A spiritual leader conducting meetings in an office building on St. Albert Trail in the city has been charged with four counts of sexual assault.
Johannes (John) de Ruiter, 63, was arrested by the Edmonton Police and charged with sexually assaulting four people in separate incidents between 2017 and 2020.
De Ruiter, who was arrested on Saturday Jan. 21, 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 on 109 Ave and 177 St. from 2007 to 2021.
The leader is now holding his meetings in St. Albert, according to the Edmonton Police, as well as spiritual retreats out of a campground near Smith, Alta.
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.
Investigators believe there may be additional complainants, and are encouraging them to come forward. Anyone who believes they have been victimized by the 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.