It would seem that William Cassidy is back to his antics. When reading his material, be careful not to be lured by his conning ways. Remember that he came to the Buddhist Center, Kunzang Palyul Choling claiming to be dying of stage four lung cancer…hmmm, that was in 2007 and apparently there was no sign of that disease while undergoing kidney stone surgery in the federal prison located in Baltimore, MD in 2011. There are no records to indicate heart surgery or even a heart attack while in custody, as Cassidy claims. Blog investigators did find however evidence of him undergoing kidney and gallbladder surgery. Ouch, okay, maybe that was painful, but also something remedied with a good diet.
You can find out about William Cassidy, who now at least admits he uses the name Tenpa Rinpoche, by reading our blog post of Dec 8, 2010 Con-pendium [http://protectingnyingma2.wordpress.com/2010/12/08/william-l-cassidy-a-conpendium/]. It’s hard to know what is fact and what is fiction with Cassidy. Jeff Krouk (JCrow) has no information posted on his sites about a relief fund. Jeff Krouk is also associated with Triratna, an international Buddhist community, formerly the Friends of the Western Buddhist Order (FWBO). It’s a fellowship of Buddhists, however not widely credible. With a recent post of ours as an advocate for a Buddhist artist, we received comments almost immediately as to their affiliation with Triratna and that a reputable Buddhist organization such as ourselves should be careful advocating a less than credible organization such as Triratna. We promptly did our homework, and thanked those readers for helping us understand more about the organization. Those posts have been removed. Unfortunately, there are illegitimate Buddhist organizations out there, and hence our motivation for creating this blog; to help those truly interested in the Dharma, to find qualified teachers and organizations.
If you’re looking for a job, and take Cassidy up on his offer, all we can do is caution you, and encourage you to do your homework. This is a violent felon, who has a track record in Las Vegas for being involved with the mob, and being arrested for raping his ex-wife (plead down to aggravated assault) and burning down her place of business. Since returning to his blog after detainment, the woman he refers to in a recent post as his ex-personal attendant was a nun for twenty years, and dropped her robes to be with him, only to discover who he really is. Yes, we can only imagine how broken she must be. By the way, his FJ was long gone before the arrest.
While he would like his readers to believe he is the victim in this situation, we encourage you to know all the facts before making a final decision. This is the same man who was indicted by a grand jury for sending over 8,000 defaming, harassing, and threatening tweets to a woman. While he makes claims to have never met Andrew Wilson, who is spending his days filling up tweet streams about his tragic experience with an FBI raid (…but wait a second, wasn’t that because his computer was linked to a series of threatening tweets to the same woman?) we can’t help but believe they are a toxic twosome.
Who is the real victim here? The National Center for Victims of Crime has an opinion, and we encourage you to read more about that here [National_Center_for_Victims_of_Crime_-_Amicus_Brief_in_Support_of_Govt's_Opposition].
Our investigators are headed out to Maryland to visit Jetsunma’s organization, KPC and make offerings to the many Stupas and altars, which have been blessed by the many great Lamas such as His Holiness Penor Rinpoche, His Holiness Karma Kuchen Rinpoche, His Eminence Mugsang Tulku, Venerable Gyaltrul Rinpoche, His Holiness Kusum Lingpa, and many more. KPC is rich in tradition, and has received the entire Rinchen Terzog, and Nam Cho cycle of teachings and empowerment. Have a great time investigators.
From a Reader:
Like so many who follow the Buddhist Teacher, Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo (@JALpalyul) on Twitter, I was deeply saddened to see her tweets this week explaining that the case United States vs.Cassidy had been dismissed by the judge and worse—that William L. Cassidy had actually been released from prison.
Early on, in following Jetsunma online, I became more interested in her, and her life’s work. In my research, I learned that William Cassidy conned his way into Jetsunma’s Buddhist community in 2007 by impersonating a dying, homeless Tulku. Unfortunately, unaware that she was being deceived, Jetsunma immediately offered him safe refuge at her retreat land in Arizona. It would appear that he wove his way into her community pretty quickly, and a short time later she and her community learned that William Cassidy wasn’t a real Tulku, or had even given his real name to them at introduction. Jetsunma’s trust was damaged, but thinking he was terminally ill she offered to let him live out his days at the home of some of her students. A few months later his real identity was revealed. As it turns out, William Cassidy is a convicted felon, having been charged with first-degree arson, attempted battery constituting domestic violence and raping his wife. While he was conning Jetsunma and her community he was in violation of his parole.
