUS publishes the report.
3/15 The IYNAUS Board announces that independent investigation will be concluded notwithstanding MM’s resignation. See the eblast here. The Board responds to the accusations that had been made by MM and his lawyers on 3/8. In this response, IYNAUS releases the Iyengars’ 11/15 letter, IYNAUS’s 11/27 response, and MM lawyer’s letter of 3/12. Links to all these documents can be found on the Clarifying Statement Page on the IYNAUS website.
3/26 IYNAUS President receives the investigative report and executive summary of it from Ms. Sargeant. IYNAUS President receives legal advice that directors have good faith belief that sharing the report with the Iyengars is in the best interest of IYNAUS, notwithstanding MM’s resignation.
3/29 -4/3 Ms. Sargeant’s Investigative report is provided to the Iyengars, and Iyengars conclude that MM may no longer use Iyengar Yoga name and certification mark and that MM’s name will be removed from the list of certified teachers on the BKS Iyengar website.
4/4 IYNAUS receives legal advice that board has good faith belief that publishing the report is in the best interests of IYNAUS.
4/5 IYNAUS Board votes to do three things: (1) publish redacted versions of report and the executive summary, (2) bar MM from seeking reinstatement as IYNAUS member, and (3) revoke the Lighting the Way award that was given MM in 2013 and remove him from list of winners.
4/12 IYNAUS formally apologizes to the survivors of MM’s abuse in an email to the IYNAUS membership that is also provided to the press. In the afternoon session of the IYNAUS convention, Abhijata makes statement about the centrality of legitimate adjustments in Iyengar Yoga and the policy of “zero tolerance” for wrongful touch.
4/14 The independent investigation of MM is discussed at the IYNAUS Convention at the general membership meeting. IYNAUS’s forthcoming anti-abuse instructional materials for Certified Iyengar Yoga Teachers are discussed at the teachers’ meeting at the convention.