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home : latest news : latest news September 28, 2016

9/8/2011 3:26:00 PM
Sedona Temple closed as brothel

SEDONA -- The Phoenix Police Department has been conducting a lengthy investigation into the activities at the Phoenix Goddess Temple in Phoenix. During their investigation it was discovered that some of the individuals suspected of criminal activity in the Phoenix Temple were also traveling to and from locations in Sedona.

On Wednesday, three search warrants were served at West Sedona addresses at the same time Phoenix PD was executing a search warrant at the Phoenix Goddess Temple. The three Sedona locations were the Sedona Temple at 2945 Southwest Drive, the Sedona Temple Parsonage at 185 Roadrunner Drive and a residence at 395 Inspirational Drive.

Among individuals arrested in Sedona was Goddess Temple founder Tracy Elise, 50, who was involved in a similar suspected brothel in Seattle, shut down by law enforcement in 2009. She was arrested in Sedona based on a Maricopa County Grand Jury warrant. Elise faces charges of prostitution, illegal control of a criminal enterprise, pandering and operating a house of prostitution.

Also arrested in Sedona were Tamara Brusso, 53, and Niki Faldemolaei, 51. Brusso was arrested based on a Grand Jury warrant from Maricopa County, and Faldemolaei was arrested on charges of participating in a criminal syndicate, keeping a house of prostitution, receiving earnings of prostitution, possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Sedona Police Commander Marlayne Hatler says, the investigation involving Phoenix undercover officers and Sedona PD surveillance has been ongoing and more arrests are expected to be made. The Maricopa County indictment listed 33 names.

The Phoenix police investigation began in early August. Once it became apparent that Phoenix Temple also has operations in Sedona, it became a joint investigation.

The Phoenix Temple began in the Phoenix jurisdiction and moved to Scottsdale, but ran afoul of zoning violations there and returned to Phoenix.

An explicit review of the Phoenix Temple in the Phoenix New Times caused police to investigate further.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Sunday, June 16, 2013
Article comment by: Sharif Maricopa

keywords:Maricopa County Grand Jury

We're dealing with some seriously backwards criminally corrupt redneck officials here. Somewhere in their lives they missed out on the class about the first amendment. If it is different from their beliefs or something they don't understand the shut it down for any made up reason. They are ignorant to the point of insanity. I mean come on folks, it's Arizona where they have THE WORST education in the country. Texans are geniuses compared to the screwballs.

Posted: Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Article comment by: john j willard

Tantra Kryia Yoga is a traditional meditational study, it does not look or do any of the things these so called temple does or claims to do, call a spade a spade, prostituion is a betryal of the body, what about the std risk, no sorry, majic fairy dust mantra' will not protect you or those you come in contact with, this organization is a huge std risk to a small town, this is absurd ego of lost souls, some would say it more directly a "spiritual scam". sad to see, such a great meditation tradition being misused for endangering the lives of innocent people, the great wisdom and the laws are never sperate only to thise who are unethical. Sedona needs to shut down the scams.

Posted: Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Article comment by: john j willard

Tantra Kryia Yoga is a traditional meditational study, it does not look or do any of the things these so called temple does or clais to do, call a spade a spade, prostituion is a betryal of the body, what about the std risk, no sorry, majic fairy dust mantra' will not protect you or those you come in contact with, this organization is a huge std risk to a small town, this is absurd ego of lost souls, some would say it more directly a "spiritual scam". sad to see, such a great meditation tradition being misused for endangering the lives of innocent people, the great wisdom and the laws are never sperate only to thise who are unethical. Sedona needs to shut down the scams.

