Meditation instructor suspected of sexually assaulting child starting in 2000 in Boulder

BOULDER, Colo. -- A teacher and meditation instructor has been arrested on suspicion of sexually assaulting a child dating to 2000 and there might be more victims, the Boulder Police Department said Friday.

William Karelis, 70, was arrested for sexual assault on a child by one in a position of trust, police said.

The victim was allegedly assaulted by Karelis several times beginning in 2000 when she was 13 years old.

Police said Karelis was introduced to the victim while he served as a teacher and leader at meditation retreats at the Shambhala, a Buddhist community, police said.

Police believe that over the past 30 years, there are more victims.

Anyone who believes they or someone they know might have been victimized by Karelis is asked to call police at 303-441-1833 or 303-441-3369.

Police said there are no statute of limitations on sex offenses involving children younger than 15 years old.

Karelis’s attorney said his client is innocent of the charges and is confident his client will he found not guilty in court.

Shambhala's interim board issued statement.

"William Karelis was a member of the Shambhala community from its early days. In response to inquiries from the Boulder Police Department, Shambhala confirmed that Mr. Karelis was the subject of two Care and Conduct complaint procedures in 2002 and 2008. These were initiated by women who alleged that he had behaved inappropriately towards them. Due to his failure to comply with Shambhala’s Care and Conduct procedure, Mr. Karelis's teaching and meditation instructor credentials were suspended in 2004 and later permanently revoked in 2008. Owing to procedural disputes between Mr. Karelis and Shambhala’s Care and Conduct officers in both cases, neither resulted in an agreed resolution. Mr. Karelis resigned from the organization in 2009. None of the complaints received by Shambhala involved minors or reports of criminal behavior.  Shambhala has always and will continue to comply with mandated reporting concerning minors. We also have and will continue to cooperate with and fully support the ongoing BPD investigation."

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