Universal Medicine cult naming names update March 2023Posted: March 26, 2023 Filed under: top rung apologists 4 Comments
Late 2018, the Supreme Court of NSW found that it’s true to say Serge Benhayon is the charlatan leader of a socially harmful cult, who has intentionally indecently touched healing clients, and has an indecent interest in juvenile girls. Nearly five years later, hundreds of his committed ‘students’ continue to support him and his ‘healing fraud that harms people’. The Universal Medicine Accountability project’s naming names pages identify the health and other professionals, and Esoteric practitioners, who lend Benhayon and his occult quackery corporation undue legitimacy.
I published the naming names directories (Australasia & International) from 2012 to help members of the public make informed decisions about UM affiliates, and have tried to keep it updated as best I can. I also published a lot of criticism of Universal Medicine’s unethical and misleading conduct, its toxic beliefs and activities, and the people who endorse or otherwise participate in them. Benhayon and associates responded by trying to get my publications shut down, attempting to have me deregistered from my profession and prosecuted, embarking on a four year smear campaign, and finally by suing me for defamation in two states. In 2018, the court found that I was telling the truth about UM and its disreputable leader. I was comprehensively vindicated.
Aside from distinguishing himself internationally as an absolute plonker, there were no real consequences for Benhayon, who was also found to have exploited followers, preyed on cancer patients, and made fraudulent medical claims. UM is as profitable as it ever was, and now operates more deceitfully than ever. It no longer publicly advertises its events or services, but it’s still taking on recruits. Its Way of the Livingness adherents are now less publicly forthcoming about the extent of their UM involvement – with some notable exceptions, such as Dr Sam Kim.
While it’s fun to commemorate Serge Benhayon’s 59th birthday with a roundup of the promoters that have met with serious trouble in the last few years, the bad news is that the ranks of UM associated psychologists has swelled. The directories also welcome a bunch of new Esoteric practitioners advertising their bogus Esoteric Practitioners Association ‘accreditation’, but generally, UM devotees have become more deceitful and more secretive, making them more difficult to monitor.
Some UM promoters fell foul of authorities well before the defamation trial.
Late 2015, AHPRA Queensland rapped psychologist Marianna Masiorski’s knuckles for citing her professional qualifications in her misguided promotions of Benhayon.
In 2017, lung specialist Dr Sam Kim (Samuel Tae-Kyu Kim) was reprimanded by the Medical Council of NSW over his referrals to Esoteric practitioners, and the following year, he was found by the NSW Office of the Information Commissioner to have breached privacy law by sharing a patient’s medical information without the patient’s consent.
Despite those findings, and claiming to have completed a law degree, Dr Kim continues to endorse Benhayon’s bogus Esoteric Medicine – openly citing his medical credentials in advertising his ‘Sacred Esoteric Healing’ services through the Benhayon owned Esoteric Practitioners Association.
Otherwise, former UM promoting psychologist Jo Frare was convicted of serious assault in 2018 and subsequently deregistered, and from 2016, Ballina compounding pharmacist Dr Michael Serafin was prohibited from dispensing a range of preparations, including ketamine. He was eventually struck off following a professional misconduct ruling in 2022.
Accountability since the trial
Some readers may remember Serge worshipping UK social worker Ariana Ray defaming me and Lance, in 2015, with wild misrepresentations of our concerns about Benhayon’s conduct.
Benhayon went on to spend five inglorious days in the witness box at the defamation trial, helping me prove it was true to say he had an indecent interest in juvenile girls, he’d behaved inappropriately in front of kids, and is not a fit person to hold a Working With Children certificate. The blogs containing the material above were taken down from the internet shortly afterward. Subsequently, in 2021, Ariana Ray was found unfit to practise social work on account of her continued support of Benhayon. She was struck off the UK’s social work register. I don’t know who submitted that complaint, but thank you.
It’s a pity authorities in Australia don’t take child safety concerns as seriously.