If there’s one thing a conman doesn’t like it’s his game being revealed. In the wake of Jetsunma and her community discovering who Cassidy really is, it seems he became very angry, and left taking with him one of Jetsunma’s students (a nun) who still believed he was a dying Tulku. He and the nun disappeared into a remote piece of property in California, where he waged an online war against Jetsunma for the next two years.
As one of Jetsunma’s followers on Twitter, I watched what Cassidy did to her. He had two purposes: to discredit Jetsunma as a Buddhist Teacher, and to torment her endlessly. He used his main blog, Digitial Tibetan Buddhist Altar, to write diatribes against her under his fake identity as a Tulku. He started numerous other “anonymous” blogs to attack her. He attacked her relentlessly on Twitter. When she blocked an account of his, he’d open several more, all with unique names and personalities (you can read about this in the affidavit). He’d lure her in as a follower and then start his attack. He said unbelievably horrid things to her—things I cannot bring myself to repeat. He told her to kill herself over and over and described how she should do it. He sent what I would consider death threats and described ways to maim her. Jetsunma tweeted about how he tore into her childhood trauma in a way that was particularly vicious. Personally I’ve never seen someone so obsessed with causing harm to another being. Finally—thankfully—the FBI intervened and arrested him.
In his time on Twitter, Cassidy had gathered a handful of followers who continued to harass Jetsunma and attempted to destroy her good name and accomplishments while Cassidy was detained.
However, with at least some reprieve from the frenzy of hatred directed at her, Jetsunma continued with Twitter and her blog. She teaches online, advises students and followers, inspires others to live a more compassionate life and generally raises the vibration of the world. She is truly a joyful presence. Jetsunma is engaged in the world and is up-to-date on all the news. She tweeted appeals for prayer during terrible disasters like the Japanese earthquake and tsunami. She comforts those whose lives were shattered by the tornados and hurricanes, and by the manmade disasters of our nation’s economy. She adopted abused dogs whose tragic stories were shared on Twitter and rallied for the dozens of abused and neglected parrots inTroy,Ohio. She supports theOccupy Wall Streetmovement with tweets, prayers, and personal donations of supplies, clothing and homemade feasts. She is determined to bring peace and stability to our nation and our world and to restore balance to our fragile ecosystems. With all this compassionate activity online she manages to maintain a large community of monks, nuns and lay practitioners, a temple and numerous Stupas. She invites other Buddhist Teachers from her lineage as well as others to teach at her temple in Maryland. She is singularly concerned with the welfare of beings. Day in and day out I’ve watched Jetsunma live with her heart wide open to the suffering all around her and to take action to stop it however she can.
But as the doors to Cassidy’s prison cell swing open, the doors to Jetsunma’s personal freedom slam shut. Her life is once again at risk, and if his past is any indication Cassidy will come out much angrier than he went in. Jetsunma has openly expressed her fear to the point she cannot remain in her own home. She recently blogged how she is forced to live “underground” in ever-changing unnamed locations because of one man who has given the world nothing but sorrow throughout his life. Does this seem fair?
What kind of nation allows the dangerous to roam free while the innocent live in fear for their lives? When will women’s safety and rights become a front-burner concern for those who make our laws? As Martin Luther King, Jr. famously said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
The investigators with Protecting Nyingma uncovered an interesting coincidence and shared with our readers last April. Bill Cassidy’s blog, Digital Tibetan Buddhist Altar, had not seen any activity since February 15th of this year…until December 22nd when he was released from detainment.
Coincidentally or not, investigators discovered that Tulku Ogyen’s blog, ogyentulku.blogspot.com, had no new posts since January 18th. Could there possibly be a connection? It will be interesting to see if his blog suddenly shows signs of activity. Is it possible that Tulku Ogyen’s blog was hijacked by Cassidy? Only time will tell, but it is an interesting fact.
In the past we could direct you our post, A Concerned Student Speaks Up, dated February 26, 2010 that discussed the connection between Tulku Ogyen and William Cassidy, however that student has asked us to remove the post now that Cassidy has been released, as they fear for their safety and the safety of their family. William Cassidy is known for retribution.
It is hard to imagine why a real tulku such as Tulku Ogyen would want anything to do with a violent felon such as William Cassidy who lies about being a tulku and launched virulent and threatening attacks on other authentic tulkus online. Certainly it is hard to see how it could be for the benefit of sentient beings, which is supposed to be the one and only purpose for which tulkus appear in the world. Again, one can only speculate.
