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Conspiracy to murder the United States Attorney for the District of Oregon

Conspiracy to murder the United States Attorney for the District of Oregon


United States Attorneys' Bulletin


United States Attorneys' Bulletin

United States Department of Justice
United States Attorney For The District Of Oregon

November 15, 1990

United States Attorney For The District Of Oregon

Four former members of a cult headed by the late Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh have been arrested and charged with conspiracy to murder the United States Attorney for the District of Oregon, Charles H. Turner. In January, 1985, United States Attorney Turner began directing federal grand jury investigation into alleged violations of U.S immigration laws by the Bhagwan and those of his followers who had participated in fraudulent marriages in order to remain in the United States. The investigation uncovered evidence which exposed the Bhagwan and many cult members to potential criminal prosecution imprisonment and deportation. The Bhagwan pled guilty in November, 1985, to conspiracy to commit immigration fraud and was deported to India where he died last January.

Charged in the case are Catherine Jane Stubbs, also known as Ma Shanti Bhadra, reportedly an Australian citizen; Susan Lissanevitch, also known as Ma Anand Su, reportedly British citizen; Ann Phyllis McCarthy, also known as Ma Yoga Vidya, reportedly German citizen; and Richard Kevin Langford, also known as Swami Anugiten, reportedly an American citizen. Stubbs and Langford were arrested in West Germany while Lissanevitch was arrested in England and McCarthy in South Africa. In addition to the murder conspiracy charge, each was charged with the illegal interstate transportation of firearms. These arrests follow the guilty plea by another former member of the cult, Alma Peralta, also known as Ma Dhyan Yogini, of Tucson Arizona. All five had been followers of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, who presided over the commune of as many as 4000 followers between August, 1981 and November, 1985.

Attorney General Dick Thornburgh said, "The risks associated with the job of federal prosecutor have never been more apparent than in this particular case. I am especially pleased that the five-year investigation into the conspiracy plot to murder Charles Turner has resulted in the arrest of those responsible for this sinister plan and that they will be held accountable for their outrageous criminal behavior."


This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States federal government (see 17 U.S.C. 105).