To the Shambhala Community –
The Interim Board has engaged a third-party investigative firm to help us better understand what occurred in the Michael Smith case. Smith was arrested pending allegations of child sexual assault. Two women, both of whom he had contact with through the Shambhala community, came forward independently of each other after reading about the arrest of another former Shambhala member.
We have now retained outside counsel through Employment Matters LLC Flynn Investigations Group (“EMFIG”), a Colorado law firm with extensive experience in helping organizations address allegations of sexual assault, harassment and misconduct. The purpose of this investigation is not to determine whether criminal activity occurred–that is being handled by Colorado and Vermont local police. Rather, this investigation is intended to examine how Shambhala handled its knowledge and reporting of alleged child sexual abuse.
The results of the investigation will allow us to better understand what occurred, including an examination of the cultural context and reporting requirements at the time. This will enable us to improve our policies and procedures going forward.
If any member of the community has information related to this case, please email Mark Flynn at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you know of any former members who have information, please encourage them to write the third party investigator because this community update goes only to current members.
If community members are aware of any other suspected cases of abuse, please notify email@example.com. Instances of criminal conduct, including sexual assault or child abuse will be reported to the appropriate law enforcement authorities.
Forthcoming updates on Care and Conduct will be sent to the community in our August update.
The Shambhala Interim Board