Paul Herder Sexual Assault Case 

Paul Herder Sexual Assault Case 


By Reza Ganjavi


MAY 2024 UPDATE: PAUL HERDER SENTENCED TO ALMOST 7 YEARS IN PRISON. KRISHNAMURTI FOUNDATION AMERICA AND OAK GROVE SCHOOL ARE NEXT FOR ASSESSMENT OF JUSTICE IN A CIVIL CASE BROUGHT BY THE VICTIM VIA HER GREAT LAWYER DAVID MCDONALD RING.

“The defendant’s actions represent a grave betrayal of trust, exploiting the position of authority to manipulate and victimize a student. This sentence serves as a clear message that such egregious violations will be met with the full force of the law.” Supervising Senior Deputy District Attorney Melissa Suttner, of the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office Sexual Assault Unit. 

Herder got convicted for two counts of luring, and one count each for anal and genital penetration by foreign objects, oral copulation of a person under 18, unlawful sexual intercourse and using a minor for sex acts, taking advantage of a position of trust or confidence to commit the offense.

~~~


Paul Herder Arrested And Charged With Serious Crimes -- UPDATE: Herder Pleads Guilty


Paul Herder, a former staff member of Brockwood Park School (KFT, Bramdean, UK), and Oak Grove School (KFA, Ojai, USA) was arrested in Hawaii on multiple criminal charges.


I first met Paul Herder when Friedrich Grohe invited him (paid for his trip) to the Swiss summer mountain gathering. Paul taught at the above Krishnamurti schools, and reportedly in places like Thailand and Panama. Paul wrote a book on what education could be in a Krishnamurti school. 


I received a note from a Krishnamurti related friend that he was arrested on horrible criminal charges. If these allegations are true and he's found guilty, that would be a true disgrace to everything Krishnamurti stood for, so this should in no way reflect poorly on the Oak Grove School or Krishnamurti Education, as hopeless as some of his foundations have become (as I have diligently documented). 


Paul Herder was arrested in Hawaii. Immediate thought when I heard that was that he may have been close to the Friedrich Grohe "Gang" (as Grohe calls them) member Rabindra Singh, who lives in Hawaii and apparently was the link for some other people in Krishnamurti Foundation America (Ojai, California), to establish ties in Hawaii, including  Jaap Sluijter, the Executive Director of KFA who was reportedly instated at KFA by Rabindra Singh / Friedrich Grohe, and given all power that led to what I believe to be disastrous mismanagement of the foundation, alienating some key supporters, etc., and lying to further his agenda, that included, in my opinion, "kissing Friedrich's behind", to cater to Big Money, as part of what appears to be heavy influence mongering of Grohe's big money (or at least the big money he was perceived to have until his Gang spent a lot of it, reportedly). 


Similar story as in Brockwood Park School where Grohe's influence mongering led to disastrous results in my view, based on extensive research and interviews with over 70 people, involving the people Grohe and his other "Gang" member Raman Patel took to Brockwood/KFT (Nasser Shamim, Mina Masoumian) which led to disasters like the collapse of Inwoods school and alienation of many parents and students and staff and volunteers and supporters, and other adverse consequences of mismanagement and power mongering -- everything that Krishnamurti dreaded. 


So Jaap became the all powerful head of KFA, who at some point said he can get the trustees to do whatever he wants -- which would have been impossible without the Grohe clout / implicit backing. Just as Nasser and Mina at Brockwood who would have never gained so much power had it not been for Grohe's backing. Once sugar hit the fan (our investigation revealed many facts they had tried to bury), Raman Patel became the head of KFT, but same old  mess continues, in our view, as long as that gang is there. Same with KFA/Ojai. Poor Krishnamurti! 


Jaap and Rabindra got engaged in real estate or what not in Hawaii - and Jaap spent a lot of time (maybe still) in Hawaii. Frode (Francis) Steen, another trustee of KFA (Rabinra is a trustee and was Secretary of the Board) also has ties to Hawaii. 


So when I heard Paul Herder was arrested in Hawaii, I wondered if he ended up in Hawaii via same lineage.


A former insider familiar with Paul wrote: 

"I never liked the guy—I know he was close to the <snipped> [term similar to the "Gang" that Friedrich Grohe uses to describe his inner circle but I will not reprint it] that you mention from Hawaii."

