Ezra Bayda, the previous trainer at Zen Heart of San Diego, and two of his former college students have settled a civil lawsuit alleging sexual assault and harassment out of court docket for an undisclosed amount of cash earlier this yr, Tricycle has realized.
The 2 girls filed the civil lawsuit in San Diego Superior Courtroom in Might 2020, court docket paperwork present. Each girls allege “grotesque acts of sexual assault and battery” in opposition to them from Bayda all through their year-long intervals as pupil and trainer. The civil lawsuit additionally named Zen Heart of San Diego (ZCSD) as a defendant, and the grievance alleged six counts in opposition to Bayda and ZCSD, together with sexual battery, battery, gender violence, sexual harassment, intentional infliction of emotional misery, and negligence. A jury trial had been set for March of this yr.
ZCSD didn’t return a number of requests for remark. A assertion just lately posted on the Zen heart’s homepage mentioned the settlement. “As a part of the phrases of that settlement, all events have acknowledged that the settlement constitutes a compromise of disputed claims that’s not to be construed as an admission of legal responsibility on the a part of any get together,” the assertion reads, including that the middle is dedicated to offering a secure apply setting, and linking to their moral insurance policies and sexual misconduct grievance process.
Bayda has been practising meditation since 1970, in accordance with his biography, and obtained dharma transmission from Charlotte Joko Beck (1917-2011), who based the ZCSD in 1983. He’s the writer of quite a few books, together with Getting older for Inexperienced persons and Being Zen: Bringing Meditation to Life.
In line with ZCSD, in late July 2019 the Zen heart’s board of trustees “obtained verbal accounts of allegations of sexual misconduct by Ezra Bayda.” Bayda was “instantly suspended” from educating, as was Elizabeth Hamilton, a lead trainer at ZCSD and Bayda’s spouse. The middle employed Religion Belief Institute to conduct an impartial investigation. (Religion Belief Institute is a multifaith, multicultural nonprofit group based in 1977 that gives coaching and consultancy work in hope of ending sexual and home violence.)
Following FTI’s investigation, the ZCSD board unanimously voted to fireside Bayda as a trainer, saying “there was credible proof that Ezra dedicated a number of situations of sexual misconduct with multiple pupil in violation of ZCSD’s Coverage on Sexual Misconduct and the White Plum Asanga’s Code of Moral Conduct.”
Hamilton, in accordance with ZCSD, was not accused of sexual misconduct, however the board “voted unanimously to ask Elizabeth for her quick resignation on the premise of her breaching the WPA’s Code of Moral Conduct because it pertains to confidentiality, proper speech, and twin relationships.”
The go well with additionally claims that the accusers reported Bayda’s inappropriate conduct and assault to the ZCSD board in 2018, and that the board “investigated” however didn’t interview the accusers or cease Bayda from educating.
Bayda, in an e-mail, mentioned each he and Hamilton “want all good issues sooner or later” for the 2 former college students, and that they “hope that they proceed with their apply and have completely satisfied lives.” Bayda added that he and Hamilton “are completely satisfied that the litigation is resolved, and need the most effective for everybody concerned.”
When requested to explain the phrases of the settlement in a follow-up e-mail, Bayda mentioned: “My vow as a trainer has all the time been to do no hurt, and I don’t consider that speaking in regards to the particulars of this case could be of profit to anybody.” Bayda mentioned that each he and Hamilton are educating informally at a retirement heart, in addition to with college students by cellphone.
The plaintiffs declined to remark for this story. Their lawyer, William F. Small III, advised Tricycle that the violation of the student-teacher relationship “obtained to the core of what this case was about” and “one of many the reason why the wrongs that had been dedicated had been so devastating to my purchasers.”
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