Johannes (John) de Ruiter, the self-anointed “spiritual leader” of a group called the College of Integrated Philosophy, or the Oasis Group, was arrested on Saturday and charged with four counts of sexual assault against women in his community.
According to Edmonton Police, the incidents occurred between 2017 and 2020 with four initial victims, and investigators think there are more who haven’t come forward yet.
“It was reported that the accused informed certain female group members that he was directed by a spirit to engage in sexual activity with them, and that engaging in sexual activity with him will provide them an opportunity to achieve a state of higher being or spiritual enlightenment,” a statement from the Edmonton Police Service read.
The Globe and Mail received a statement from de Ruiter’s camp explaining that “John will be represented by legal counsel and intends to vigorously contest these charges in a court of law.”
As of the time of The Globe and Mail’s reporting, de Ruiter was still in custody and was expected to appear in a bail hearing today.
De Ruiter’s alleged inappropriate behaviour has been at the forefront of another article from The Globe and Mail back in 2017 when some of his followers began to question his sexual interactions with women involved in his community. Specifically, they wanted to know if a sexual relationship had anything to do with the disappearance and death of Anina Hundsdoerfer.
De Ruiter denied any claims to the situation via a “Frequently Asked Questions” page on his website that included responses to claims about him.
“Is it true that John has sexual relations with women outside of his marriage?” one question asked.
“There are some extreme criticisms of John de Ruiter, are they true?” another one asked.
Under that question, de Ruiter addressed the disappearance of Hundsdoerfer.
“John did not contribute to the disappearance of Anina Hundsdoerfer in any way. Her death is as tragic and mysterious to him as to all of us,” the page reads.
Investigators say there may be additional complainants, and are encouraging anyone who believes they may have been victimized to come forward.