Read Report: Investigation into Shamir Shalom - November 2009 text version

Health Services Commissioner

Investigation into Shamir Shalom

Investigation Report

November 2009

Ordered to be printed Victorian government printer Session 2006-09 P.P. No. 260

LETTER TO THE LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL AND THE LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY

To The Honourable the President of the Legislative Council and The Honourable the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly

Pursuant to sections 11(2) and 11(5) of the Health Services (Conciliation and Review) Act 1987, I present to Parliament a report of an investigation into Shamir Shalom.

Beth Wilson Health Services Commissioner 24 November 2009

TABLE OF CONTENTS Executive Summary................................................................................................................. 1 1 Introduction .................................................................................................................. 4 1.1 2 A Review of Shamanic and Alternative Healing practices.................................. 4

Background .................................................................................................................. 8 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Names used by Shamir Shalom ......................................................................... 8 Client Ms A ......................................................................................................... 8 Client Ms B ......................................................................................................... 8 Advertising related to Shamir Shalom's services ............................................... 8 Claims made by Shamir Shalom to Ms A ........................................................... 9

3

Complaints received by the Office of the Health Services Commissioner........... 10 3.1 3.2 Client Ms A ....................................................................................................... 10 Client Ms B ....................................................................................................... 11

4

Handling of complaints by the Office of the Health Services Commissioner ...... 13 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 Client Ms A ....................................................................................................... 13 Client Ms B ....................................................................................................... 13 Correspondence between HSC and Shamir Shalom ....................................... 13 Issues identified for Investigation ..................................................................... 16

5 6

Investigation by the Office of the Health Services Commissioner........................ 18 Summary of Investigation ......................................................................................... 20 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 6.7 6.8 6.9 6.10 Interviews and Statements - Client Ms A.......................................................... 20 Statement Client Ms B...................................................................................... 20 Telephone statement Client Ms C .................................................................... 20 Telephone statements Frank de Angelis (brother of Shamir Shalom).............. 21 Statement Friend of Ms A................................................................................. 22 Statement Cousin of Ms A................................................................................ 23 Email received from Expert Advisor 2 .............................................................. 23 Meeting with St Kilda Criminal Investigation Unit ............................................. 23 Advertising and Promotional materials ............................................................. 23 Expert opinion .................................................................................................. 25 6.10.1 Expert Advisor 1 ................................................................................ 25 6.10.2 Expert Advisor 2 ................................................................................ 26 6.10.3 Expert Advisor 3 ................................................................................ 26 6.10.4 Expert Advisor 4 ................................................................................ 27 6.10.5 Aboriginal Liaison Officer, HSC ......................................................... 27 6.10.6 Consumer Affairs Victoria .................................................................. 27 Eltham Police ................................................................................................... 27 Living Now Magazine ....................................................................................... 28 United Nations .................................................................................................. 28 UNESCO .......................................................................................................... 29 Universal Peace Federation - Ambassador for Peace Award .......................... 29 Deakin University ............................................................................................. 29 Supreme Court of Victoria transcript ................................................................ 29 Magistrates' Court transcript............................................................................. 30 Statements made to the HSC........................................................................... 30

6.11 6.12 6.13 6.14 6.15 6.16 6.17 6.18 6.19

7

Summation.................................................................................................................. 33 7.1 7.2 Client / Practitioner professional boundaries .................................................... 33 False and Misleading Claims ........................................................................... 34

8

Recommendations ..................................................................................................... 36 8.1 8.2 8.3 Psychiatric assessment .................................................................................... 36 Restrictions on practice .................................................................................... 36 Revision of advertising materials...................................................................... 36 Advertising flyers (five pages) ­ Shamir (Wakinyan) Thunder Eagle Karaka Zion ................................................................................................... 37 Extract of Business Names; Business Affairs, Victoria (one page) ............... 42 Astro Networks Vic Inc website advertising (two pages) ............................... 43 Perfect for you Introduction Agency website advertising (two pages) ........... 45 Maya Living Free Health Centre advertising (two pages).............................. 47 Beaconhills School Newsletter (one page).................................................... 49 Letter to HSC from Shamir Shalom dated 8 December 2008, received 17 December 2008 (three pages).................................................................. 50 Practice Code of Ethics, The Australian Shamanic Practitioners' Association (four pages) ................................................................................................... 53

Appendix 1: Appendix 2: Appendix 3: Appendix 4: Appendix 5: Appendix 6: Attachment 1: Attachment 2:

Executive Summary

The Office of the Health Services Commissioner was established in Victoria in 1988 by the Health Services (Conciliation and Review) Act 1987 (the Act). The role of the Health Services Commissioner (the Commissioner) is to receive, investigate and resolve complaints from users of health services, to support health services in providing quality health care and to assist them in resolving complaints. The legislation also requires that information gained from complaints should be used to improve the standards of health care and prevent breaches of these standards.

Section 21 of the Act provides for the investigation of complaints if the Commissioner considers the complaint is not suitable for conciliation or considers the provider has failed to meet what are, in the Commissioner's opinion, generally accepted standards for health care delivery by providers of that kind.

For the first time I have decided to use my powers under section 11(5) of the Act. That section allows the Commissioner to name a person who is the subject of an Investigation where:

(a)

the Commissioner believes on reasonable grounds that naming the person is reasonably necessary to prevent or lessen the risk of a serious threat to­ (i) (ii) the life, health, safety or welfare of any person; or the health, safety or welfare of the public; or

(b)

the person is a provider who has reasonably failed to take action that has been specified in a notice under section 22(6) to remedy a complaint and has been given a notice under section 22(12).

Before naming a person in such a Report, the Commissioner must, at least 14 days before, have notified the person in writing of the intent to name them and given the person an opportunity to object to the naming. Such a Report may name any person who is involved in the matter being investigated.

The Commissioner conducted an Investigation into the practices of Mr Peter de Angelis who also uses the names Thunder Eagle, Shamir Shalom, Shamir (Wakinyan) Thunder Eagle Kara Zion, Malakhi and various combinations of these names. After conducting the Investigation, bringing concerns to Mr de Angelis' attention and taking into account the findings of a psychiatric report, the Commissioner decided that the naming of Mr de Angelis is necessary to prevent and lessen the risk of a serious threat to public safety, health and welfare and that Mr

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de Angelis has acted as a health service provider who has unreasonably failed to take action which has been specified in a notice under section 22(6) to remedy the complaint and has been given a notice under section 22(12). Mr de Angelis has not responded satisfactorily to the recommendations of my Investigation despite being given many opportunities to do so. He has also used many delaying tactics in an attempt to prevent me from naming him, including unsuccessful court action.

Background

The actions of Mr de Angelis were brought to the attention of the Commissioner through complaints lodged by his ex-clients Ms A and Ms B in 2008. Mr de Angelis has used the names Thunder Eagle and Shamir Zion and a combination of Shamir Zion Thunder Eagle and/or Shamir Shalom in his practice as a `shamanic healer.' The Commissioner wishes to make it clear this Report is not an Investigation into shamanism per se. Shamanic healing has been an important practice in many cultures and is considered ancient and holistic in nature but also holds an important place in the retinue of alternative and esoteric healing practices in modern Australia and other countries. There are many ethical shamanic healers however, the Commissioner has concluded that Mr de Angelis is not one of them. This Report is about his practices rather than those of any other shamanic healers.

