Wine-Making Sect Allegedly Enabled Guru’s Abuse ‘Lovefests’

Published By with Comments

Categorized as Uncategorized Tagged , , , , ,

A California-based spiritual organization renowned for its natural wine is being sued by several former members who allege the leader sexually assaulted them along with “hundreds—if not thousands of other young men” and the group trafficked members to the U.S. to satisfy the leader’s “uncontrollable compulsion to engage in sexual conduct with scores of men.”

Six former members of the Fellowship of Friends filed a state lawsuit against the sect—which some experts have referred to as a “cult”—and its leader Robert Earl Burton in late November. The 84-year-old teaches that most people exist in a state of “waking sleep” and urges his students to immerse themselves in high culture and art—like Renaissance paintings, rare books, opera, ballet, and wine—to become more “present” and achieve higher consciousness.

The fellowship’s 1,200-acre headquarters is in Oregon House, California, 70 miles north of Sacramento. The sprawling compound, known as Apollo, is filled with Baroque statues, fountains, elaborate gardens inspired by Versailles, hundreds of palm trees, white camels, water buffalos, a Roman-style amphitheater, and a vineyard.

Wine enthusiasts may know about the Fellowship of Friends through its award-winning winery, called Renaissance. New York Times wine critic Eric Asimov included one of its vintages on his list of “The Most Memorable Wines of 2023,” published Dec. 8.

The group also has some influence in Big Tech since many members live in the Bay Area and work in the industry. Last year, the fellowship made headlines after an ex-Google employee sued the company alleging he was fired because he complained that fellowship members dominated a business unit called Google Developer Studio. The suit was settled out of court.

The fellowship claims to have 1,500 members internationally, with about 500 to 600 living near its compound. The group recruits new members—who are required to give at least 10 percent of their income—through centers around the world. Some international members are selected to move to Oregon House where they live with Burton in his Louis XVI-style mansion filled with fine art and antiques, according to the lawsuit.

The sex abuse lawsuit claims that fellowship officers and directors knew of Burton’s abuse and “intentional targeting of young, vulnerable male members” and “enabled, covered up, aided, and abetted” in the abuse and trafficking, sometimes “procuring immigration documents, including tourist visas and religious visas” for young men to travel to the U.S. where they were “victimized” by Burton.

These allegations were first brought to light in the investigative podcast Revelations, produced by the reporter of this article, which includes interviews with six men who alleged Burton forced them to have sex with him while they were fellowship members. Two of the men, both from Eastern Europe, claimed the fellowship helped them obtain visas after they were selected by Burton to move to the U.S., and spoke of participating in sex rituals known as “Lovefests,” during which Burton attempted to have sex with 100 men in a 24-hour period.

Content retrieved from:

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Trenton, New Jersey 08618
609.396.6684 | Feedback

Copyright © 2022 The Cult News Network - All Rights Reserved