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Update: Karmapa Case Discontinued – Tricycle
A court-mandated paternity test has proven conclusively that the 17th Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje fathered a child with a woman, according to a source close to the Karmapa. The woman, Vikki Han, alleges that the sex was non-consensual and she has engaged a lawyer for a civil rape case. At the same time she is pursuing child support and alimony in a separate case in the Canadian courts.
A trial date of July 2022 that had been set by the Supreme Court of British Columbia in Canada has been postponed, the source close to the Karmapa says. According to that source, the Karmapa’s lawyers requested that postponement after receiving the results of the paternity test. The Karmapa took the paternity test in London at the end of January of this year, the source says. The test confirmed that the Karmapa was the father of a girl born to Vikki Han on June 19, 2018 in Canada, according to the source. The postponement gives time for the two parties to come to a settlement out of court. Such an out-of court settlement would allow the records of the paternity test to remain sealed.
Vikki Han is one of three women thus far who have publicly alleged that they had secret intimate relationships with the Karmapa and/or were sexually abused or assaulted by him. The other two women are Jane Huang and Wu Hang-Yee. (See links below for their allegations.) The Karmapa has not publicly denied any of the allegations.
A Canadian resident, Han was a disciple of the head of the Karma Kagyu sect of Tibetan Buddhism of which the Karmapa is the supreme head. Han was holding vows of celibacy at the time that she became pregnant. In his online teachings the Karmapa continues to appear dressed as a celibate Buddhist monk, as can be seen on his Youtube channel.
In May 2021, news reports of Han’s allegations began to circulate after public documents were filed in the Supreme Court of British Columbia in Canada. In those documents (available here) Han alleged that the Karmapa impregnated her while she was engaged in a retreat at a “monastary”, referring to a women-only retreat house at Karme Ling Retreat Centre in Delhi, New York. Karme Ling is a centre run by Karma Triyana Dharmachakra (KTD), the Karmapa’s North American seat in Woodstock, New York.
Han says she had aspired to become a nun and had taken celibacy vows for the duration of the traditional Karma Kagyu three-year-three-month retreat. She says on October 14, 2017, the Karmapa entered her private meditation cell during that retreat and sexually assaulted her while the two were left alone in her room, the court documents claim. This assault left her pregnant with the Karmapa’s child, Han alleges in the court document. Han abandoned the retreat and her plans to become a nun, it continues.
She subsequently informed the Karmapa, the 2021 court document says. It also references extensive text and audio messages exchanged between her and the Karmapa during her pregnancy and the first year of their daughter’s life. In his communication with Han, the Karmapa appeared to acknowledge that the child was his and expressed his intention to care for her and the child, the court document states.
The Karmapa had $350,000 CAD and $420,000 USD transferred to her throughout 2018 through various third parties, the court documents indicate. Later, in January 2019, shortly after allegations of sexual and secret relationship with two other women emerged in Chinese-language press, the Karmapa recorded an announcement (watch it here) in which he stated that he was physically and mentally unwell. He says he was in “retreat” in an undisclosed location in the company of undisclosed persons. At that time, the Karmapa cut off all contact with Vikki Han, the court documents say.
In 2019, Han subsequently engaged Canadian attorneys to pursue child support, acknowledgment of paternity and a paternity test, according to the same court document. In May 2021, the court found in favour of her application to file additionally for alimony.
The Paternity Test
According to sources, the Canadian court later mandated a DNA test to ascertain whether or not the child was fathered by the Karmapa, as Vikki Han alleged.
The Karmapa gave his DNA for the paternity test in January of this year in London, according to a source close to the Karmapa. The results of the DNA test confirmed Han’s assertion that the Karmapa is indeed the father of her young daughter, according to that same source.
After the paternity test established the validity of Han’s claim that the Karmapa was the father of her child, the source says that the Karmapa’s lawyers in Canada requested for the court case in Canada to be postponed, allowing time for the parties to come to a settlement out of court. In the event such an out-of-court settlement is reached, the results of the paternity test can remain sealed and would not have to be revealed publicly in court. If a non-disclosure agreement is also signed, none of the information surrounding the alleged sexual assault or intimate relationship between the Karmapa and his disciple will be disclosed to the public.
The source close to the Karmapa says that the Karmapa has ordered additional monies paid to Vikki Han in the past year. This is on top of the $350,000 CAD and $420,000 USD paid during her pregnancy and the months after the infant’s birth, as alleged in the court document. The more recent payments bring the total paid to Han to around $1,000,000 USD, the inside source says.
However, according to the source close to the Karmapa, Han is seeking in excess of $7 million USD from the Karmapa, as well as her substantial legal fees. The deal under discussion would settle both the civil rape case in New York and the child support and alimony case in British Columbia in Canada, the source says. Should an agreement be reached, the source says that the likely outcome is that the outstanding cases in New York and Canada would both be settled out of court, and no information would be made public.
In the meantime, the inside source says that Han also had her lawyers initiate legal proceedings in New York against Karma Triyana Dharmachakra for its role in Han’s alleged assault and impregnation while attending a three-year at its Karme Ling retreat centre. The source says that the New York court had found in favour of Han in those proceedings which are presently in an initial stage.
Extensive documentation of that pending case in New York courts is available publicly online. These documents include a clear description of the rape allegations (documents 1, 3 and 33), proof of the third party payments received by Han (document 13) and the judge’s most recent decision in favour of Han’s petition (document 66). Anyone wishing to read or download those documents can go to this court website, enter “Karma Triyana” as “Party Name’ and then immediately below that line, select “Defendant”, next select “Delaware Supreme Court” as ‘Court(s)’ and then check “All” under ‘Case Status’ and “No” Under ‘Return only Cases with Future Appearances’ and finally click on ‘Find Case(s)’ at bottom.
(Although the court system in British Columbia does not allow public access to documents from cases in family court, the date of new filings in the child support and paternity case in Canada can be monitored here, by entering Dorje for last name and O for first name. The most recent update to the case files was made on May 19, 2022.)
The Other Women
The two women who report having been sexually abused by the Karmapa are Jane Huang of Taiwan and Wu Hang-Yee of Hong Kong. Wu was living as a Buddhist nun in India under the Karmapa’s guidance for much of the time she says she was engaged in a secret sexual relationship with the Karmapa.
(Youtube videos with English-language descriptions of the allegations by Jane Huang and Wu Hang-Yee can be viewed here and here. More information on their allegations are related here with some of the extensive Chinese-language available on this blog as well). The Karmapa has not denied these allegations.
Last edited by tenpel on July 9, 2022 at 10:00 p.m. CET
The Buddha understood that an institution is served by truth and accountability. – Bhante Sujato
- Website Invites People to Explore Impact of the Unanswered Allegations of Abuse by Karmapa (October 26, 2022)
- Healing Our Sanghas: New Website Seeks Discussion of Karmapa Abuse Allegations – Buddhist Door (Justin Whitaker) – November 2, 2022
- New website invites discussion of abuse allegations against 17th Karmapa – Lion’s Roar (Nov. 10, 2022)
- Karmapa Case Discontinued – Tricycle (Nov. 18, 2022)