The Investigation was in response to complaints made by two complainants that Mr de Angelis had formed sexual relationships with clients in his care. This is clearly unethical behaviour and the Investigation revealed Mr de Angelis acted unreasonably in the manner of providing a health service in that he:

breached professional boundaries with at least two clients, made false claims about his culture and training qualifications as a shamanic healer, and used these false claims to exploit his position to mislead clients and potential clients as to his expertise as a shamanic healer.

The Investigation made a number of recommendations with which Mr de Angelis did not satisfactorily comply.

A psychiatric assessment of Mr de Angelis was conducted by an expert in forensic psychiatry at Forensicare, Dr Douglas Bell. Dr Bell needed to determine whether Mr de Angelis'

behaviour could be accounted for in terms of mental disorder. He said there were three possible explanations for Mr de Angelis' behaviour and presentation:

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`1. 2.

That he has a schizophrenic illness; That he demonstrates the psychological presentation referred to variously as pseudologica fantastica or pathological lying; or

3.

That his behaviour, including his lying, cannot be accounted for in terms of any pathological mental state.'

Dr Bell concluded Mr de Angelis did not have a mental illness and, in his opinion, it was unlikely either pseudologica fantastica or pathological lying explained his behaviour. He

noted, `It is highly likely therefore that the explanation for his deceptive behaviour and overall presentation resides in factors other than any currently recognised form of mental disorder.' Dr Bell concluded, `...given the way that Mr Shalom characterised his involvement with Complainant A, the evidence of similar sexualised behaviour towards other clients, and his overall propensity to engage in deceptive conduct, it is difficult to have any confidence that Mr Shalom is able to satisfactorily respect the trust that is placed in him by emotionally vulnerable clients, or to observe the professional interpersonal boundaries required of any health practitioner.'

The Commissioner accepts Dr Bell's findings which lead to the conclusion that Mr de Angelis is a conman whose dangerous behaviour and lack of understanding of professional boundaries has put the public in danger. Even while he has been under the scrutiny of the Commissioner there are new allegations that he has continued to see new clients and to behave unethically towards them.

These are my reasons for taking the unprecedented step of tabling my Investigation Report in Parliament and naming Mr Peter de Angelis.

Beth Wilson Health Services Commissioner

18 November 2009

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1

Introduction

1.1

A Review of Shamanic and Alternative Healing Practices

The information related here provides a brief guide to the various formats and rituals involved in Shamanic practices. The intention is to provide some degree of understanding into what may be considered `usual practice' for any person providing Shamanic healing services. The use of alternative healing practices across a vast range of disciplines is now considered by many to be commonplace. Practices include disciplines such as naturopathy and acupuncture through to Reiki, Kinesiology and Shamanic healing. According to the Southern Cross University e-news dated 24 July 2008: "The Australian Bureau of Statistics figures out this week show that the number of people visiting a complementary health professional - most commonly a chiropractor, naturopath or acupuncturist - increased by 51 percent in the ten years to 2005. Almost 750,000 people (3.8 percent of the population) had visited this type of practitioner in a two-week period in 2005 compared to about 500,000 (2.8 percent of the population) in 1995. In another vote of consumer confidence in the natural health sector, the census data also showed the number of people working as complementary health professionals nearly doubled from 4,800 to 8,600 in the ten years to 2006"

(www.scu.edu.au)

To date, no definitive statistics are available regarding the number of people using healing practices however an internet search provides a vast range and number of providers advertising their services across a broad spectrum of practices. This suggests the options available to the general public are widespread in both disciplines available and practitioners providing the services. In researching the background to the practice of Shamanic Healing, the following information is provided on the homepage of the Australian College of Complementary Medicine: "Shamans and Shamanic Healing in Modern Life - Shamans are usually initiated into the profession through a profound ordeal. In this way, they learn to identify their own medicine and also embody the mythology and worldview of their people. They are then able to travel through the many worlds in which human beings can dwell in the service of healing and expansion of awareness.

They are experts in the use of symbols, myth, ritual and healing techniques, all informed by a psycho spiritual view of the world. Over the last twenty-five years, there has been a very large amount of research done on traditional shamanism and how it can assist us to live better,

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more richly in our busy lives. Shamanism reminds us that we are a part of nature, connected to the web of life, and that we can heal ourselves through this knowledge in specific ways. Indeed, the newly developed field of transpersonal medicine is almost totally informed by shamanism. It is important to note that every culture represented in Australia today has some shamanic tradition, no matter how attenuated it may be. Indeed, many Australians are busy not only tracing their lineage, family history, but also their shamanic legacy e.g. Celtic traditions" (www.complementary.com.au)

A further explanation of Shamanism is included on the Whispered Visions website, as follows: "Shamanism is a great mental and emotional adventure, one in which the patient as well as the shaman-healer are involved. Through his heroic journey and efforts, the shaman helps his patients transcend their normal, ordinary definition of reality, including the definition of them as ill. The shaman shows his patients that they are not emotionally and spiritually alone in their struggles against illness and death. The shaman shares his special powers and convinces his patients, on a deep level of consciousness, that another human is willing to offer up his own self to help them. The shaman's self-sacrifice calls forth a commensurate emotional commitment from his patients, a sense of obligation to struggle alongside the shaman to save one's self. Caring and curing go hand in hand.

What does distinguish the shaman from other types of healer are his methods. The journeying, or shamanic state of consciousness, allows the shaman to send out their consciousness to obtain information from the spirit world. This information is retrieved and used for further insight or healing. Example: a shaman might assist in healing a broken bone by opening up an increased energy flow to that area, or help a person half from an emotional depression by restoring energy lost because of a traumatic even" (www.whisperedvisions.com.au)

It is apparent from the brief outline of Shamanic Healing described above that the practice is considered ancient and holistic in nature whilst holding an important place in the retinue of alternative and esoteric healing practices. In an attempt to establish the `norm' for the practice of Shamanic healing internet research produced the following:

From `Shamanic Healing' website, Eva Rosenn, Shamanic Healer

"What Happens during a Session? We begin with a brief initial conversation. I open up sacred space.

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You lie down if you are able; all that I ask is that you remain open to the possibility of healing. I do a short journey to see what my spirit guides say you might need. I will then do a longer journey to perform the healing tasks that my spirit guides advise. I will then relate my journey and any further actions suggested by my guides.

Follow-up sessions are strongly suggested in cases of soul retrieval, to support energy reintegration and the letting go of compensatory habits in order to anchor the soul part. Sessions typically last 1-1/2 to 2 hours and can occur long-distance".