Also in 2021, the University of Queensland’s School of Public Health finally retracted a dodgy medical journal article authored by Christoph Schnelle, Kate Greenaway, Eunice Minford, Marianna Masiorski, Michelle Sheldrake and Steffen Messerschmidt, after withdrawing ethical approval for the UM promoters’ questionable study of Benhayon’s bogus Esoteric Connective Tissue Therapy. Unfortunately, UQ did not retract the other dubious paper on an online health survey of the Brides of Serge.
Next, since April 2022, AHPRA has placed conditions on the professional registration of longterm UM follower, Melbourne psychologist Cynthia Hickman. AHPRA has placed her under supervision to assist her with professional boundaries, managing competing interests, and keeping her practice evidence-based. The investigation of her conduct is ongoing.
Cynthia Hickman (in green) presented for Esoteric Women’s Health from 2013 – 2019. Seen above in Melbourne with Esoteric Breast Massagers Sara Harris and Bianca Barban 2017
It also took a while, but Benhayon’s former solicitor, Paula Fletcher, who sent a ton of legal threats to media and social media since at least 2012, including many attempts to get my blogs shut down, was reprimanded by the Legal Services Commissioner for her conduct toward me during the litigation. Fletcher says she’s no longer associated with UM, and good for her, but it’s troubling that her response to the authority downplayed her UM association, and persisted with Benhayon apologia and baseless slurs against me — attempting to relitigate issues that were comprehensively proven in court in my favour. UM’s devotee lawyers – in my view – trashed the legal process in pursuing their cult vendetta, and that is inexcusable. Either way, trial judge, Justice Lonergan, described Fletcher’s correspondence to me around the time of my father’s death as ‘at best unprofessional and at most discourteous… at worst, bullying and harassment… There is no place for any such personal remarks and insults in any professional correspondence in legal proceedings.’
I’m not sure that it’s occurred to UM devotees that their leader and a bunch of his associates have been officially found guilty of doing all the things they baselessly accused me of doing – lying, bullying, and harassment, plus all of the things I’d criticised them for all along, and a few surprise extras. I love to say I told them so.
I’ve already mentioned Dr Sam Kim, but registered physiotherapist, Kate Greenaway, is still working alongside Serge at his Goonellabah headquarters. Otherwise, health professionals who were happy to publicly bat for Benhayon before the trial have since tried to erase evidence of their ongoing affiliation. Psychologists Brendan Mooney and Caroline Raphael, for example, no longer advertise services from UM headquarters, with Mooney working from rooms in Lismore and Raphael now at The Health Lodge in Byron Bay.
Otherwise, a few notable movements include Janet Williams – who was a counsellor at Bath College until she abruptly left. She still counsels youth, however, at her private practice. Esoteric Breast Massager, Sara Williams, vanished for a while after her London Spherical Living business closed, but has resurfaced in Belgravia. Serge’s star witness Michelle Crowe has also moved her unqualified Esoteric practice from Sydney to Palm Beach on the Gold Coast.
Meanwhile, in Germany, Sarah Schutz joins fellow thespian Christina Hecke in flogging Serge’s Esoteric claptrap. Someone needs to tell them that the Way of the Livingness is absolutely poisonous to creativity and murders careers in the arts. Look at all of the musicians who hitched their wagons to Serge and saw the quality of their output nose dive.
Some UM followers have scrubbed all mention of the Esoteric from their professional marketing, but despite the shame and secrecy, none of the promoters who continue their UM allegiance have acknowledged the court’s findings. That can only mean that they do not accept them. I’ve seen correspondence from UM operatives that misrepresent the court’s findings, and fail to mention the success of my defence of truth, and that Benhayon gave much of the evidence that proved 36 serious allegations true. The ethics and competence of anyone who refuses to acknowledge those facts has to be questioned, and as far as I’m concerned any failure to remove their promotions of UM from the internet constitutes ongoing endorsement.
