ACodo | Indy Week

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Re: “The two faces of Bo Lozoff

Good point cchaf, but I might add some qualifications. Some of the critical posters may have direct personal experience that corroborates many of the central issues of their criticism, if not the specifics. Some of the critical posters may be basing their criticism solely on the undisputed documentary evidence (2002 letter, for example) or on Bo's various confessions. And finally, some critical posters might have been willing to defend Bo as having for many years exemplified transcendent values, but found, to their deep embarrassment, that Bo is no longer even approximating those values.

You are so correct that the whole story has not been told. I have personally witnessed enough of it myself, that I do not believe that what turns up will be favorable to Bo. I know enough about my own failings to realize that I am no better than Bo and that I am not qualified to say where Bo went wrong. I know from my own personal experience that the problems in Bo's life are very real and were not brought on by the Indy. Therefore criticizing the Indy, or the women, or the critical posters for that matter, will not make those problems go away.

What I say with certainty is that Bo will never heal any of this through anger, not in himself, not in the women, and not in the community. And I believe with all my heart that Bo would say the same himself if he weren't so angry.

Posted by ACodo on 09/03/2008 at 12:34 AM

Re: “The two faces of Bo Lozoff

Eklutna has already pointed out that the private solution was tried in 2002 (see document link above, search for "He also mentioned his conduct to select community members in a 2002 letter"). Koonarishi's pleas for privacy are compelling on many levels, and a good addition to the debate, but honest and well-intentioned people may have other valid perspectives.

I for one am grateful for the information I've gotten from the Indy article, the transcript of the interview with Bo, and related documents. It helps in answering questions like: Do I continue to support HKF? Do I continue to promote HKF projects among my circle of family and friends? Do I continue to recommend volunteering at HKF to family and friends? Given the extent that I have done these things in the past, I wish I'd had this information about Bo's confessed actions years ago.

Bo would have been far better off, both in reputation and privacy, if he had begun the Indy interview in the following way. "Matt, publish whatever your conscience allows, I'm going to trust you, but will you also please publish this statement from me? 'Friends and supporters, it looks like I've just gotten some hard messages from God. First, I want to publicly apologize to all the women that I have wronged, starting with my wife, Sita. Second, I want to know from these women if there are ways I can make amends, again starting with my wife, Sita.'" And so on... It is likely that the Indy would have published the statement prominently, and the tone of the article would have been very different. Most of the interview transcript, far more disturbing than the article itself, would never even have happened, much less have been made public. And Bo would have taken a huge first step in rebuilding the trust that his actions have damaged.

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by ACodo on 09/02/2008 at 10:24 PM

Re: “The two faces of Bo Lozoff

koonarishi, as I've already pointed out in a previous post:

INDY: "Did she say that she only wanted touching, and chakra work, and didnt want sex?"

BO LOZOFF: "There was no chakra work. There was no discussion of chakra work."

INDY: "But she didnt say that she just wanted to snuggle and kiss, but not intercourse?"

BO LOZOFF: "Im not going to. I dont know what our conversation was, but if youre implying that I coerced her sexually, Ive never done that."

This describing a potentially coercive incident less than two years ago, read the transcript (link at the top) for more details.

As to your posts, their general tone might strike a long-term HKF supporter as falling well short of honoring the "human kindness" in Human Kindness Foundation. If we (all of us, Bo included) can't clean up our own act by at least honoring HKF's stated values, perhaps we need to reconsider our very existence as an organization.

I think your more recent posts show real progress toward honoring HKF values. My sincere thanks.

Posted by ACodo on 09/02/2008 at 1:35 PM

Re: “The two faces of Bo Lozoff

Yes, cchaf, very well said, but one crucial point needs to be made. Bo would probably agree that without two women, Sita (his wife) and Catherine, HKF could never exist. Bo is the point man, the money raiser, while two women grind out the glamorless effort that actually gets the good work in the world done. It doesn't take much thought to realize that all of this, and we are talking here about a decades-long pattern of infidelity to Sita, must be very painful for Sita and Catherine. Bo has now publicly admitted much of this, and he has certainly acknowledged the pain he has caused Sita.

What he hasn't done is properly acknowledge the harm he has done to his other sexual partners. He has not properly acknowledged the ego issues that led him into this trap. Finally, he apparently has not stopped the infidelity. His comment that "that was not a secret from my wife" (from transcript) doesn't quite cover the real issues here.

When you take a big step back, you start to see a pattern of abuse of women. Not physical abuse to be sure, but damaging just the same. Bo's use of "consensual sex" in this context merely covers the legal issue. From the transcript:

INDY: "Did she say that she only wanted touching, and chakra work, and didnt want sex?"

BO LOZOFF: "There was no chakra work. There was no discussion of chakra work."

INDY: "But she didnt say that she just wanted to snuggle and kiss, but not intercourse?"

BO LOZOFF: "Im not going to. I dont know what our conversation was, but if youre implying that I coerced her sexually, Ive never done that."