(www.bearshaman.com)

From Path Home Shamanic Arts School and Path Home Spiritual Healing Centre website, Gwilda Wiyaka, Healer

"My job, as a shamanic practitioner, is to go into non-ordinary reality by means of the journey trance. What is that? Simply put, a journey trance is a form of meditation using repetitive sound (drumming or rattling) to help the practitioner enter an altered state of consciousness where by he or she can access the unconscious of another. This information comes through in the form of an interactive dream complete with metaphors.

This access allows us to find where a person had disconnected from himself or his power and by drawing attention and understanding to it enables him to reconnect.

As an urban shaman, working out of a medical doctor's office, I use a drumming CD and headset rather than a drumming ensemble. I narrate the dream/journey to my client and tape it for further reflection. When I come back from my trance, we discuss the journey and what it meant to my client. Often I have related incidents to him from his childhood I had no way of knowing or understanding but in discussion we both are able to make sense of it and affect a healing in form of reconnection and integration. I then ask the client to listen to the tape between our sessions and journal their process of integration in order to support and accelerate their healing. This information and healing comes from deep in the subconscious like a dream and tends to slip back there if we do not take measures to hold it into our reality".

(www.findyourpathhome.com)

In addition to the practices described above, some Shamanic healers provide Shamanic counselling as outlined on the Health Touch ­ Shamanic Healing website:

"This form of counselling, operating at the interface of shamanism and psychotherapy acknowledges a perception of the world that recognises no separation between mind and matter. This approach to life upholds the importance of personal choice, authenticity, accepting responsibility for one's actions, acknowledging human beings as unique and whole,

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exploring subjective experience and seeking a meaningful life through personal growth. During a session traditional psychotherapy techniques may be used alongside shamanic journeying and work with energy. As a client your needs in regards to your entire being and within the context of your environment and circumstances will be addressed".

(www.healthtouch1.co.uk/shamanic)

There currently appears to be no Code of Conduct or practice for Shamanic Healers in Australia however an internet search provides a site in the United Kingdom which contains The Ethical Code for Shamanic Teaching and Healing and states "The Principles of Integrity ­ rules for the members of the International Society of Shamanic Practitioners". Included in the "affirmations of service" made by a Shamanic healer is the statement "I pledge to do no harm and to avoid any exploitation or misconduct in my work with clients".

(www.lovehealth.co.uk/admin/ethics.htm)

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2

Background

2.1

Names used by Shamir Shalom

The service provider was first presented as Shamir Zion Thunder Eagle by the complainant Ms A. During the course of the investigation it was established he used other names including Wakinyan, Karaka and Malakhi. It was also established his birth name is Peter de Angelis. During a conversation he informed the investigating officer that his name is now Shamir Shalom. For the purposes of this report the name Shamir Shalom is used other than when advertising or documents using his other names are presented.

2.2

Client Ms A.

Ms A first contacted the Office of the Health Services Commissioner on 4 July 2008, stating she had been receiving healing therapy from Shamir Shalom and he had initiated a sexual relationship with her while she was a client. She subsequently discovered three further

women, who were also clients, were also in or had been in, a sexual relationship with the man who was known to her as Shamir Thunder Eagle Zion. She believed that he had behaved unprofessionally and had exploited the position of trust.

2.3

Client Ms B.

Ms B first attended the Office of the Health Services Commissioner with Ms A on 15 August 2008 and provided a complaint statement on 17 September 2008. Ms B had also been a client of Shamir Shalom and developed a relationship with him. She then discovered Shamir Shalom had been sending the same intimate text messages to other female clients as well as to her.

2.4

Advertising related to Shamir Shalom's services

Three slightly different advertising flyers used by Shamir Shalom under the name of Shamir Thunder Eagle Zion were provided by Ms A (appendix 1). Two of the flyers state Shamir Shalom is a `Master Shaman, American Indian Healer' whilst the third states he is a `Psychic Shaman Vibrational Spiritual Human Monad'. All flyers state Shamir Shalom has `over 30 years Shamanistic experience', `American Indian / Sun Dance and Vision Quest ­ Shaman Initiate', `Australian Aboriginal Dreamtime ­ Shaman Initiate' and M.A. (Psych). Two of the flyers state "Thunder Eagle.....awarded the "Ambassador for Peace Award"'. In addition to the advertising flyers, it was established that Shamir Shalom as Shamir Zion was advertised

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to present at the Astro Networks Vic Inc meeting on 14 July 2008. The organisation's website included information about `Shamir Zion' ­ named as Wakinyan ­ Thunder Eagle on the site ­ stating he was born in the Bronx, grew up in South Dakota and other claims in line with the statements allegedly made to Ms A (see below).

The validity of the claims made by Shamir Shalom as Shamir Zion as stated in the advertising flyers and on the Astro Networks website was called into question during the investigation as the complaints stated there was evidence establishing he had not told the truth about his North American Indian birth and initiation into Shamanism. The potential breach of the Fair Trading Act 1999 was discussed with Consumer Affairs Victoria.

2.5

Claims made by Shamir Shalom as Shamir Zion Thunder Eagle to Client Ms A

Included in the complaint documents provided by Ms A relating to the time of the relationship between Ms A and Shamir Shalom is a list of comments allegedly made by him to Ms A. These included: Shamir Shalom was originally from the Bronx district of New York his father was a native American Lakotan Indian healer his mother (Miriam) was from a well respected Jewish family and ran a shelter for women where they lived the photograph used on his advertising flyers was taken when he graduated; he and his friends straightened his hair for the shot as it was curly he was initiated as a Shaman in the United States through his father's tribe and as an Aboriginal Shaman in Australia he spent three days on a cross in a ditch in the desert as part of the Lakotan Indian initiation, was bitten by a snake and nearly died, his father was present during the initiations he has been invited to be the Australian representative at the United Nations in New York he was nominated to be on the Australian board of UNESCO where he attends meetings last Saturday of each month

The validity of the claims allegedly made by Shamir Shalom to Ms A was called into question during the investigation to ascertain any possible fraudulent activity or misrepresentation, which would mislead his clients into believing he had an authenticity which he had no right to claim. Such fraudulent activity could be referred to the Police or Consumer Affairs Victoria.

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3

Complaints received by the Office of the Health Services Commissioner

Two formal complaints regarding the Shamanic healing services provided by Shamir Shalom as Shamir Thunder Eagle Zion aka Peter de Angelis were received by the HSC, the first from Client Ms A on 4 July 2008 and the second from Client Ms B on 17 September 2008.

3.1

Client Ms A

Client Ms A provided the following information in her complaint. Ms A first sought the services of Shamir Shalom as a Shamanic healer in January 2008. At the time, Shamir Shalom

worked from premises in St Kilda West in an apartment which was owned by his partner, a naturopath and which he also used to provide healing sessions to clients. As stated in the complaint, Client Ms A was going through a difficult emotional time and she found the first and second sessions were "traumatic" and "emotionally exhausting". The third healing session held on 8 March 2008 lasted for approximately 5 hours which Client Ms A described as "long, upsetting and exhausting, physically and emotionally". At the

completion of the session, Ms A was crying and "very emotionally upset" when Shamir Shalom "took me in his arms and held me tightly and intimately for quite some time, saying `I know, I know'". Shamir Shalom then kissed Ms A who pulled away from him, stating that she felt she was "deceiving" his partner who was in the apartment at the time. Despite this Shamir Shalom persisted with kissing Ms A, putting his hand under her top onto her torso and placing his hand between her legs over her clothes. Ms A admits that whilst she was "participating in this physical act" she was confused as to the nature of his intentions and practice. Ms A allegedly asked Shamir Shalom if the physical contact was common practice with his clients, if it had happened previously and if it was part of the healing work, to all of which he allegedly replied "no".

