Presented in reverse chronology, this history stretches from the present back to the Fellowship's 1970 founding, and beyond.
(See "Blog Archive" in the sidebar below.) It draws from many sources, including The Fellowship of Friends - Living Presence Discussion, the Internet Archive, the former Fellowship of Friends wiki project, cult education and awareness sites, news archives, and from the editor's own 13-year experience in the Fellowship.

The portrait that emerges stands in stark contrast to sanitized versions presented on the Fellowship's array of
alluring websites, and on derivative sites created by Burton's now-estranged
disciple, Asaf Braverman.

Tuesday, June 19, 1984

Samuel L. Sanders Lawsuit summary

[ed. - See also Samuel Sanders Letter and Suit Against Yuba Sect Leader Settled.]
On June 6, 1984, Case Number 36937 was filed in Superior Court of California, County of Yuba, by Samuel L. Sanders, Plaintiff, versus Defendants: Fellowship of Friends, Inc., a corporation; Robert Burton; Miles Barth; Frank Annis; Gerard Haven; Helga Ruth Mueller; Abraham Goldman; Charles Frank; Charles Randall; Clair Bowen; and Does 1 through 50, inclusive.

The Lawsuit Complaints:

1. Fraud

2. Conspiracy to defraud

3. Breach of fiduciary duty

4. Conspiracy to breach fiduciary duty

5. Injunction

6. Damages

[ed. - From the ICSA website, link no longer functional.]
Fellowship of Friends

Rabbit Creek (California) Journal

June 19, 1984

Samuel L. Sanders, a former member of the Fellowship of Friends, led by onetime elementary school teacher Robert Burton and based in part on the teachings of Russian mystic G.I. Gurdjieff and his student P.D. Ouspensky, has brought suit for $2.75 million against Burton, 8 other named defendants, and 50 John Does for crimes ranging from fraud to sexual perversion.

The complaint, filed June 6 in Yuba County Superior Court of California, charges that Burton and the Fellowship’s board of directors conspired to funnel money out of the Fellowship for their own enrichment. It also alleges that Burton used mind control to bring the membership under complete submission to his will, that he sodomized young male members, sometimes by force, resulting in “serious and in some cases irreparable mental and physical damage,” and that the board of directors adopted a resolution endorsing his behavior. An injunction prohibiting Burton from engaging in “perverted sexual conduct” without informing partners that such activity is not part of the Fellowship’s “Fourth Way” philosophy is also sought.

Fellowship of Friends, which claims 1,500 members worldwide, is headquartered at the 1,000 acre Renaissance complex, which includes a winery and an art collection valued at $1 million, located in Oregon House, California. Mr. Burton and the other defendants denied the charges brought in the suit and said they would “stand on the reputation they have built with the community.”

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