In 1981, the Indian guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, his personal assistant Ma Anand Sheela, and their community of followers purchased the Big Muddy Ranch near the tiny Oregon town of Antelope. The ambitious experiment soon ignited great concern among the citizens of Antelope as well as among state and federal officials. The resulting legal and cultural controversies – many of them caused or exacerbated by supporters of the Bhagwan – played out in state and national media and in state and federal courtrooms.
Ability Accommodation Information
This event provides the following accommodations:
- Handicap Accessible
In this event, the U.S. District Court of Oregon Historical Society and the Oregon Historical Society are pleased to welcome leading advocates from both sides of the Rajneeshpuram episode, who will address issues that continue to reverberate today. Three speakers made prominent appearances in the highly acclaimed Nefflix documentary Wild Wild Country. The discussion will be moderated by Oregon Supreme Court Justice Tom Balmer.
- Philip Toelkes (a.k.a. Swami Prem Niren), attorney for the Rajneesh
- Robert Weaver, assistant U.S. attorney at the time and lead federal prosecutor
- William Gary, lead counsel for Oregon Attorney General Dave Frohnmayer on the matter
- U.S. Magistrate Judge John Jelderks who presided over a number of the state court legal proceedings