Following the third healing session in March 2008 the relationship evolved further with many text messages, telephone conversations and intimate sexual episodes taking place until May 2008. Ms A has provided the HSC with transcripts of many text messages from Shamir Shalom to her during the course of their relationship.

The complaint documents received from Ms A provide an extremely detailed account of her experiences and recollections. Included with the complaint is a dated commentary relating to two text messages sent from Shamir Shalom to various mobile telephone numbers as well as to Ms A, which was the trigger alerting Ms A to the possibility of other women receiving the same messages.

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On discovering this, Ms A called the numbers and established that one of the messages was also sent to the partner of Shamir Shalom and both of the messages were sent to three other women who were either current or had been recent clients of Shamir Shalom. When she informed the three other women of her suspicions two were able to confirm that similar events of a sexual nature occurred to them during and following their healing sessions. Ms A also established that the other women involved had previously received many of the same text messages as Ms A however their details had not been revealed in previous messages to her.

In summarising her complaint, Ms A states her concerns relating to the "disregard and disrespect for accepted ethical codes of practice within the traditions and practices of healing....as a shaman", the vulnerability of women who seek such healing, the "unprofessional, unethical and manipulative behaviour by crossing professional boundaries to engage in physical and sexual contact with his clients" and her concerns regarding the unprotected sexual contact with multiple partners where "this person demonstrates a disregard for the physical well being for his partner, himself and the other women he is and has been engaged with sexually". Ms A also provided HSC with court documents giving information about Mr Shamir Shalom's birth in Victoria to a family of Italian origin. She

complained he had misled her and others in claiming to be a Lakotan Indian by birth and an initiated Shaman.

3.2

Client Ms B

Client Ms B provided a complaint relating to her relationship with Shamir Shalom. She first attended a Shamanic healing session with the provider then known as Shamir Thunder Eagle Zion in July 2007. During this first session he "initiated sexual intimacy" with her. When she challenged him on the issue of crossing sexual boundaries with a client he replied "`he never, ever did and it was only because he was so overwhelmed with feeling for me". He went on to state "I love you and I don't just mean love, I mean really love, I have fallen in love with you".

Ms B informed Shamir Shalom she had no intention of entering into an affair as she was aware he had a partner. Shamir Shalom informed Ms B it would not be an affair, and implied his relationship would end. Ms B felt she was lead to put her trust in him.

In August 2007 Ms B ended the relationship as Shamir Shalom had "consistently compromised the healing work he was meant to be doing in our sessions by initiating physical intimacy instead....I had continually stated my dissatisfaction at this situation....he did not seem to take it seriously" and "he was consistently evasive when I questioned him on his

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relationship with his partner". Ms B felt personally and professionally betrayed by him as he had not carried out the healing work he had promised.

In March 2008 Ms B decided she would again pursue the healing work provided by Shamir Shalom with the intention of a "strictly professional basis". During the return session and whilst Ms B had her eyes closed and was deep in trance, Shamir Shalom "started kissing me and initiating physical intimacy". Ms B saw Shamir Shalom for one further session at his Eltham North home during which she was given white sage smoke to inhale, "contributing further to my altered state". Toward the end of the session Shamir Shalom again initiated sexual intimacy. It was soon after this Ms B was informed of the duplicated text messages by Ms A.

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4

Handling of complaints by the Office of the Health Services Commissioner

4.1

Client Ms A

Following receipt of the complaint from Ms A and initial review the Health Services Commissioner wrote to Shamir Shalom as Shamir Zion on 3 September 2008 by Registered Mail, enclosing a copy of the complaint summary made by Ms A and requesting a response by September to arrange a meeting to discuss the complaint. A telephone response was received from Shamir Shalom on 15 September stating he was unable to attend a meeting until after early October as he would be interstate until then, working with a cancer patient.

4.2

Client Ms B

A letter informing Shamir Shalom of the second complaint was sent by Registered Mail on 29 September 2008 requesting he attend a meeting at HSC on 14 October 2008 and requesting he confirm his intention to meet by 7 October. The second complaint was not included with this letter however Shamir Shalom was informed that a copy of the complaint would be available for him to read at the time of the meeting. The registered mail letter was returned to HSC on 9 October marked "unknown at this address'.

4.3

Correspondence between HSC and Shamir Shalom

HSC telephoned Shamir Shalom on 9 October 2008 to enquire about the returned letter and he stated he had no knowledge of the letter and requested it be re-mailed to him through ordinary mail. This was done on 10 October 2008. When given the name of the second complainant, he stated he did not know her. When informed of the request for his attendance at a meeting with the HSC he stated he would only do so if the Commissioner were present and stated he would have legal representation for the meeting. He stated he would contact HSC at a later time to arrange a date for the meeting as he was attending to "other related matters".

A further letter was sent to Shamir Shalom dated 17 October 2008 informing him he would have access to the complaint made by Ms B when he attends the HSC for a meeting to be arranged. In addition he was informed of the statement received by HSC from his brother Frank de Angelis, the Supreme Court transcript dated 10 November 2003 and the transcript of proceedings from the Magistrates' Court dated 30 August 2007 between Shamir Zion and Mark Davis, his partner's former husband. Shamir Shalom was also informed the Commissioner had agreed to meet with him to discuss the complaints.

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Shamir Shalom called HSC on 22 October 2008 and twice on 23 October 2008. During these conversations, Shamir Shalom:

-

stated he was putting together a brief for the police and wanted the HSC documents mentioned in the letter and the police would be in touch when he has compiled his brief

-

asked the officer how HSC had obtained the court transcripts; when informed of internet access of Supreme Court document, he stated the HSC officer was assuming he was de Angelis

-

stated the brochure with the picture of the Indian is not his brochure although HSC had not sent this brochure to Shamir Shalom

-

questioned the jurisdiction of the HSC stated Shamans do nothing the clients do the work said he was too unwell to attend a meeting and did not want HSC officers to visit him at his home

-

asked if he provided information would the HSC provide legal evidence the information would not be disclosed or used under any circumstances

-

stated he would charge HSC with harassment and infringement of his rights and requested proof of jurisdiction

Following these conversations, a letter was sent to Shamir Shalom dated 24 October 2008 informing him that as he was unwilling to attend a meeting he must provide written response to both complaints by 14 November 2008. The letter enclosed copies of both complaints, and copies of the relevant sections of the Health Services (Conciliation and Review) Act 1987 (s3, s16 and s21 regarding power to investigate).