It’s extraordinary that anyone would knowingly align with Benhayon, given the proven allegations against him. How, for example, can anyone accept Benhayon’s deranged statements that Darwin’s theory of evolution isn’t true, or that mental illness is caused by evil spirits, that ’emotions are the cause of all disease’, or that disabled people and sexual abuse survivors were abusers in their past lives. How does anyone think those beliefs are compatible with the ethical practice of medicine or psychology?
Perhaps Dr Kim or Dr Anne Malatt would like to answer, or any of the psychologists still within UM’s student body: Brendan Mooney, Caroline Raphael, Marianna Masiorski, Cynthia Hickman, Jemma Moses, Aimee Jeffreys, Emily Rutherford, and Sarah Broome?
Who knows. Since the trial, given that UM was proven to be a harmful and exploitative organisation that engages in misleading conduct, I’ve written to several organisations to request that UM affiliated staff members make full disclosure of their affiliation, and formally undertake not to introduce anything or anyone UM related to clients, patients, students or staff. No referrals, no promotions, no introductions. AHPRA should have powers to enforce the same requirements. Health professionals should be prohibited from endorsing public health risks and scams. As long as UM students keep their beliefs strictly to themselves, and keep their professional credentials absolutely separate to their Unimed involvement, there is no issue.
Moreover, it should not be just me, or other individuals making that request. In view of UM promoters’ past behaviour – the vast extent of the group’s deceptive conduct and bullying – we have every right to be wary. Australia’s consumer protection authorities are failing. Regulators should be ensuring that members of the public are kept out of harm’s way – that means out of the way of UM’s manipulations and the undue influence of its affiliated professionals. Currently, however, authorities only investigate providers after harm is done, relying on aggrieved clients to take the trouble to make complaints.
I’d like to see regulators monitor and act on deceptive claims made by businesses, the quality of their services, and any coercive conduct. The court’s findings should have resulted in the prohibition of the Benhayon family and all of those unqualified Eso-do-gooders operating anything resembling a health service, and should have moved to prevent registered health professionals from associating with them in any professional capacity.
If you have concerns about the conduct of any UM practitioner, please contact your local health complaints authority. If you’ve been misled into spending money on any UM product or service, you can make a complaint to consumer authorities like the Office of Fair Trading/ACCC. Obtaining financial benefit or advantage by deception is also a criminal offence and should be reported to police.
Naming names – Universal Medicine Australasia
Naming names – Universal Medicine Europe, North America
Some listings on Naming Names pages might be out of date, so feel free to use Contact form at top of page to notify me, or put updates in the comments.
Thanks for messages with new info. Comments are moderated for the time being.
To the person, first name starting with C, who left a reply here yesterday – I don’t think you wanted it made public, so I’ve not approved it. I’ll be in touch via the email address you provided.
Also, an update. Paula Fletcher made a reasonable request and a fair point. I don’t and won’t intentionally keep people on the naming names page if they’re no longer part of UM, or no longer involved in or endorsing anything UM related, and she should be no exception. I heartily congratulate all who’ve left the group. Best move you’ll ever make.
However, it’s also not always possible for me to verify if someone has left the group without being intrusive and directly approaching them – which I avoid doing for a whole heap of reasons. I’m running an exposure campaign – exposing the cult – not the people who’ve left or anyone aggrieved by them. That should be obvious from 10 years of publishing.
A lot of really silly rumours get around the place, and I don’t just believe stuff unless it’s from a reliable source and preferably more than one – as in it’s verifiable. So please don’t expect me to know who’s in and who’s out. I’m not clairsentient.
Neither is Serge.
Nice to hear of all the updates, thank you Esther
The “Shadow of Doubt” podcast you recommended on Facebook is essential listening. Thank you for letting us know about it. What a terribly sad, distressing story it is. There’s a lot to take in and I’m not at the end yet, but my heart bleeds for that poor girl.
I recommend it to everyone and by episode 2 you’ll know why it’s relevant.