To SDI Ministers and Members of the International Khalsa Council:
April 21, 2020
Sat Nam Dear Members of our 3HO, Sikh Dharma and KRI Community,
To address questions that have recently come up in our community, the CRT has expanded the  FAQ section on our website. We would like to share with you some of the new questions and answers.

What was the CRT's process for selecting an independent investigator?
The CRT considered and interviewed several options for an investigative team. The CRT wanted an impartial third party who had 1) experience investigating the difficult issues of sexual misconduct, 2) appropriate training in interview and evaluation skills,  3) demonstrated ability to establish trust with reporters of harm as well as witnesses, and 4) awareness of the unique issues in handling such matters in a spiritually based setting. 

The CRT conducted an extensive analysis of possible investigators and found that there were very few who had all of the relevant experience that we believe was critical to a thorough investigation. We concluded that: 
  • Criminal investigators, such as retired FBI or other law enforcement, were not appropriate as this is not a criminal investigation or civil litigation before a court, and they would not have the ability to compel witness testimony or production of evidence.
  • Human resources investigators had ample experience in a "workplace setting" with harassment, but not with sexual misconduct in the context of a spiritual community. 
  • Judges and lawyers are often distrusted or feared, and this would be likely to discourage participation.  
An Olive Branch  was unique and stood apart from more traditional investigators. They met our four critical requirements and had the most relevant experience of any of the individuals and firms we interviewed.

What are the qualifications and experience of An Olive Branch?
The three consultants from An Olive Branch who are working on this project are all founding members, co-directors and certified mediators. Together, they have advised and counseled 25 organizations experiencing allegations of ethical misconduct by a spiritual leader. 

An Olive Branch has performed five projects for Buddhist organizations. Of the five projects, two were independent investigations, including interviewing students who reported harm and receiving testimony from supporters of their teacher and rebuttal witnesses. Consequently, An Olive Branch has experience investigating the difficult issues associated with sexual misconduct using critical listening skills and responding sensitively both to those who are reporting trauma and to those defending the accused. 

All of An Olive Branch's consultants have careers in different fields that make them well qualified for the work required by the SSSC to perform an independent investigation. They have graduate-level training and experience in gathering and analyzing qualitative data - data gained through interviews, observations and other sources.  

As mediators and facilitators, they know how to listen deeply and ask probing questions to tease out important details and distinctions in what people say. Their research backgrounds enable them to ask questions that are guided by social science knowledge, insight and practice, while their project management skills and experience support large-scale inquiries. 
Please visit the CRT website often and share it with others for accurate and timely information as we seek the truth and move together towards understanding and healing.

Sat Nam,
Collaborative Response Team 

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