~~~

"Paul Herder, 65, has been arrested and is in custody in Hawaii. Herder has been charged with 23 counts, including alleged lewd acts with a child and unlawful sexual intercourse. The charges include special allegations that “the crime involved great violence, great bodily harm, threat of great bodily harm, or other acts disclosing a high degree of cruelty, viciousness, or callousness,” and “the defendant took advantage of a position of trust or confidence to commit the offense.”"

"In all, Ventura County prosecutors have filed almost two dozen felony charges and more than two dozen special allegations. Those charges include Lewd Act Upon A Child, Unlawful Sexual Intercourse, Luring, Using a Minor for Sex Acts, and other sexually explicit conduct."

"Detectives say that during Herder’s time as a teacher, he engaged in an unlawful dating relationship with a juvenile student, coerced the student to engage in numerous sexual acts, and sent harmful material to the student. Herder also possessed child pornography."

In July 2023 Paul Herder was arrested and extradited from Hawaii to Ventura County and charged with PC 288(c)(1)- Lewd Act Upon a Child, PC 261.5(c)- Unlawful Sexual Intercourse, PC 287(b)(1)- Oral Copulation of a Person Under 18, PC 289(h)- Digital Penetration of Victim Under 18 years old, PC 288.4(b)- Luring, and PC 311.4(c)- Using Minor for Sex Acts.


"Nature of Incident: Teacher Arrested for Sexual Assault on Student. Report Number: 23-1255"


Two mugshots of Paul were released (probably one in Hawaii and one in Ventura).


Most of the alleged crimes happened between 2016 and 2017.


School leadership changed in 2015 - this seems to correspond to the shift at KFA's power dynamics with Jaap Sluijter's increased power with Rabindra Singh / Friedrich Grohe backing.  According to OGS newsletters, Meredy Benson Rice - a wonderful person and great principle, was the "Head of School".  Sometime in 2015, perhaps Q3, there was a significant switch.  Willem Zwart, who was the Director of Curriculum and Instruction became the Head of School. Willem Zwert, like Jaap Sluijter is Dutch and it seems his promotion to Head of School may have been Jaap Sluijter's power maneuver. Willem remained the Head until at least June of 2017. These dates are derived from school newsletters so I don't have the exact dates. 


In 2016, with Willem as Head of School, Paul Herder gave the commencement talk. Willem gave a long introduction in praise of Paul. They seemed very close. This is not an implicit association of Willem or anyone else with the alleged charges against Paul. Just statements of opinions and facts. The thought has occurred to me, wondering, if the way the school was managed, the underlying attitude and management style and dynamics of relationships, didn't play a role in Paul's conduct, whether the allegations are true or not. I do not know the answer, but there were many alarming events during this period, at KFA, in the way it was mismanaged, in my opinion - but certainly nothing in the caliber of what Paul Herder has been charged with. Regardless, there's absolutely no excuse for Paul's Herder's behavior IF the allegations are true. I put IF in capital letters because presumption of innocence is a very important legal principle that must be respected. 


Paul's keynote speech was not inspiring at all and if anything portrayed what I believe to be a troubled mind, lacking insight and inspiration. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wzJyApiNS2E


In 2013, Paul Herder was an English teacher at Oak Grove School:




In 2013, Paul Herder's book was featured in the Oak Grove School newsletter: 



Paul's picture is in the Brockwood Observer, at an alumni meeting. 


Paul Herder's composition: "Fugitive Pieces": Paul composed music called Fugitive. It's been on YouTube since 2011, with the cover art as a strange, defaced face of himself morphing into a scared bird. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m_1PRQolhr0



Paul was charged with 23 counts of criminal conduct with large majority in 2016 and then 2017.


07/03/2023 Felony charge 288(c)(1) PC filed as count 1 with violation date of 06/05/14 00:00:00 .

07/03/2023 Felony charge 288(c)(1) PC filed as count 2 with violation date of 08/01/14 00:00:00 .

07/03/2023 Felony charge 288.4(b) PC filed as count 3 with violation date of 03/27/16 00:00:00 .

