Leader of a cult group in the UK is causing outrage after claiming he can cure cancer through vaginal manipulation, breast massage and burping.
A number of former patients have dragged the cult leader to court for what they described as “indecent” touching and other kinds of manipulations.
Serge Benhayon, a former tennis player, set up Universal Medicine organisation, which has its European HQ in a Somerset B&B.
Daily Star reports that Benhayon, has been branded a monster by a woman who says her mother was groomed by the ‘cult.’
Benhayon who claims to be the reincarnation of Leonardo da Vinci – teaches that victims of sexual abuse deserve it because of sins they committed in a past life and that people with autism are reincarnated dictators.
He now lives as a millionaire in Australia but twice a year he visits the cult’s UK headquarters in the Somerset village of Tytherington, near Frome.
The BBC spoke to Kasha, the daughter of a Universal Medicine member. She said: “I realised that she wasn’t mum any more, so that was quite difficult.”
She described how her mum started to act bizarrely after joining the cult: “She started burping ridiculously and she said ‘I’m just burping out bad spirits’.”
Kasha says she realised there was no hope and she would just have to let her mum go.
“I think Serge is a cruel man with cruel intentions. I genuinely think he’s a monster,” she said.
“She’s still my mum and I love her. But she’s never going to be the person that she was or the person I even remember her to be.”
Cult members follow strict rules, including a special diet that bans carrots and alcohol and a 9pm bedtime – they get up at 3am.
A civil court in Australia found Universal Medicine to be a ‘socially harmful cult’ that makes false claims about healing, in a defamation case last December.
It found Benhayon used bizarre forms of sexual manipulation, exploited cancer patients financially, and persuaded followers to shun loved ones who wouldn’t’ join his cult.
Benhayon has always denied running a cult and any wrong doing, saying he is the victim of a media witch hunt.
Another man, John, told the BBC that Universal Medicine took his wife and daughter from him.
“Its the way they get inside people’s heads and brainwash them into doing this that are not natural.”
Members are told what to eat, when to sleep and who to mix with while they are also taught to shun anybody who contradicts the cult’s teachings.
Simon Williams, managing director of the Lighthouse, is a follower of Universal Medicine and a friend of Benhayon.
He’s also president of the Frome Chambers of Commerce.
He told a BBC reporter that the court ruling in Australia was “totally untrue” and people didn’t understand what Universal Medicine was about.
Last year Benhayon took a former patient to court in Australia for defamation.
Esther Rockett had been blogging about his practices, claiming he indecently touched her during an “ovarian reading”. A jury found in her favour.
Among other things it found Mr Benhayon engaged in sexual manipulation to make money for his business, exploited cancer patients by targeting them to leave him bequests in their wills and persuaded followers to shun loved ones who would not join his cult.