Irish 'guru' arrested Spain in sex assault case had high level of control over followers, expert claims
Spanish police arrest Irish sect leader for bail breach in sexual assault case
AN Irish spiritual guru arrested this week on suspicion of sexual assault in Ibiza had a high level of control over his followers who expressed a "blind, uncritical and unconditional following" towards him, an expert psychologist in sects has claimed.
Michael Murray (57), from Letterkenny, was arrested on the Spanish island on Tuesday three years after breaching his bail conditions in relation to an allegation of sexual abuse.
He has since been released on bail ahead of a future trial.
Police said he had been moving around living like a homeless man before his arrest.
He was caught after a relative of his alleged victim spotted him walking down the street and contacted police.
He was first arrested in 2018 after a woman alleged that she was held against her will for three days by Murray and subjected to repeated sexual and physical abuse.
Police were alerted after the woman tried to take her own life after seeking refuge in a shop near their home.
He was subsequently charged in relation to the offence but breached his bail and effectively went on the run.
Murray set himself up a spiritual guru and set up what police described as a sect in Ibiza before his arrest in 2018.
He also wrote a book about his life and spiritual awakening, entitled Wake the F*** Up: Life is But a Dream.
Spanish expert psychologist in sects Miguel Perlado said the case has highlighted the importance of families being close and opening channels of communications with people who may be involved in sects such as the one Murray ran.
Perlado told news agency Europa Press that he has considered that Murray actively sought to exploit people in different areas and live through them.
Perlado said he recalled Murray first began a series of workshops called "course in miracles" in Ibiza and then settled on the island and organised a small group of followers around him.
He said Murray exercised a "high level of control" over his followers.
He said that based on his experience he felt he had a "proselytizing desire" and "fear of losing control."
Perlado added that Murray has been able to find disorientated people or those under the influence of substances.
He said that relatives of people involved in the sect asked for help because the victims showed behaviours such as disconnection with relatives.
He said the victims expressed a "blind uncritical and unconditional following" towards the leader and an "undeniable psychological deterioration".
"The direct attack on the guru is of little use, but rather experience has shown that a slow, calm and dialogic approach, aimed at understanding the experience that the victim is experiencing, is the first necessary step for a possible recovery process," he said. insisted.
Murray has released numerous YouTube videos of his spiritual teachings and wrote a book.
In the book he claims he had several near-fatal accidents which led to him having "extraordinary, repeated out of body experiences".
When he released the book, he gave an interview to the Donegal News during which he discussed his troubled past in Donegal which he said was blighted by addiction and run-ins with the law.
"I agree with you, I was not a good boy, but every sinner has a future and every saint has a past. Life is good now though thank God," he said.
He also said he was convicted of financial offences in Ireland years ago but a politician he knew helped him avoid a prison sentence.
"I had foolishly obtained money from a local bank, which I was not entitled to, by manipulating accounts. I was charged in court, but through the politician's intervention, I only received a suspended sentence," he said.
He said he had a dark night of the soul which lasted from 1999 to 2009 when he had a "self-awakening".
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