Attention readers. William L. Cassidy has been released from detainment, and is currently a free man. We await the decision regarding the government’s position to appeal. Please stay tuned. Please refer to our post CONpendium (http://protectingnyingma2.wordpress.com/2010/12/08/william-l-cassidy-a-conpendium/) to know and familiarize yourself with the history of this man.
William Cassidy was indicted for violating the Interstate Stalking Act, 18 U.S.C. 2261 (A)(2)(A) and 2261(A)(2)(B) (2006). Section 2261(A)(2)(A) reads, in relevant part:
Whoever, with the intent to kill, injure, harass, or place under surveillance with the intent to kill, injure harass, or intimidate, or cause substantial emotional distress to a person in another state … uses any interactive computer service, or facility of interstate commerce to engage in a course of conduct that causes substantial emotional distress to that person or places that person in reasonable fear of the death of that person … is guilty of a crime.
Apparently Article III Judge Roger Titus forgot to read this or decided he didn’t have to. Wonder what the judge would think if this were happening to his wife, daughter, granddaughter or niece.
The rise of cyber bullying and cyber stalking across America has begged the question of when do we intervene before violence occurs? Does Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo, a Buddhist Master, Teacher, and Spiritual Director of a well-established Buddhist Temple, Kunzang Palyul Choling have to be harmed before it gets the attention of the law makers? A recognized and enthroned (i.e. credentialed) Buddhist Teacher she is and has spent her entire life bringing benefit to sentient beings is now being tossed aside in a court of law because the judge refuses to understand social media, and apply the law appropriately. He uses colonial time (really?) as a frame of reference, and states that Twitter is like a bulletin board. Will the real judge show up?
Judge Titus, it’s almost 2012, not 1612. And, Twitter is an interactive, dynamic, conversation that does in fact encourage people to engage with one another DIRECTLY, and not necessarily through direct messaging…that is the whole point of the “@” sign. We have to assume and believe that if one can rise to the occasion of a judge, once can rise to the occasion of understanding this social network service that has swept the nation literally overnight. We encourage him to sit down with a grandchild and get “trained up.”
There is growing support online for the judge and court systems to pay attention to what is happening in this country. It would seem we are being more and more controlled by government systems. Interestingly, government agencies that are trying to be fair, and bring justice are being scrutinized and monitored by higher levels of government. It almost feels like ethnic cleansing.
The amazing part of the story here is Jetsunma’s ability and skillful means to bring Dharma to the masses through this process. A Buddhist Teacher now teaches the Federal Court and Judicial System, and speaks to the basic human rights of all Americans. The haters can continue to hate, and it is true that William Cassidy may go free, but the trail that Jetsunma has blazed is immeasurable in its benefit. Her Twitter followers are more than 40,000 and growing. The online activity with news of the ruling is pervasive and the momentum of the “people speak” is hitting news headlines.
William Cassidy harassed and threatened Jetsunma through blogs and twitter for more than two years, yet she has taken the high road of utilizing the law, the judiciary process, to show that unlike Cassidy, she is not a con, she does not have to resort to criminal activity, that she respects and appreciates the law, yet now, in this time, at this juncture, the very process she has chosen to use and advocate is backstabbing her; hanging her out to dry. Why? Well, Judge Titus was appointed by George Bush, maybe that has something to do with it.
This remains an issue of cyber stalking, and now an issue of serving justice within justice, and rights of people to feel safe, to feel protected by their government, for victim’s rights, for women’s rights.
The court’s ruling impacts the ability of law enforcement to protect victims of interstate stalking. This court could help determine whether this particular class of stalkers will be held criminally liable and their victims protected under law. It’s a big deal.
Article III Federal Judge, Roger W. Titus is in favor of online harassment and threats to citizens of this country based on his ruling December 15, 2011 stating that he grants the motion to dismiss the indictment against William Lawerence Cassidy, and that further motions filed by Cassidy are moot.
It’s amazing how the internet plays a role in our lives today, and how some people can take the very technology that saves lives, and use it to destroy others. Judge Titus rules that the violent and threatening tweets by William Cassidy against a Buddhist Teacher and Spiritual Leader summing over 8,000 for more than 18 months are protected under free speech. What? That’s right folks, it’s okay to be a stalker over the internet (and we assume if you come with a violent past and criminal record that’s a bonus) and spend your life destroying another for the sake of … jealousy? Greed? Anger? Or D) all the above.
