The wife of John de Ruiter, a spiritual leader who was practicing out of St. Albert, is now facing charges of sexual assault along with her husband and the charges stem from three of the same incidents.
On Monday March 13, the Edmonton Police announced Leigh Ann de Ruiter, 64, was arrested and charged with three counts of sexual assault in relation to three separate incidents that happened between 2017 and 2020. The de Ruiters are connected with the Oaisis Group, which is a spiritual community that operated out of Edmonton and St. Albert.
John de Ruiter, 63, was arrested by the Edmonton Police and charged with sexually assaulting four people in separate incidents between 2017 and 2020. Police believe there may be additional complaints and encourage them to come forward.
John de Ruiter is a self-styled spiritual leader of a group known as the College of Integrated Philosophy or the Oasis Group, which operated out of the Oasis Building at 109 Avenue and 177 Street from 2007 to 2021.
On Jan. 21, 2023, John de Ruiter was charged with four counts of sexual assault. Leigh Ann de Ruiter’s charges stem from three of the same incidents.
On Jan. 27 John de Ruiter was granted bail under the conditions that he provide a $30,000 cash deposit, stay away from the complainant and give up his passport. He is also not allowed any unsupervised contact with any women aside from his daughter, wife and roommate.
The police say it was reported that de Ruiter informed certain female group members that he was directed by a spirit to engage in sexual activity with them, and that engaging in sexual activity with him will provide them an opportunity to achieve a state of higher being or spiritual enlightenment.
According to a Globe and Mail investigation into John de Ruiter in 2017, he was born in Saskatchewan and grew up in Stettler, Alta., and was one of four children of Dutch immigrants. John de Ruiter eventually became a shoemaker following in his fathers footsteps and then went to bible school. He started preaching in a Lutheran church in Edmonton, where he didn't get along with church leadership, the Globe reported. He would deliver sermons for nine-hours straight and by the time he left the church, a small handful of people followed him.
John de Ruiter is known for rarely addressing a whole group, but rather works with individuals in a one-on-one environment, according to his website.
His followers believe that gazing into his eyes allows the spiritual leader to make intimate connections with strangers, according to a Vice article on the religious leader.
But John de Ruiter has been no stranger to past controversies, and in 2014 one of followers went missing and her body was found seven weeks later near Nordegg, where the group when on camping trips and survival training.
Investigators believe there may be additional complainants, and are encouraging them to come forward. Anyone who believes they have been victimized by either of the two accused is asked to contact the EPS at 780-423-4567 or #377 from a mobile phone. Anonymous information can also be submitted to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or online at www.p3tips.com/250.