43-year-old Konstantin Rudnyov, who claims to be an alien spiritual master from the star Sirius, was arrested in Russia on charges that he created a "nationwide totalitarian sect that brainwashed and sexually abused members," according to police today.
Rudnyov was detained in a cottage owned by the group in Novosibirsk on Sept. 30 along with 38 followers, all citizens of Russia and Ukraine. Among them were four teenage girls whose parents had reported them as missing, police said in a statement. A package containing 4 grams of heroin was found in the pocket of Rudnyov's shirt, the statement said.
Ashram Shambala, established more than 20 years ago, grew into a powerful cult with branches in many cities across Russia in the late 1990s, the local branch of the Investigative Committee said in a statement posted on its web site Tuesday.
Rudnyov, who claimed to be an alien sent to Earth to enlighten mankind, combined Oriental esoterica and the writings of Carlos Castaneda with elements of yoga and shamanism in his teaching, investigators said. The group also offered yoga courses and self-help camps that attracted thousands of people.
Practices in the ashram reportedly involved orgies in which young female members were coerced into sex with senior members. Oh, and everyone had to turn their property over to the head alien in charge. More in the Moscow Times. Here's the official ITAR-TASS news release about the arrest. This is definitely not the first time Rudnyov has been detained by police. Still more here.