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Probe of Buddhist leader's alleged misconduct ongoing, report due by January

Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, left, and his bride Princess Tseyang Palmo smile during their Tibetan Buddhist royal wedding ceremony in Halifax on June 10, 2006. An independent probe into allegations against the spiritual leader of one of the largest Buddhist organizations in the western world has finished accepting new claims, with a final report into the sexual misconduct accusations expected by early January. In a statement to the Shambhala International community today, the organization's interim board says the law firm Wickwire Holm has been investigating allegations of sexual harm caused by Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche and other Shambhala leaders since late summer. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Andrew Vaughan

HALIFAX — An independent probe into allegations against the spiritual leader of one of the largest Buddhist organizations in the western world has finished accepting new claims, with a final report into the sexual misconduct accusations expected by early January.

In a statement to the Shambhala International community today, the organization’s interim board says the law firm Wickwire Holm has been investigating allegations of sexual harm caused by Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche and other Shambhala leaders since late summer.

The eight-member interim board says the investigation closed to new claims on Nov. 16, and the investigator is continuing to review the claims she has received.

They say the investigator will submit the results to the Buddhist organization in a final report no later than early January.

The interim board says it will review the information from the investigator and then provide a report to the community, adding that it is “committed to providing transparency” on the findings without breaching confidentiality.

The investigation was launched after a former Shambhala community member published reports from women alleging sexual misconduct by the Buddhist leader — a holder of Shambhala lineage who is considered royalty within the Shambhala community.

The accusations prompted Mipham to step back from his duties pending the outcome of the third-party investigation, and also lead to the mass resignation of the Kalapa Council — the governing body of the Buddhist group.

The Canadian Press