Molly claims in that moment — only after her mother had died and couldn't defend herself — did she recall what had happened 30 years before. When she was age 14 in 1981, she says, her mother married her to a 25-year-old church member named Kevin Brannon so he could impregnate her.

Earlier this year in state court in Miami, Molly sued Kashi, Brannon, and Carolyn Hutner, who represents Ma Jaya's estate. "Beginning in 1979, she was 'groomed' by Ma Jaya into believing she must engage in sexual intercourse with an adult member to give another child to Ma Jaya," the lawsuit says. "Such 'grooming' included... drugs and alcohol in an effort to normalize [Molly to the idea] that girls her age were supposed to have sex with adults of the Kashi cult, get pregnant, and give their babies to Ma Jaya."

This preparation, the civil suit charges, also involved Brannon repeatedly raping her with Ma Jaya's encouragement. "I remember zoning out [during sex] and going somewhere else," Molly said in an interview. "It was what was expected of me."

Ma Jaya celebrates her birthday in the late 1980s. Her clothing reflected her interfaith teaching.
Courtesy of the DiFiore Family
Ma Jaya celebrates her birthday in the late 1980s. Her clothing reflected her interfaith teaching.
Ma Jaya and her daughter, Molly, walk in procession toward a night prayer at Kashi Ashram.
Courtesy of the DiFiore Family
Ma Jaya and her daughter, Molly, walk in procession toward a night prayer at Kashi Ashram.

On December 10, 1981, Molly says she squeezed into a white wedding dress at a 5,000-square-foot house on Old Cutler Road in Palmetto Bay. That afternoon, she claims her mother married her to Brannon — then called Datta Das ­— at a small ceremony inside the house. "I remember my mother's hair," Molly said. "Her hair was always long and normally jet-black, but then it was gray. I remember it was in the living room, and there were mirrors behind us, from floor to ceiling. To the right, there was a bar. I remember sitting around the bar afterward and eating cake."

The lawsuit is more specific: "During the 'marriage' ceremony, [Brannon] was instructed by Ma Jaya and did grope, fondle, and sexually stimulate [Molly.]" Two people who say they stayed at the Palmetto Bay house and spoke to New Times on the condition of anonymity, said they witnessed Ma Jaya announce Molly's marriage to Brannon later that night. (In a motion to dismiss filed in March, Brannon denies he married or had sex with Molly, calling the allegations "reckless" and "inherently false." Both he and his attorney, Elizabeth Boan, declined further comment.)

A week later, the lawsuit alleges, Ma Jaya ordered a church member to administer a pregnancy test to Molly. It was negative.

Kashi Ashram also denies the story, labeling it another manifestation of familial drama. "Ma and [Molly] were estranged for many years," spokeswoman Cirillo says.

Then, after Ma Jaya died, Molly was excluded from the inheritance, Cirillo says. "This is a bunch of baloney. She's not in the will; then, all of a sudden, she remembers this? Baloney." (Molly's lawyer, John Leighton, says his client discovered she wasn't in her mother's will only after she'd filed litigation. Says Molly: "I don't care about money; I just want people to know the truth.")

Carol Lourie, who was associated with the ranch for years and once criticized it, says she's dubious of Molly and her story. "I find her motives very suspicious. She could have brought the lawsuit when her mother was alive."

Despite the looming legal battle, Ma Jaya's recent commemoration glowed with mirth and smiles. Children ran and played among parents drinking tea. In the shadows of new houses rising in the woods, attendants traded favorite Ma Jaya stories — that time she named a student "God" because he was so handsome. Or how she always gave a lollipop to every child. The next day, as rain pounded the ashram, some of her followers disrobed and swam in the opaque pond where Ma's ashes had been scattered — and were again one with the guru.

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9 comments
Larry Herrero
Larry Herrero

John Lennon (in part..): "Imagine there's no heaven....and no religion too...."

Michael Fiorellino
Michael Fiorellino

all religions started out as cults, so in my opinion all cults and religions are dangerous

Timothy Brenden Stout
Timothy Brenden Stout

Scouted the property to propose lighting for a wedding...thankful I did not get the job. Never been so creeped in all my life!

Lleo A Knight
Lleo A Knight

Ashrams ... people do not understand any way of life that isn't their own. I have no idea what was going on there, however these claims could be explained by people ignorant of the workings within the ashram

 
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