APut 12/11 1042 Sheela-Oregon THE DALLES, Ore. (AP) -- The Oregon attorney general's offi
APut 12/11 1042 Sheela-Oregon
THE DALLES, Ore. (AP) -- The Oregon attorney general's office
has gone to court to try to bring Ma Anand Sheela, former
secretary to Indian guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, back to Wasco
County to submit to a debtor's exam.
The Oregon attorney general's office filed a motion in Wasco
County Circuit Court Thursday to bring Sheela to The Dalles, at
the state's expense, from the Pleasanton Federal Correctional
Institution in Dublin, Calif.
The state wants Sheela to take the exam to determine if she
had the resources to pay the $269,353 she owes as part of her
plea bargain agreement with Oregon authorities in April 1986.
Sheela, 38, served as secretary to the guru at his
Rajneeshpuram commune in Wasco County and headed several
Rajneeshee corporations before she left the United States and
traveled to West Germany in September 1985.
She subsequently was arrested there and extradited to the
United States to face a variety of state and federal charges,
including arson, mass poisoning, attempted murder and immigration
She pleaded guilty to, among other things, participating in a
plot to kill the guru's physician with a poison-filled syringe
and orchestrating a food-poisoning outbreak that sickened more
than 750 people in The Dalles.
Sheela was sentenced to 4 1/2 years in a federal penitentiary.
As part of a plea bargain deal, she agreed to pay the state
$469,353, but only has paid $200,000, state officials said.
As part of the agreement, she also agreed to submit to a
polygraph examination and a sworn debtor's exam, which the state
has tried to obtain for more than a year.
An affadavit signed by Assistant Attorney General H. Robert
Hamilton that accompanied the state's motion said the state
unsuccessfully tried Sept. 1 to perform the debtor's exam at the
But, the affadavit said, Sheela refused at the direction of
her attorneys to answer any questions.
Her attorneys objected to the fact the exam was to be
videotaped as well as tape recorded, the affadavit said.
Sheela has taken a debtor's exam for the U.S. attorney's
office but the state has been unable to obtain a copy of the
document, Hamilton said.
Lee Ann Baarstad, the Wasco County trial court clerk, said a
telephone conference call would be scheduled in late December to
allow Circuit Judge John Jelderks, the attorney general's staff
and Shela's attorney, Stephen A. Houze of Portland, to discuss
how to proceed with the motion.
Rajneesh, the self-described "rich man's guru," left the
United States in November 1985 after pleading guilty to
immigration charges. He now lives in Poona, India.
E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank