Canadian spiritual leader John de Ruiter has reportedly been released on bail in a case accusing him of sexually assaulting four women.
De Ruiter, 63, leader of an Edmonton-based spiritual group College of Integrated Philosophy – or Oasis Group – was arrested Jan. 21 for allegedly engaging in sex acts with four female group members between 2017 and 2020, according to Canadian broadcaster CBC.
“It was reported that the accused informed certain female group members that he was directed by a spirit to engage in sexual activity with them, and that engaging in sexual activity with him will provide them an opportunity to achieve a state of higher being or spiritual enlightenment,” Edmonton police said in a statement Monday.
On Friday, Edmonton provincial Judge Randal Brandt granted $30,000 cash bail for de Ruiter on the conditions he doesn’t contact the alleged victims and their families — and stays away from their schools, work and places of worship.
He also can’t leave Alberta and he can’t be alone with any women without supervision, except for his wife and daughters.
Lawyer Dino Bottos said the charges will be “hotly contested” by de Ruiter, and that the case would be pinned on the question of whether the encounters were consensual and whether the women expected to level-up spiritually because of them.
De Ruiter is the self-appointed leader of the nearly 20-year-old group that has over 300 members.
A former shoemaker and Christian preacher, de Ruiter began holding meetings at his home and founded his philosophy in 2006. He regularly holds spiritual retreats and regular meetings where he’s known for staring at followers for hours.
The married defendant admits on his website he has “consensual sexual relations with women beyond the traditional scope of marriage.”