In addition Shamir Shalom was sent a copy of the Supreme Court transcript de Angelis v de Angelis, the Magistrates' Court transcript regarding Shamir Zion and Mark Davis and a copy of the telephone statement provided by Frank de Angelis to the HSC on 16 September 2008.

Shamir Shalom called the HSC on 3 November 2008 stating he believed he is outside the HSC jurisdiction as he does not provide healing services but is an academy providing education to clients and a referral service to counselling where needed. He informed the officer he will respond in two stages providing the "full picture of the situation".

Shamir Shalom called the HSC on 12 November 2008 stating "HSC was wasting time and tax payer money" and requesting a further week to respond.

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Shamir Shalom sent a letter dated 9 November and received on 13 November 2008 and signed as Shamir Shalom at the address in Eltham. It became apparent he was using the surname Shalom from that point. The letter refers only to the complaint by Client Ms A as he had previously denied all knowledge of Client Ms B. The letter included (capitals used by Shamir Shalom):

-

"the allegations put forth to your department are false in every particular" "L (sic) am not a healer, I do not conduct healing sessions, I teach healers" "The name of my business is THE WORLD SHAMAN PEACE TEMPLE ACADEMY and the certificate of registration of business name is B2045983C" (appendix 2)

-

"L (sic) clearly do not fit within the scope of your departments legislation" "L (sic) have various testimonials from these people outlining their learnings and progressive thinking and knowledge gained in benefit from the sacred spirit space shared with me"

-

"(Client Ms A) has been set up by Mark Davis and Jack di Natale who are the background engineers trying to destroy, harm and kill me"

-

"From 1993 to 1998 as a psychic detective; running my own detective organisation besides my spiritual teachings: I conducted Extensive investigations on Joe Talia, ...... and Jack di Natale (who was the solicitor for Joe Talia)----they were imprisoned because of my reports to the special Drugs force, which is now parana (sic) drug force. L (sic) had a special code with the heads of the police in that Force during the nineties"

-

"This is a conspiracy which (Client Ms A) is a direct contributor and she will sternly deny this"

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"As I told you I will submit extensive chronological orders of events explaining and clearly outlining the truth of this matter nominating all the personalities involved"

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"This is a witchhunt and smeer (sic) campaign"

A second letter was received and signed Shamir Shalom dated 14 November 2008 however not received until 21 November 2008. This letter included:

-

"As per our conversation I am requesting to FOI the entire file that you have in your possession"

-

"As stated in my preliminary letter dated 13/11/08, I do not fall into your Act categories" "Your office is being used by criminal elements through the person/s making the supposed complaints"

-

"THUS FAR YOUR OFFICE HAS NOT GIVEN ME ANY EVIDENCE OF THE COMPLAINTS/LIES PUT FORTH by the nominated parties"

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-

"I STRONGLY REQUEST THAT YOUR OFFICE PLEASE PRODUCE EVIDENCE and perhaps this matter can be more easily dealt with"

-

"I am not the author of that phamplet (sic) you sent me, if you look carefully it has been put together in such a manner as too (sic) suggest obvious things......I AM A SPIRITUALIST SAGE/TEACHER"

-

"As an example I am able to produce testimonials of exactly (what) I do with my teachings" "I also seeking advice as to whether I should be relaying very sensitive information to your office"

-

"I therefore I await ­ 1 FOI particulars ...2.YOUR EVIDENCE OF ANY SEXUAL COMPAINT ...3. WHAT YOUR ACT STIPULATES IN NON-FOUNDATIONAL

ALLEGATIONS ... 4. ALSO LEGAL COMMENTS/UNDERSTANDINGS FROM YOUR OFFICE ABOUT MY SENSITIVE INFORMATION WHICH YOU ARE REQUESTING ....5. EVIDENCE THAT I FALL WITHIN YOUR ACT CATEGORIES"

Acknowledgement of the FoI request was sent on 25 November 2008 requesting lodgement fee of $22.70 or evidence of a pensioner or health card. Acknowledgement of Shamir Shalom's correspondence was sent on 4 December 2008 with a request for a response to the complaint made by Client Ms B as Shamir Shalom had not responded to this complaint.

A response was received by HSC on 17 December 2008 (attachment 1). The letter was similar to those received previously. In it Shamir Shalom states: He is outside the jurisdiction of HSC as he is a teacher not a healer and there is no healing element in his work as the student "is the healer". He does not recognise the name of the second complainant Ms B and her name is not in his diary Ms B may be part of the conspiracy against him The HSC is being used by criminals to achieve their aim to `destroy, harm and kill me"

He also requested assurance in advance that he would receive the entire HSC file in response to his FOI application before he paid the application fee. HSC wrote to him explaining the FOI requirements for the fee to precede the processing of his request.

4.4

Issues identified for Investigation

The services provided by Shamir Shalom as Shamir Thunder Eagle Zion meet the definitions of Health services under Part 1, s3 of the Health Services (Conciliation and Review) Act 1987 No. 25 of 1987 (Version incorporating amendments as at 7 December 2007) which includes any of the following services:

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(g) health education services (ha) therapeutic counselling and psychotherapeutic services; (k) services provided by practitioners of naturopathy, acupuncture and in other alternative health care fields

The Act defines a "provider" as a person who holds himself out as providing a health service.

Under the stated parts of the Act it is considered that:

-

Shamir Shalom as Shamir Thunder Eagle Zion aka Peter de Angelis holds himself out as providing services described as healing, counselling and alternative in nature and therefore meet the requirements of the definition of a health service and of a health education service

-

Shamir Shalom as Shamir Thunder Eagle Zion aka Peter de Angelis may be in breach of s16 (1) (b)(c) in that he acted unreasonably in the manner of providing a health service for the complainants Client Ms A and Client Ms B

The issues identified for investigation are that Shamir Shalom acted unreasonably by:

1) Breaching client / practitioner professional boundaries by initiating a sexual relationship with Client Ms A and Client Ms B during the course of providing Shamanic healing services

2) Making false statements to Client Ms A and including false statements in advertising flyers which state:

a. He is a North American Indian by birth and was born in the Bronx, New York, USA b. He grew up in South Dakota and was initiated in the ways of the Shaman Healer and Psychic at the age of 10 (as also stated in Astro Networks Vic Inc website advertising dated July 2008) c. He came to Australia in 1981 and was initiated into the Arunda people at Uluru in 1982 (as stated in Astro Networks Vic Inc website advertising dated July 2008) d. He is an "American Indian Sun Dance and Vision Quest ­ Shaman Initiate" e. He is an "Australian Aboriginal Dreamtime ­ Shaman Initiate" f. He holds a MA (Psych)

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5

Investigation by the Office of the Health Services Commissioner

The investigation was conducted by Ms Lynn Griffin, Manager, Assessment and Investigation, HSC and Ms Kathryn Anderson, Investigator, HSC.

