$10M Bond Allows Guru to Leave US

'Swami Ji' follower puts up cash after sex charges in Texas
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted May 20, 2008 5:40 PM CDT

A Hindu guru charged with groping two underage girls will be permitted to leave the country, despite 20 counts of indecency, after a follower put up $10 million to guarantee his return. Given how much money's involved, the arrangement to allow Prakashanand Saraswati—known as Swami Ji—passage to India is unprecedented, legal experts told the Austin American-Statesman.

The 79-year-old Saraswati leads a popular temple in Austin called Barsana Dham, and the abuse allegedly took place there between 1993 and 1996. The wealthy donor behind the $10 million is Peter Spiegel, who made his money through infomercials with products such as Abflex. He's one of the temple's executives. The district attorney fought the move to let the guru go. “We oppose anybody leaving the country who's out on a felony bond.” (Read more child molestation stories.)

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