We are not talking about one emotionally fragile woman who misunderstood Bo. We are talking about a pattern involving at least five emotionally fragile, emotionally vulnerable women. Convincing women with very sad sexual histories to engage in any sexual practice which has any significant chance of damaging them really only makes moral sense if you are also committing yourself to picking up the pieces. Marriage is one such commitment. The fact that Bo continued a relationship with a woman after she married, thereby potentially damaging her marriage to someone who was committed to picking up the pieces, speaks volumes.

The spiritual grace Bo has brought to prisoners is public and beyond dispute. Some of the secret damage Bo has brought into the lives of these women has now come to light. Are the supporters and defenders of HKF willing to sacrifice five women on the altar of Bo's ego to benefit one hundred ex-cons? How about sacrificing twenty-five women for a thousand ex-cons?

From the transcript: "And I cant apologize for that. Because there are other people who are out of prison now, who would not have gotten out of prison if I hadnt fondled [REDACTED]s breast. To me, the whole thing was one piece."

HKF supporters, how can Bo continue his good work in a less damaging way? What would it take? This is what Bo needs to hear from us now.

Posted by ACodo on 09/01/2008 at 11:18 AM

Re: “The two faces of Bo Lozoff

I wish to express my gratitude to Lisa Sorg, Indy editor, for such a clear demonstration of constructive solutions.

1 like, 1 dislike
Posted by ACodo on 08/31/2008 at 4:59 PM

Re: “The two faces of Bo Lozoff

Reading the interview transcript, whatever you might believe about Bo and his transcendent service to us all, it's a bitter disappointment having to acknowledge Bo's manifest poor judgment throughout this scandal.

This excerpt from the interview illustrates the pattern well:

INDY: "[REDACTED]is a corrections employee who visited HKF on several occasion during ex-con/corrections employee retreats in the early 2000s. During her first visit, she performed oral sex on you during a one-one-one meeting. You began contact by kissing and touching her, while counseling her about being stuck in her second chakra. You explained that you lived an abstinent life, and that this was an aberration."

BO LOZOFF: "Well, I dont know about my conversation with [REDACTED]. I did have a sexual encounter with [REDACTED] during her visit. I notice a name youre not naming here is Kevin Dessert, and I have a hunch..." {And so on...}

Oral sex from a corrections employee on her first HKF visit seems extremely poor judgement, in so many ways, considering the importance of the institution she represents to HKF's mission, as well as the potential effects on her emotional health and her career. Bo practically ignores the allegation; instead, he jumps right into discrediting the witness. Throughout the interview Bo's responses remind me of that typical con rap about a malicious prosecutor and an unreliable witness getting him convicted. Bo did the crime, he admittedly betrayed his wife, his community, his many supporters, and the program. He comes across like an aggressive defense attorney trying to get his client off on a technicality, when he might be better served by a unqualified mea culpa.

On the bullying/intimidation issue, Bo's behavior in the interview makes it completely believable to a reader who doesn't know him or the program. Bo comes out swinging (verbally) at a meeting with a potentially hostile adversary who holds all the trump cards. Among the issues, known in advance, were bullying and intimidation. From the interview:

BO LOZOFF: "I dont remember that detail. But I will tell you, eye to eye, that I have never threatened or come close to any sort of violence, and if you print the word 'violence' and you editorialize, Im absolutely going to take you to task for it in every responsible way that I can. I have screamed at people at people in Kindness House. And if you go to TROSA, right here in Durham, and sit in on one of their evening sessions, in a community of ex-cons and addicts, youll hear constant screaming. I hope you do your homework. A couple of times a year, I might have erupted and screamed at people in Kindness House, and I just want you to know, if you editorialize that with 'violence', if you even imply slightly that I threatened violence against anybody, or that I almost committed violence against anybody, youre way, way out of your league, because that never happened."

INDY: "Is that a threat right there? Youre saying, 'If you.'"

BO LOZOFF: "I said I will take you to task. Why are you so against me? We just met."

I've spent a little time with Bo and have broken bread at Kindness House. I know from personal experience how hard some of these parolees can be, and I am not convinced about the validity of the whole bullying/intimidation issue. But, and this is my point really, I absolutely understand how Bo's conduct in the interview could have reinforced its validity in Matt's mind.

This is a Greek tragedy in which an intelligent, even brilliant, charismatic leader who has dedicated so much of this life to serve the hardest people imaginable, gets caught dealing some really low cards off the bottom of the deck. The politically savvy solution, the spiritually correct solution (according to Bo's professed values), and the least damaging solution for Bo and the community would be for him to take full, unqualified personal responsibility for his poor judgment. By unqualified, I mean "I did it, it was wrong, and I am sorry" period, no excuses, no rationalizations, no references to anyone's failings but one's own.

Anyone who has ever worked professionally with women damaged by unconventional sexual practices can tell you that there are likely many more women who have not yet come forward. Perhaps they are well married to a man who might not understand, or they need to protect their kids, and so on. Eklutna, for example, might be a professional treating one such woman. Bo's reference to "too much therapy" practically taunts these other women to come forward. Think how relieved these women would be if Bo issued a public appology and an offer to make amends.

I do think Matt, his editor, and the Indy completely blew it with the Oprah/Satan/Jesus comment, leaving the Indy wide open to the "tabloid journalism" charge. It muddies the water in a situation where the community really needs clarity.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by ACodo on 08/31/2008 at 1:43 PM

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