Meetings were held with and / or statements received from the following persons: i. Client Ms A ­ interviewed August 15 and August 29 2008; complaint statement received August 29 2008 ii. iii. iv. Client Ms B ­ complaint statement received 17 September 2008 Client Ms C ­ telephone statement received 20 August 2008 Frank de Angelis (brother of Shamir Shalom) ­ telephone statements received on 16 and 29 September 2008 v. Friend of Ms A ­ friend of Ms A who attended home of Shamir Shalom on evening of 25 June 2008 to support Ms A; statement received on 29 September 2008 vi. Cousin of Ms A ­ cousin of Ms A who received text message from Shamir Shalom which was not intended for her; statement received on 29 September 2008 vii. viii. ix. x. Email received from Expert Advisor 2 (also see expert opinion) St Kilda CIU ­ meeting at HSC with Commissioner on 15 September 2008 Eltham Police ­ statement received on 1 September 2008 Living Now magazine ­ editor / sales personnel ­ telephone statements received on 28 November 2008 xi. xii. xiii. United Nations, Canberra ­ email statement received on 8 September 2008 UNESCO ­ telephone statement received 8 September 2008 Universal Peace Federation ­ Ambassador for Peace Award; telephone statement received on 8 September 2008

Expert opinion and reports were obtained from: i. ii. iii. iv. v. vi. Dr Ralph Locke, National Director, Ikon Institute Expert Advisor 2 Terry Larson (referred by Dr Ralph Locke) Expert Advisor 4 Aboriginal Liaison Officer, HSC re claims made Consumer Affairs Victoria ­ re advertising flyers

Other documents obtained:

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i.

Transcript of Supreme Court of Victoria Decisions in the case of de Angelis v de Angelis, judgement date 10 November 2003, in the application of Peter de Angelis against Francesco (Frank) de Angelis contesting the Last Will and Testament of their father

ii.

Copy of Magistrates' Court transcript re intervention order taken out against Mark Davis by Shamir Shalom in August 2007

iii. iv.

Deakin University ­ notice of BA conferred in 2001; discipline not stated Extract of Business Names showing nature of business as Educative and Healing

v.

Transcript of Supreme Court of Victoria Decisions in the case of R v Joseph Talia Gaetano Centra and Angelo Maglitto [1995] VSC 202

vi.

Advertising and promotion materials: a. Astro Networks Vic Inc website advertising b. Perfect for you Introduction Agency website advertising c. Maya Living Free Healing Centre flyer d. Reconciliation Breakfast (Universal Peace Federation sponsored event) flyer e. Beaconhills School Newsletter, issue 12 / 2007 f. Living Now magazine advertising

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6

Summary of Investigation

6.1

Interviews and Statements - Client Ms A

Client Ms A attended HSC on 15 August 2008 for the initial meeting and provided her completed complaint statement at the interview on the 29 August 2008. Both interviews were used to further establish the details of her relationship with Shamir Shalom.

During both interviews it was apparent that Ms A was extremely upset about the events which had taken place and led to her making a complaint. She described her feelings of vulnerability before attending the healing sessions with Shamir Shalom and her expectations of the sessions and their outcome. Ms A appeared an intelligent and articulate woman who, following the events she described felt she had been lured into the relationship under false pretences.

Ms A had spent considerable time and effort in establishing further information about Shamir Shalom including speaking to the St Kilda Criminal Investigation Unit on August 10 2008 who had informed her they were aware of Shamir Shalom following other complaints about his practice. Over the following days, Ms A was able to ascertain further information about Shamir Shalom which she forwarded to the HSC. In addition she was able to provide several `flyers' used by Shamir Shalom to advertise his services within the local area in various book and alternative therapy shops (appendix 1). Ms A has also provided dated `Journal entries' recording all telephone conversations she had with various people and organisations in trying to establish her options and in obtaining further information about Shamir Shalom.

6.2

Statement Client Ms B

Ms B provided a written complaint statement to the HSC on 17 September 2008. The events which took place have taken a severe toll on her psychological and physical well being. During telephone conversations with Ms B, it is apparent that she finds it difficult to talk about the events.

6.3

Telephone Statement Client Ms C

Client Ms C provided a brief statement regarding her relationship with Shamir Shalom however was unwilling to be included in a formal complaint. Ms C informed the HSC that "he (Shamir Shalom) approached her and kissed her at the end of two sessions at his rooms and once at her home where he had gone to discuss his Peace University ideas". Ms C went on to

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say she had suffered a "breakdown" after this and needed psychiatric help. She spoke with Police anonymously and no action was taken. She stated she would like to be part of a complaint and to seek compensation but was not well enough to do so at the time of her statement.

6.4

Telephone Statements Frank de Angelis (brother of Shamir Shalom)

Ms A said the birth name of Shamir Shalom is Peter de Angelis. She also provided the name and contact details of his brother Frank de Angelis who agreed to have contact with the HSC during the course of our investigation. To this end the HSC contacted Frank de Angelis by telephone on 16 September 2008 and explained the reason for the investigation. He was aware of the issues and of the HSC investigation and agreed to verify certain aspects of information as follows:

-

his brother Peter de Angelis was born in Melbourne in 1957 his parents were Italian (both now deceased) his brother has never been to America he first learned that his brother Peter de Angelis called himself Shamir Zion when one of his brother's former girlfriends contacted him

-

he has only ever referred to himself as Peter de Angelis when in contact with his family during the time Peter de Angelis attended boarding school at St Bede's in Mentone, another student who had an Asian / American background also attended; Peter de Angelis adopted the American accent from this student

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Peter de Angelis had stated to their father that he had a Jewish and Aboriginal background the photograph on the advertising flyer (used by Shamir Zion) is not Peter de Angelis at the time the photo is stated to be taken (1977) Peter de Angelis was an apprentice plumber in Melbourne

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Peter de Angelis first married around age 21; he gave up the plumbing apprenticeship and attended a hairdressing academy for 12 months

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following this Peter de Angelis went into a business for six months he then became a private detective he also completed a counselling course over 6 years as far as Frank de Angelis is aware Peter de Angelis has never been diagnosed with cancer (he has informed HSC that he has had cancer)

-

the Marlon in his name has been taken from his fixation with Marlon Brando and is self given

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on one occasion when Peter de Angelis was living with his partner in St Kilda her family attempted to speak to her; the police were called and when they arrived Peter de Angelis

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gave his name as Shamir Zion; however one of partner's family informed the police his real name was Peter de Angelis

Additional information was provided by Frank de Angelis on 29 September 2008 as follows: in 1973 our mother passed away in a car accident we where all involved in, Peter de Angelis was 16yrs old in 1974 he was at St. Bedes Boarding school in Mentone and was in Form 5 in 1975 he started his plumbing apprenticeship and was living with our father in our family home in Blackburn South in 1976 that continued in 1977 - 1978 he married his first wife, shortly after giving the plumbing away and entering John Morrey hairdressing course for 12 mths; he worked as a hairdresser for less than 12mths, saying it bored him talking to woman all day he stayed married to his first wife for approximately 5 years, ending around 1983 up until this time in his life he had not been overseas; when he married his second wife in December 1985, then and only then did he travel out of Australia on his honeymoon to the Maldives for 2 weeks

