News24

Sex orgy cult leader arrested

2010-07-08 12:14

Moscow - Russian investigators have arrested the former psychiatrist leader of more than 100 people who held "uncontrolled" sex orgies in southern Russia, media reported on Thursday.

Members of the so-called Self Improvement Foundation "were encouraged with psychological pressure to have uncontrolled sexual relations with each other, including in the presence of minors", investigators said in a statement.

The group's leader was a psychiatrist who had worked for several years at a hospital in the southern city of Orenburg, RIA Novosti news agency reported.

Russian tabloids published a photograph of a burly, bearded man, named as Vyacheslav Vesnin.

News website Lifenews.ru posted a video confiscated by investigators that shows a girl performing a striptease on stage in front of a young man.

Another video showed young children reciting obscene verses while adults laugh and clap.

New cults

The members did not eat meat or drink alcohol and some spent long periods living at the leader's house, Komsomolskaya Pravda daily reported, citing investigators.

A total of 108 members were detained during a session at a camp site, the head of Orenburg's anti-extremism police squad, Bazargalei Yermekov, told Komsomolskaya Pravda.

Police searched the leader's three-storey brick mansion and confiscated more than 500 photographs, Yermekov said. The group's records listed a total of 150 members, including 12 minors.

Investigators have opened criminal charges into immoral acts and organising a group that infringed on people's rights and mental health.

Several cults have gained large followings in Russia in recent years.

In 2007-2008 an Orthodox Christian group spent eight months in an underground bunker in the Penza region of central Russia. They believed that the world was about to end.

In Siberia, a former traffic policeman who has proclaimed himself as a new Messiah and dresses in white robes has thousands of devoted followers.