07/03/2023 Felony charge 288.4(b) PC filed as count 4 with violation date of 04/01/16 00:00:00 .

07/03/2023 Felony charge 289(h) PC filed as count 5 with violation date of 04/01/16 00:00:00 .

07/03/2023 Felony charge 288a(b)(1) PC filed as count 6 with violation date of 04/01/16 00:00:00 .

07/03/2023 Felony charge 288.4(b) PC filed as count 7 with violation date of 06/12/16 00:00:00 .

07/03/2023 Felony charge 288a(b)(1) PC filed as count 8 with violation date of 06/12/16 00:00:00 .

07/03/2023 Felony charge 288.4(b) PC filed as count 9 with violation date of 06/19/16 00:00:00 .

07/03/2023 Felony charge 288.4(b) PC filed as count 10 with violation date of 06/23/16 00:00:00 .

07/03/2023 Felony charge 289(h) PC filed as count 11 with violation date of 06/23/16 00:00:00 .

07/03/2023 Felony charge 288.4(b) PC filed as count 12 with violation date of 06/24/16 00:00:00 .

07/03/2023 Felony charge 261.5(c) PC filed as count 13 with violation date of 06/24/16 00:00:00 .

07/03/2023 Felony charge 289(h) PC filed as count 14 with violation date of 06/24/16 00:00:00 .

07/03/2023 Felony charge 288a(b)(1) PC filed as count 15 with violation date of 06/24/16 00:00:00 .

07/03/2023 Felony charge 288.4(b) PC filed as count 16 with violation date of 04/14/17 00:00:00 .

07/03/2023 Felony charge 289(h) PC filed as count 17 with violation date of 04/14/17 00:00:00 .

07/03/2023 Felony charge 288a(b)(1) PC filed as count 18 with violation date of 04/14/17 00:00:00 .

07/03/2023 Felony charge 261.5(c) PC filed as count 19 with violation date of 04/14/17 00:00:00 .

07/03/2023 Felony charge 261.5(c) PC filed as count 20 with violation date of 04/14/17 00:00:00 .

07/03/2023 Felony charge 261.5(c) PC filed as count 21 with violation date of 04/14/17 00:00:00 .

07/03/2023 Felony charge 261.5(c) PC filed as count 22 with violation date of 04/14/17 00:00:00 .

07/03/2023 Felony charge 311.4(c) PC filed as count 23 with violation date of 08/01/16 00:00:00 .

07/03/2023 PC 801.1(A)(1) filed as to Count 1 Special Allegation 1 .


Herder has taught in:

Anyone with more information or who believes they know additional victims is asked to contact detectives at (805) 384-4722.


Police detective in charge of the Paul Herder case:


Detective Nicole Grover

Major Crimes Bureau, Sexual Assault Unit

805-384-4722

nicole.grover@ventura.org


Paul Herder’s case can be searched by name or by his assigned case number: 2023016623. 

https://countyofventura.org/courtservices.


Some news story links:

https://www.westhawaiitoday.com/2023/07/19/hawaii-news/puna-man-arrested-for-alleged-sex-crimes-in-california/

https://www.ojaivalleynews.com/news/crime_and_courts/update-sheriff-seeks-extradition-of-former-oak-grove-high-school-teacher-charged-with-sex-with/article_db6b4afa-2680-11ee-aadb-ab050ba33da7.html

https://kvta.com/news/ex-ojai-teacher-charged-with-extensive-sexual-assault-of-student/

https://ktla.com/news/local-news/former-ojai-teacher-arrested-for-sexually-abusing-student/

https://www.cbsnews.com/losangeles/news/ojai-teacher-arrested-for-unlawful-dating-relationship-with-underage-student/

https://www.ojaivalleynews.com/news/crime_and_courts/sheriff-seeks-extradition-of-former-oak-view-resident-charged-with-sex-with-a-minor/article_db6b4afa-2680-11ee-aadb-ab050ba33da7.html


[Jul 2023]



KFA & Oak Grove School Sued Over Paul Herder Alleged Crimes

https://kvta.com/news/lawsuit-filed-against-ojai-private-school-and-ex-teacher-in-alleged-sex-crimes-involving-female-student/

Here's the pleading: 

https://ventura.ecourt.com/public-portal/?q=downloadFile/7919000/609465

Case details: JANE DOE vs OAK GROVE SCHOOL, LLC, et al. 