6.5

Statement ­ Friend of Ms A

At the time Ms A discovered the contact details of the other women who had received text messages from Shamir Shalom she decided to drive to his address in Eltham North to confront him. Ms A contacted a friend and business associate who agreed she should go with her to provide support. The friend provided the HSC with a statement verifying the events of the evening and confirming they were invited into the house by Shamir Shalom, who stated he was with a client at the time. Ms A and her friend said they would wait and asked to speak with Shamir Shalom's partner. He informed them she was out and Ms A indicated they would wait. He proceeded upstairs again and shortly afterwards came downstairs with a female. At this point Ms A warned the woman that Shamir Shalom "is sleeping with his clients, he is not honourable, he will probably try and sleep with you". Shamir Shalom then raised his voice and repeatedly told the client that Ms A was a "very troubled and disturbed" woman. The female client then left the house. Shamir Shalom called the Eltham police stating there were trespassers in his home. At one point Shamir Shalom "became physically threatening as he tried to grab Ms A's bag (presumably to take the phone) and a brief tussle ensued". Shamir Shalom "then grabbed her to drag her out of the house so at that point we both stood up and said we would wait outside for the police". The Eltham police attended the house and took statements from both parties.

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6.6

Statement ­ Cousin of Ms A

During the time Ms A was in the relationship with Shamir Shalom she mentioned that her cousin in Sydney may be in a position to assist him with an aspect of his work. To this end, Ms A provided Shamir Shalom with her cousin's mobile number. On 25 May 2008 at 5.30am, the cousin received a text message from Shamir Shalom (phone number 0433 527 897). In her statement to HSC she states "the content of the text extended to two (2) screens at least; in addition I found the themes contained in this text quite disturbing". The text message was not intended for the cousin of Ms A.

6.7

Email received from Expert Advisor 2

Expert Advisor 2 had previously been contacted to provide expert advice regarding Shamanic healing (see s 6.10.2). He sent an email to the investigating officer on 20 October 2008 regarding two students attending the institute who had both been to Shamir Shalom for healing sessions. Both students described inappropriate actions and comments made by Shamir Shalom including his request they drink their own urine. One session went from 3pm until 12.30am, the other lasted for 7 hours. Neither of the students wished to make a direct complaint to the HSC.

6.8

Meeting with St Kilda Criminal Investigation Unit

Initially Ms A contacted St Kilda CIU and spoke with a Detective Senior Sergeant who informed her there was an investigation into Peter de Angelis also known as Shamir Zion. Ms A informed him of her complaint and of the HSC review. HSC contacted the Detective on 25 August 2008 and he informed HSC of his knowledge of the complaint. He was unsure if any charges would be laid at the time. The Detective and a colleague met with the Commissioner and the HSC officers involved in the investigation on 15 September 2008. It was agreed the HSC should continue with the investigation.

6.9

Advertising and Promotional Materials

Ms A was able to provide several flyers and other advertising and promotional documents regarding Shamir Shalom. The following items have been reviewed:

Advertising flyers (appendix 1):

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a. Photo ­ not established if this is Shamir Shalom; his brother states it is not how he looked at that time and the photo does not bear any resemblance to Shamir Shalom now b. 30 years experience statement ­ brother's statement and court transcripts call this into question; no evidence has been provided to substantiate this claim c. American Indian born and Shaman initiate ­ no birth certificate, adoption papers or travel documents have been provided to substantiate this claim d. Australian Aboriginal Shaman initiate ­ no evidence has been received to substantiate this claim e. MA Psych ­ no evidence has been received to substantiate this claim

Astro Networks Vic Inc (appendix 3): a. He was born in the Bronx, New York, USA b. He comes from a natural lineage of Shaman, Psychics and Healers of the American Lakotan Sioux Indians c. He grew up South Dakota d. He was initiated in the ways of the Shaman Healer and Psychic at age 10 e. He arrived Australia 1981 f. He was initiated Arunda / Uluru as Gardachi man 1982

All of these claims are refuted by Frank de Angelis, Shamir Shalom's brother. In addition information contained in Supreme Court of Victoria transcript (see 6.17) state Shamir Shalom was born in Australia of Italian parents. Shamir Shalom has stated to the investigating officer that he was adopted by the de Angelis family when he was an infant.

Perfect for you Introduction Agency (appendix 4): a. Website, Queensland based; download on 10 September 2008 obtained by Client Ms A and emailed to HSC showed an article about `Thunder Eagle' with Native American background, advertising his expertise in healing etc. Stated he charges $100 per hour.

Maya Living Free Health Centre (appendix 5): a. States Thunder Eagle (Shamir Shalom) is a healer and shaman with training in psychology, political science and a number other disciplines b. Organisation is predominantly run by and for Aboriginal community; using his `Aboriginal Shaman' status

Ambassador for Peace Award quoted on flyers (appendix 1):

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a. Quote on newsletter for Ambassadors for Peace states "One receives the Ambassador for Peace certificate, not fundamentally as an award, but rather as an appointment or a commission. The certificate both honours an individual for past achievements, and installs or appoints a person to a position that carries new and on-going responsibilities aimed at creating a world of peace". Presented on the advertising flyer as an `Award'

Beaconhills School Newsletter (appendix 6): a. As stated in their newsletter i. American of mixed heritage....Lakota Sioux American Indian heritage ii. Thunder Eagle has been a practising healing shaman and also holds a Masters degree in psychology iii. He is an Ambassador for Peace

6.10

Expert Opinion

6.10.1 Expert Advisor 1 - Dr Rafael Locke, PhD, BD, BMS, BSS, Grad Dip Comp Medicine, Dip Nat and Health Sci, SNTR, CNMP; National Director, Ikon Institute

`Dr Locke is the founder of the Ikon Institute and developed the Ikon Diplomas. He has spent over 30 years in education, training and research. He trained in Australia and the US in anthropology, psychology, medical science and natural medicine. After Doctoral studies in Australia, he received a CSIRO post-doctoral fellowship at MIT and Harvard. Dr Locke is currently a Professor in the Department of Perceptual Studies, School of Psychiatry, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia USA ` (Phoenix institute website)

`Ikon Institute is a national education, training and research organization which was established in 1988 in Western Australia. It is currently the premier organization for the delivery of transpersonal education and training in Australia. Its courses provide students with a fully professional education in psychospiritual approaches to counselling, psychotherapy, community work, medicine and complementary medicine' (Ikon Institute website)

Dr Locke is widely considered an eminent teacher of Shamanic healing practice in Australia. He was first contacted by Ms A prior to her complaint to the HSC. After this, the HSC contacted Dr Locke however as he is based in Western Australia he agreed to provide contacts in Melbourne. He was particularly concerned about the alleged practices of Shamir Shalom. When informed of the statements made by the Shamir Shalom regarding being an Australian Aboriginal Shaman Initiate, Dr Locke responded:

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"I have to say that is it extremely unlikely that this person is an Aboriginal Shamanic Initiate. Aboriginal cultures do not refer to `shamans' but use the culturally specific names e.g. `marban' (Western Desert), nor do they initiate people into the Dreamtime; rather, initiation is into the `lore' and `law' i.e. initiates become `lawmen'". 6.10.2 Expert Advisor 2

