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Teacher at Boulder’s Shambhala Accused of Sexually Assaulting Girl

February 1, 2019
William Karelis

William Llyod Karelis, 71, was arrested on suspicion of sexual assault on a child by a person in a position of trust, according to a release from the Boulder Police Department.

According to the release, Karelis met the girl through Shambhala, where he was a teacher and leader at meditation retreats. Police believe Karelis sexually assaulted the girl multiple times at his Boulder residence beginning in 2000.

The Denver Post reported in December the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office was investigating ” possible criminal activity ” at the Shambhala Mountain Center, a Buddhist retreat in the foothills west of Fort Collins.

Boulder police spokeswoman Laurie Ogden said Boulder police have reached out to Larimer County because Karelis spent time at their center, but at this time police do not have any formal complaints about him in that jurisdiction.

Karelis is currently in custody at the Boulder County Jail and is scheduled for a first appearance this afternoon.

Boulder police believe there were more victims over the span of 30 years. Anyone who believes they or someone they know was victimized by Karelis in the past is asked to call Boulder police Detective Ross Richart at 303-441-1833 or Detective Heather Frey at 303-441-3369.

There is no statute of limitations on sex offenses involving children under the age of 15.

The news comes on the heels of a sexual misconduct scandal surrounding its leader , Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche.

The allegations surfaced in a three-part report called the Buddhist Sunshine Project that detailed allegations from anonymous women with first- and secondhand accounts of sexual misconduct by Mipham and other high-ranking Shambhala officials.

Mipham resigned his leadership position over Shambhala International — now based in Halifax, Nova Scotia — in July. He conceded in a letter to his followers that past relationships he engaged in had caused “harm,” but did not address the broader allegations of misconduct or any illegal activity.

Mitchell Byars: 303-473-1329, byarsm@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/mitchellbyars

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