Case number: 2023CUPP016530 - Filed 13 Nov 2023

Defendants: 

Complaint filed by Jane Doe on 11/13/2023



All three defendants have filed answers.  


In his Answer, Paul Herder blames the child (now an adult Plaintiff) for negligence etc., and says any damages were fault of other parties and not him (perhaps he is shifting blame to Oak Grove School).


KFA'S Strange Response


KFA totally denies that the child who was allegedly harassed by Paul Herder suffered any damages -- and they blame the child: 



Plaintiff Allegations Against Paul Herder, KFA, Oak Grove School


The Plaintiff alleges: 






Next hearing is scheduled for 14 March 2024




PAUL HERDER PLEADS GUILTY, EXPECTED TO GET 6 YEARS 8 MONTH PRISON SENTENCE


Paul Herder, 66, pleaded guilty to six felony counts involving sexual abuse of the student, which took place between 2013 and 2017. https://trib.al/3i2h2U2


"Former Ojai Teacher Pleads Guilty To Sex Crimes Against Student - The plea agreement means that Herder will likely be sentenced on April 29th to six years and 8 months in state prison."

"The civil suit alleges that Herder sexually abused the girl over 40 times starting when she was 16 although the sheriff's office indicated the alleged crimes started when she was 14. The civil suit alleges that Oak Grove School knew what was happening and did nothing about it."

https://kvta.com/news/former-ojai-teacher-pleads-guilty-to-sex-crimes-against-student/


"Herder also admitted to the special allegation that he took advantage of a position of trust or confidence to perpetrate his crimes state Ventura County District Attorney's Office.

He is currently scheduled to be sentenced on Apr. 29, 2024, in courtroom 11 of Ventura County Superior Court where he is expected to be sentenced to six years eight months in state prison detail Ventura County District Attorney's Office."

“For too long, the defendant had gotten away with the terrible crimes and abuse of trust he perpetrated on the underage victim,” said Deputy District Attorney Emily Reber who prosecuted the case. “She is finally able to secure the justice and accountability that had escaped her for so many years.”

https://keyt.com/news/ventura-county/2024/03/15/former-oak-grove-school-teacher-convicted-of-six-felony-sex-crimes-against-student-thursday/


Jodi Grass of Oak Grove School wrote: 

"News reports have repeated a claim included in the lawsuit filed by a former student that the school made an effort to cover up these allegations of sexual misconduct. It is important to reiterate that immediately upon learning of the allegations, we reported them to Child Protective Services and the Ventura County Sheriff's Department Sexual Crimes Unit."

I believe she's talking about years after the event, while the allegations are about the subject during the event years ago.  Of course years after the event, when sugar hit the fan, the school took action -- but the question is whether the school (more accurately, certain parties in power within the school) knew something was going on and turned a blind eye to it. The civil trial will determine that. 





UPDATE ON CRIMINAL CASE AGAINST PAUL HERDER 


13 May 2024 -- From the docket. WEAPON / FIREARM ! 


04/29/2024

Weapon Sentencing + 29810 Pc Firearm Findings Heard in Courtroom 11 on Apr 29, 2024 at 09:05 AM .

04/29/2024

Judge - Hirsch, David .

04/29/2024

Judicial Assistant - Vick, J .

04/29/2024

Court Reporter - Lawson, Renee C is present.

04/29/2024

The defendant is present with Attorney Pinnell for Lehr .

04/29/2024

Deputy District Attorney Keenan, Kelly present.

04/29/2024

Defense request for continuance is granted.

04/29/2024

Case continued to 05/23/24 at 09:00 AM in Courtroom 11 for Weapon Sentencing + 29810 Pc Firearm Findings .

04/29/2024

Time waived.

04/29/2024

Defendant is remanded to the custody of the Sheriff's Office. Bail remains as previously set in the amount of $100,000.00 .

04/29/2024

The court orders you to appear.



UPDATE ON CIVIL CASE AGAINST KFA, OAKGROVE SCHOOL, PAUL HERDER


18 May 2024 -- From the docket


Complaint filed by Jane Doe on 11/13/2023