Posted: Friday, September 14, 2012
Article comment by: Witness Gutfeeling

When I heard this "temple" of "tantra" and "sacred sexuality" got raided and called a "brothel"...ha! Karma does not discriminate and each and every one of us has our own running tab. Surprised they didn't get the real greasy one in sedona, or maybe they have by now. This is NOT tantra, nor yoga, nor religion, nor bonafide spiritual practice. It has been a successful ($$$$) business based on sex, emotional/sentimental games and old-fashioned woodstock mentality...sounds fun huh? People paying thousands to attend conferences. These "healers" using this shtick to travel around the globe spreading "sexual healing"...anyone with common sense will look at the scenario and see what it's about. Put all the love & light words you want to it and take from this or that to make it seem "holy" or special but it still comes down to sex and money.
Is there a place for sexual abuse healing, psychological recovery, self-help etc? Yes, but it's not these places. Saw impoverished people feeling inadequate, wounded/wronged, self-conceiting and at the same time self-hating as they try to appropriate yogic/vedic and spiritual directives in extremely watered down, diluted and clueless ways. What's the source of their practice and teaching? What's their credentials? Where did they learn from? Did they just pull it out of their ass? Pun not intended. Couldn't find a bonafide source, just appeasers and masturbaters. Is this racket that different than any other racket of this day & era? Doesn't every racket make money from some combo of sex, drugs, indulged ego? They think asking for a donation for sexual services rather than stating a fee up front makes them "not prostitution" is another opinion in the sea of shams. The hooker on the street is more sincere & honest cause they are straight about what and why they do they have to work given the same rules/laws but they don't need to front it to the customer. Does lighting a candle and talking softly to someone about their erectile issues qualify them to be "sacred sex healers"? Anyone can find a way to justify this or that, all the while getting themselves into a bigger shit storm with no umbrella. Look around at the business of attracts people who are running running running from something, trying to escape, deluded/conditioned into thinking they are SO victimized and wanting something outside to fix it for them...hence we get the billion dollar industry of self-help, "new age", "yoga", etc etc ... they are searching but too blinded to know when they are looking in the wrong place.

Posted: Sunday, September 9, 2012
Article comment by: Liz Cornell

In answer to the notion that this is not "traditional" Tantra, consider this: what is "traditional" medicine as once practiced in this country. There are many grim examples, such as civil war soldiers, having limbs amputated in the middle of a battlefield, without any concern for cleanliness, anesthesia or privacy. So is tradition better or more valid, than newer ways of doing things?

Further, what is traditional Christianity? How has it changed and developed over the centuries? How many members of one denomination still point fingers at members of another denomination? And how many recognized non-traditional religious organizations currently exist in the US and across the world? Far more than those, that teach us, which the body is dirty or shameful. Even within Christian sacred texts there is much said about the body and it is never devalued or minimized.

Most of the teachings, however, would have us believe otherwise. And this, and the marginalization of women & children, and profit- oriented, sexually-based businesses all play a huge part in the damage that has been done to the way sex is viewed and valued. If there is any perversion, it is here, not in the teachings of Tantra.

In the US we have a long and solid tradition of child abuse, pornography, domestic violence and many, many other violent practices that have at one time or another been considered legal. As a nurse, educator and a victim I have strong feelings about how the body is manipulated by traditional churches, medicine, the media, and on and on.

Many countries and states here have legalized the use of marijuana, prostitution, and no one gets arrested in most places for "shacking up".

In my own life I have suffered some serious and violent injuries that will leave me in serious chronic pain for the rest of my life. If it were not for the resources available via non-traditional yoga and a more evolved form of tantric practices I would not be able to walk or live independently. And yes, my disability makes it difficult to engage sexually as a normal human being.

While the practice of sex therapy, is still relatively new and mostly unregulated, it is a godsend for those who need it. When that day arrives, it will no longer be necessary for persons such as those found at the Goddess Temple to be cloaked in religion, or tradition, in order to ply their trade.

And until Americans learn to "get over themselves" we will continue waste, trees, air time and public dollars sensationalizing and litigating this concern.

Posted: Monday, February 20, 2012
Article comment by: john j willard

All who dispute this are dreaming at best. Where is the state board of health to protect the people of Sedona & Arizona, why are the people still in business. This is far from authentic tantra and it is a travesty at best to condone this behavior on all levels. State Board of health where are you now.

Posted: Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Article comment by: Newdawn Feathersmokewolfeaglespiritangel

All this commentary and no personal experience shared. As an enrolled member of the Tie-one-on tribe and the reincarnated soul of a Cherokee Medicine Man, I can speak with some authority.
These fine ladies cured me of a number of ills. I got my chakras reorganized, my third eye refocused and a really sweet massage all for ten bucks in your horrible American currency. It was a donation. This place was not a brothel. Only the doorman got paid. The goddesses provided their healing for free. How could anyone consider them hookers? This is an outrage. Or something.

Posted: Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Article comment by: Don Slater

Unbelievable,Prostitution in the cradle of such
holydumb.My goodness the vortex is out of
control,run to your mansions and light a candle
hit a gong,wave a wand and most definately
have a sweat lodge ceremony.

