John de Ruiter makes first court appearance; book author says women in Oasis have been 'traumatized'
The self-proclaimed spiritual leader accused of sexually assaulting four of his female followers between 2017 and 2020 made his first court appearance in Edmonton.
John de Ruiter was arrested last Saturday and was granted bail with the following conditions on Friday:
- Must provide a cash deposit of $30,000
- No contact with the four females, direct or indirect
- Cannot be within 100 metres of places of worship, work, or residence of the four females
- No contact with anyone named by bail supervisor
- Must report to bail supervisor
- Must reside where directed by bail supervisor
- Must report any name, place or occupation changes to bail supervisor
- Must stay in Alberta unless granted permission to leave
- Can’t be alone with females unless under the supervision of a responsible adult, who can’t be his wife. Excluded from this are de Ruiter's wife, daughter, family members, and a woman who lives with them.
He also handed over his passport in court on Friday.
About three dozen of his supporters attended court.
De Ruiter’s lawyer spoke to the media after the bail decision.
“The general allegation is that these women that have come forward against John were in fact consenting to sexual activity with him, but have now claimed afterwards, years afterwards, that their consent was really nullified and not valid because they were somehow placed under his spell or that he was somehow deceiving them into believing that they should sleep with him in order to find a higher state of consciousness,” Dino Bottos told reporters.
“Those allegations will be hotly contested by my client, as well as a good number of witnesses who know the other side of the story.”
De Ruiter is a self-styled spiritual leader of a group known as the College of Integrated Philosophy, or the Oasis Group, which operated out of the Oasis Building at 109 Avenue and 177 Street from 2007 to 2021, Edmonton police said.
Since 2021, he has been holding meetings out of an office building on St. Albert Trail in St. Albert, and holding spiritual retreats at a campground near Smith, Alta.
De Ruiter and his group have been active in Edmonton since the 90s.
The man who wrote a book about de Ruiter is shedding light into how de Ruiter and his group operated.
Jasun Horsley is the author of Dark Oasis: A Self-Made Messiah Unveiled, which explores his own experience with de Ruiter’s group.
Horsley, who spoke to CTV News Edmonton from Spain, says he was initially skeptical but de Ruiter drew him in.
“He came to London and I went to see him and I was kind of on the fence. Then I had a powerful kind of visionary dream of him and that pretty much sold me,” he told CTV News Edmonton on Zoom.
“Over a period of months, I got more and more involved. I listened to tapes that he'd made and I went to meetings in Edmonton and I ended up really, very deeply involved with the group.”
Horsley says de Ruiter claimed to be “the embodiment of truth.”
“I believed that he was a profoundly spiritual man who had deep access to knowledge and wisdom, who could see into my soul, who was going to guide me to the truth of myself, who was going to guide me to freedom. I thought I'd found my connection to God.”
'HIGH LEVEL OF DECEPTION'
Horsley says he began to look into de Ruiter when he was sent a legal declaration filed by a former romantic partner of de Ruiter’s in court.
“That caused me to want to look a bit more closely into John and what was going on around him. So I began this process of asking questions and investigating, and the more I found out, the more convinced I became that there was a high level of deception going on around John.”
He says there were some indications de Ruiter was sexually involved with some of the members of the group, which caused him to ask more questions.
But the answers he got were often unsatisfactory, he added.
“'There's a different law and a different standard for John. We can't judge him by ordinary mortal criteria.' The more I realized that was going on, the more I realized that we have to judge him by an even higher standard, in fact, because he's claiming to be this God man,” he said.
He says he decided to write the book to try and process what he’d been through as a member of Oasis.
“It's like I'm unplugging from The Matrix to remove the programming that I had allowed to happen to me with all those hours and hours of listening to John.
“That was why I decided to do it essentially, because I'm a writer anyway, I've been writing my whole life and specifically about things like behavior modification, mind control, manipulation, sexual abuse. Which is probably why I was drawn to John unconsciously.”
THE DEATH OF ANINA HUNDSDOERFER
As he researched his book after he left Oasis, Horsley says he came across further claims that de Ruiter had been sexually involved with group members, possibly including Anina Hundsdoerfer, who went missing from Edmonton in March 2014.
Her body was found in a wooded area in central Alberta in May 2014.
The Edmonton Police Service ruled her death non-criminal.
“Anina was a girl who was part of the group who died in mysterious circumstances in the forest and who claimed that John came to have sex in the night. John denied it and dismissed it as fantasies and visions, but sometime after that, at least one woman, a number of women over time came forward and started to describe the mechanics of John's sexual manipulations of the women, the way that he was choosing particular women and then having sex with them and then lying about it,” Horsley said.
De Ruiter has never faced any criminal charges for his actions — until now.
“Mild surprise, maybe a little bit of relief that it's really going to come to light finally,” Horsley said.
“They've been traumatized. They've been deeply wounded, I think, by what he's been doing with them and they've been trying to speak about it.”
“They've known this in the [Oasis] community, they've known about it and they've simply, not denied that it happened, but the argument, the counter argument from John and his devoted followers, is that those women were not ready. And they reacted badly because they weren't able to process the goodness that John was doing for them. That's always been the spin and the rationalization.”
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