This is a shocking ruling when you consider that the “free speech” Tweets, sent by William Cassidy to well-known Buddhist leader Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo (Alyce Zeoli), comprise literally thousands of threats and disparaging comments, sent from several different accounts. The experience of it kept Jetsunma in her home for over a year so afraid to leave her property and risk that Cassidy would harm her. With his imminent release we can only imagine how frightened Jetsunma must feel.
This ruling is all the more surprising given all the attention that cyber bullying has gotten in the past year, as so-called “harmless” online communications has led to increased suicide statistics (among youth). There is also research that shows that constant monitoring of phone texts among teenage cyber bullying, which can also translate to twitter streams creates as much emotional damage and anxiety as those comments would in person.
Everything about Cassidy’s actions was extreme, from the content of his Tweets to the frequency of them to the manner in which he doled them out. This is not speech to be safeguarded. The judge cited in so many words that since Jetsunma is a “public figure” she should expect such harassment. What? This is hate, pure and simple, being spewed at someone in a public way in the hopes of exacting an emotional price.
Who knows what Judge Titus was thinking when he made this decision, but one thing is for sure, he wasn’t thinking about the victim. He needs to learn that what happens online has a very direct and real consequence.
Cyber bullying is the use of the Internet or related technologies to harm other people, in a deliberate, repeated, and hostile manner. Cyber stalking is the use of the Internet or other electronic means to stalk or harass an individual, a group of individuals, or an organization. It may include false accusations, monitoring, making threats, identity theft, damage to data or equipment, the solicitation of minors for sex, or gathering information in order to harass. The definition of “harassment” must meet the criterion that a reasonable person in possession of the same information would regard it as sufficient to cause another reasonable person distress. Cyber stalking is different from spatial or offline stalking. However, it sometimes leads to it, or is accompanied by it.
We think Cassidy meets the requirement of the definitions.
Judge Titus dismissed the ruling because he likened Twitter to critical postings on a public message board, rather than harassing someone with phone calls or private emails. “While Mr. Cassidy’s speech may have inflicted substantial emotional distress, the government’s indictment here is directed squarely at protected speech: anonymous, uncomfortable Internet speech addressing religious matters.”
Judge Titus has also missed the point that the indictment was more about harassment and threats, and less about religion or if someone is a public figure or not. We certainly hope that the government will seek an appeal and justice can be served, finally.
There has been a lot of talk about the book, Buddha From Brooklyn, written and published in the 1990s by Martha Sherrill. During the course of research, our writers noticed the nice and relatively new website by Martha Sherrill: http://marthasherrill.com/. Martha now lives in Massachusetts with her family after spending time in California, and the Washington DC area. She has published four books, one of which is a story of Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo, the founder and spiritual director of Kunzang Palyul Choling, a Buddhist temple in Maryland. For more information on Jetsunma and KPC you can visit their website at www.tara.org. Sherrill’s book was written from her very ordinary perspective. In fact, we are told that it wasn’t until the book was published that members of KPC actually knew what was going to be in the book. Apparently Sherrill put a nice little fictitious twist about half way through the book without any facts to back up her claims. We are told that members of KPC were shocked to read what actually came out in the book.
One could argue that the damage the book has caused to Jetsunma and KPC is tremendous (it’s been posted all over the internet, and even used in William Cassidy’s defense tactics). However, we have found many in our research that indicated it was how they found KPC, and so grateful that they did. The controversy did not sway them from wanting to know more about Buddhism, and Jetsunma. Further, after learning of Jetsunma’s recognition by the late His Holiness Penor Rinpoche and the tremendous support from His Holiness Karma Kuchen Rinpoche, any doubt soon dissipated http://protectingnyingma2.wordpress.com/2010/05/29/smokescreen/.
Sherrill has no comment regarding her book, or the lies the book holds, even after the confession of Michelle Grissom, who was interviewed in depth by Sherrill for the book and spoke many untruths herself. http://icarusancalion.livejournal.com/894371.html
We are told that some folks from KPC actually tried to make contact with Martha, and she wouldn’t return phone calls or emails. They simply wanted to understand why she wrote stories about them that were not true. Perhaps she was more interested in fame instead of the truth.
Let’s ask a few questions. How does one write such a book about a recognized and enthroned Tulku, yet doesn’t even consider herself Buddhist? How is it that she would understand the Teacher / Student relationship, which is the very heart of Vajrayana Buddhism. No, Martha was looking for a story, and took something precious, made Hollywood out of it, and then called it non-fiction.
We found a quote from Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo that seems appropriate here:
“The enemy is a Dharma in disguise. Gently observe subjective/ objective hope/fear and gain experience to go deeper.”