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— The Washington Post is reporting that 12 of nearly 50 Hare Krishna temples in the United States, including one in San Diego, are set to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy this month due to a $400 million lawsuit alleging child abuse at the sect's boarding schools. Ninety-one former students at the now-defunct schools are claiming they were sexually, physically, and emotionally abused at Krishna schools in Southern California, West Virginia, and the state of Washington, the paper reports. Anuttama Dasa, director of communications for the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, told the paper that the case "threatens to shut down an entire religion. We've acknowledged in the past that there was abuse at some of the schools, but we don't believe that innocent members today and our temples should be threatened with closure because of actions by some deviants from the teachings of our movement 20, 30 years ago." The suit, filed in Texas, names 30 individuals and 19 Krishna-related corporations ... Meanwhile, up in Oregon, San Diego attorney Tom May, a partner at downtown's Luce, Forward, Hamilton, & Scripps, has come to the defense of a wilderness school for troubled teenagers that is under fire by the state for allegedly mistreating its students. Last week an Oregon judge slapped a temporary restraining order against the Obsidian Schools Wilderness Program after state investigators claimed that counselors didn't provide adequate care for four students with infections, frostbite, and a ruptured appendix, reports the Seattle Times. The Oregon Department of Justice has also lodged a racketeering complaint against the school, alleging criminal negligence in the death of a student in 2000. May's daughter, who attends the school, was cited by the state as a student whose finger had turned green after an untreated infection. He told the paper that the charges were overblown. "Her finger wasn't green," May was quoted as saying. "You know what it was? An ingrown fingernail." May added that the judge's order to move the students out of their forest snow camp and back to the school's headquarters in Bend "has essentially halted a treatment program for my daughter. This action is not in the best interest of the children and, in fact, is detrimental to them." May also was quoted as saying that rugged living conditions at the camp are a legitimate part of the school's regime. "Adversity is important. You don't grow muscles in weight-training without moving weight."

Glitter gulch San Diego's own Monsignor "Father Joe" Carroll has eked out a 4-3 vote of the Las Vegas City Council to proceed with his MASH Village homeless shelter in the city of high rollers, reports the Las Vegas Review-Journal. The council voted over the objections of Vegas mayor and attorney-to-the mob Oscar Goodman to give Carroll's group ownership of a ten-acre parcel north of downtown. "We knew it would be close," Carroll said after the vote. A year ago, after an earlier proposal was rejected, Carroll said he had been "treated like dirt" by Goodman, a longtime Carroll foe. Last week's action means that Carroll has five years to raise at least $3.5 million to build his new homeless center or the land reverts back to the city. He assured the council that a new board of directors made up of Vegas locals would cure the project's persistent fundraising difficulties.

Undisclosed San Diego location With congressional midterm election season approaching, a parade of fundraising politicians is expected here. First comes Democratic senator Joe Lieberman, who parachutes into town next week for a high-dollar fundraiser on behalf of his personal political action committee. Next in line is Vice President Dick Cheney, who has emerged from his underground warren to come to California for a $2500-a-head fundraiser for the Richard Nixon presidential library in Yorba Linda, Nixon's birthplace. After that, he heads down the road for San Diego, to attend an as yet "unspecified" fundraising event, reports the Orange County Register ... Mayor Dick Murphy is scheduled to be briefed today by his blue-ribbon committee on city finances and a tentative public airing of the committee's report at the city council Rules Committee is set for February 27, reports committee chairman Joe Craver.

Contributor: Matt Potter

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