Posted: Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Article comment by: john j willard

This is not sacred practices, this is delussional wandering, safe sex non optional, no conscious person every endangers the lives of oneself or others, the seekers of an authentic journey have been misinformed in a failed paradign of decades ago, money for sex is illegal, risking the lives in the name of spiritual practice breaks every fundamental law spiritual and legal, where is the screening of HIV/STD testing, have any of these members every been tested, where is the state board of health, this is not traditional tantra, this is a delusional representation of an ancient spiritual study. Sad to see, seekers being misled, Arizona got it right. Where is the state board of health?!

Posted: Friday, November 25, 2011
Article comment by: Mary Devi Delancey

Where are the victims of this CRIME? The legal definition of prostitution is agreeing to sex for money. None of the Goddess were to speak about money in the chamber. That was what the gatekeeper was for, giving a suggested donation. The sessions were free! No one had to pay for anything. The seekers were gracious in recieving and in giving and so were the Goddesses. A few of the Goddesses were trapped by the popo to agree to whatever and now that brought the whole Temple down. Not every Goddess was prosituting. We were taking classess, four days in a row ten hours a day, Whole Body Healing, Magnetic Tantra, The Priestess Path. We were told to educate the seekers. The seekers came away refreshed, relaxed, released from stress, happy, ready to book another session with another Goddess to see what else they could learn. Where are all of the beautiful Seekers now supporting us with your words. Tell your story of your own personal healing. Please don't be afraid. Don't shy away from your truth. Don't shy away from doing the right thing and defending the Temple and everthing it stood for. How dare the media twist the truth into something that got a lot of people in trouble that did't deserve it. Don't the police have better things to do than to arresst women who would never hurt a flea. Go get the drug dealers, the pervert molesters, the drunk drivers, the men beating their wives or girlfriends. LET US BE! We have so much love in our heart we want to share it. We are on a very serious journey. The American Woman will save the EARTH. Love one another or Perish!

Posted: Saturday, October 1, 2011
Article comment by: john j willard

Traditional Tantra & Real spirit practices never dishonor, break the laws or endanger the lives of others, only the false ones do. Where is the State Board of Health on this, HIV & STD spreads via unconscious acts in the guise of spirituality, unheard Authentic Practices. johnjwillard

Who is the ring leader of this group? Are they going to seize the property? Why is anyone even negating ortalking about a scam that got busted in a spiritual conscept of honor, call a spade a spade, shut it down, State Board of Health

Posted: Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Article comment by: Goddess Ninmah

Native Americans have a form of tantra called Quidoska. The Oklevueha Native American Church granted the Phoenix and Sedona temples charters after a long review and gave them their blessings. Tantra is the oldest spiritual practice on this planet, the root religion for Christianity, Judiasm and Islam and all other religions to follow. Tantra is prevalant throughout the world, it's ancient writings, art and depictions grace temples everywhere and is found woven within many spiritual writings including Hindu, Buddhism and Native American, North and South American. I don't get where Mr. Savage gets off accusing our Priests, Priestesses and Ministers of our sacred, high spiritual church with such henious actions involving women, children and killing. Perhaps he's projecting? The Church/Temple of Tantra and Oklevueha Native American Churches embrace the polar opposite of such images. We are high spiritual beings, channels of love that see and encourage divine, loving oneness in all beings.

Posted: Sunday, September 25, 2011
Article comment by: Bob Dobbs

Over the past year, I heard from 4 different sources that sex was being sold at the Sedona temple.

My question is: How did the temple get away with it for so long!

I took a look at some of the "practitioners" bios on the Temple website (about a year ago) and was surprised at how sexually descriptive some of the bios and photos were. It certainly sounded like a 'brothel' to me.

If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck.

Posted: Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Article comment by: john j willard

What about the state board of many of these people have been tested and how many of these people are HIV & STD positive...a small town love was a failed paradign of 60's and 70's...why...unconcious and un accountable.. in every is wonderful...prostitution and criminal behavior is not..and endangering lives while breaking truly dis illussionment and reality...180 degrees seperated from real faith and community. State Board of Health was is up?!..

Posted: Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Article comment by: Baba Whatever

I wholeheartedly disagree with the comment that "these are good people". These people, in my experience and opinion, are the worst kind of charlatans and exploiters--they use others, and often vulnerable, gullible others, for their own gain, clothing the whole deception in spiritual terms. Truly offensive.

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