Expert Advisor 2 has lectured and worked as a Senior Consultant at RMIT University. He has an interest in rites of passage, ethics, cross-cultural work and psycho-spiritual approaches to counselling. He completed his Masters Degree at Melbourne University. He is currently completing his PhD at La Trobe University. The HSC contact Expert Advisor 2 on the suggestion of Expert Advisor 1. He provided the following information: "Your recent phone call re "Shaman" has raised some important issues and concerns regarding shamanic/traditional practices in Australian contexts, particularly in relation to ethics, boundaries and mental health concerns. I believe the type of issues being raised may begin to increase as people (mainly young Australian women) explore and experiment with these types of shamanic rituals and mind altering techniques and practices. In some cases these activities can place them in very vulnerable situations and l have often been asked to give advice to my students about doing these sorts activities. Your complaint raises many complex issues but l believe they need to be carefully considered given an ever increasing interest in shamanic work.

l suggest asking Expert Advisor 4 to meet with you. Expert Advisor 4 has been involved in shamanism for over ten years, in Australia and overseas, and has been teaching women's shamanism in Australia, is very well read and has a practical knowledge of woman's shamanic practice. It needs to be noted that shamanic practice is often different between men and women and this could have a bearing on the current problem".

6.10.3 Mr Terry Larson BA Anthropology, BA Social Work and Diploma Shamanic Practice.

Dr Locke suggested contacting Mr Larson for expert advice. Mr Larson has worked with remote and urban Aboriginal people and has trained under Dr Locke. During the email and telephone communication with Mr Larson he informed HSC he would not be in a position to attend a meeting with Shamir Shalom however he would be pleased to suggest a question to be put to him during our meeting. Mr Larson provided a question and an expected response which was received by HSC via email on 3rd October 2008, as follows:

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"How would you respond to the claim that you encouraged your clients to develop a dependency on the outcomes of your shamanic healing services?"

6.10.4 Expert Advisor 4

Expert Advisor 4 has travelled extensively throughout Europe and the Americas, undertaking rigorous shamanic training over the last ten years.

The investigating officer met with Expert Advisor 4 on 6 October 2008 following which the advisor provided several pertinent questions and expected responses for use during a meeting with Shamir Shalom if this could be arranged.

6.10.5 Aboriginal Liaison Officer, Health Services Commissioner

In view of the claims made by Shamir Shalom regarding his status as Australian Aboriginal Shaman initiate the HSC Aboriginal liaison officer was requested to provide advice and assistance. During the course of her enquiries two flyers were obtained from the Maya Living Free Healing Centre in Thornbury promoting a Reconciliation Breakfast to be held on 12 July and 11 October 2008 with speakers including Shamir Shalom. The flyer states "Thunder Eagle is a healer and shaman, with training in psychology, political science and numerous other disciplines" (appendix 5).

6.10.6 Consumer Affairs Victoria

The advertising flyers provided by Ms A included many statements regarding Shamir Shalom's alleged training and expertise. To ensure the advertising met with all relevant sections of the Fair Trading Act 1999 the flyer was presented to Fair Trading (Victoria) to obtain advice and if necessary for them to investigate in their usual manner. A letter was received from CAV on 27 November 2008 informing the Commissioner of their decision to take no action as they have not received a formal complaint at this time.

6.11 Eltham Police Ms A and her friend attended the home of Shamir Shalom on the evening of 25tJune 2008. During the course of the visit Shamir Shalom called Eltham Police who attended the premises. On request, Eltham Police provided an email statement confirming their attendance at the stated premises on the night in question however were unable to provide any further information due to privacy requirements.

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6.12 Living Now Magazine

Shamir Shalom had been advertising his services with Living Now magazine as follows:

AMERICAN INDIAN MASTER SHAMAN healer. Soul retrieval. Shaman journey: past, present, future, higher self, reincarnational regressive cellular cleansing. Sweat lodge. Vision quests. Detoxification. Elevating to consciousness of nothingness. (Wakinyan) Thunder Eagle. Shaman, psychic, spiritualist, healer, counsellor. 0433 527 897.

The advertising was accompanied by a black and white photograph of a male with long hair which is the same photo as that used on the advertising flyers provided by Client Ms A about Thunder Eagle. An Account Manager for Living Now magazine provided the following statement:

Client Ms A had contacted the editor who informed her of her concerns regarding Shamir Shalom's practices. The editor told Client Ms A "a few months ago a woman who had seen him (Shamir Shalom) at Blue Angel had made a complaint to St Kilda police and to Living Now but would not give her name". Shamir Shalom was contacted by the general manager at Living Now magazine. Shamir Shalom suggested the woman was an ex-client and that he was being set up. The general manager was convinced of his innocence and took no further action. When Client Ms A contacted the editor and recounted her story the decision was made to withdraw his advertising. When Shamir Shalom was informed of this he called two staff at the magazine (one male, one female) and proceeded to threaten the magazine with legal action stating he had a friend who is a lawyer, that he had studied law and that he would sue the magazine. He was informed again that the magazine would not accept his advertising.

Staff at the magazine confirmed the person they know as Thunder Eagle to be the same person known to the HSC as Shamir Shalom as, following his visits to their offices, they were able to describe him.

6.13 United Nations

Shamir Shalom allegedly made a statement to Client Ms A that he "is a part of United Nations which nominated him to the board of UNESCO". The UN in Canberra was contacted to verify Shamir Shalom's alleged statement. An email response dated 8 September 2008 states "All agree his claim seems most improbable and no one here has ever heard of him".

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6.14 UNESCO

Shamir Shalom allegedly made a statement to Client Ms A that he "attends meetings with UNESCO every last Saturday of the month in the city". UNESCO in Canberra was contacted to verify Shamir Shalom's alleged statement. The officer was informed that Shamir Shalom is not part of the UNESCO board and that no UNESCO meetings are held in Melbourne. The officer was provided with a name to contact as the co-ordinator of the Australian Federation of UNESCO Clubs based in Melbourne. The mobile phone number provided was disconnected.

6.15 Universal Peace Federation ­ Ambassador for Peace Award

Advertising flyers promoting the services of Shamir Shalom (appendix 1) claim he has been "awarded the Ambassador for Peace Award". This is also mentioned in the Beacon Hills School newsletter issue 12, 2007 following his visit to the school to present to Year 9 students (appendix 6). To verify this claim the Universal Peace Federation in Sydney was contacted where it was confirmed that this is not a specific award as such but more of a "spiritual award" and no records are kept of recipients.

6.16 Deakin University

Advertising flyers promoting the services of Shamir Shalom claim he holds a "MA (Psych)" (appendix 1). He also allegedly informed Client Ms A that he holds a masters degree in Psychology. A search provided evidence of Shamir Malakhi-Zion-Angel Shalom conferred a Bachelor of Arts on 30 March 2001. No discipline was provided. A letter dated 3 September 2008 requested he provide evidence of the MA (Psych) as advertised however this was not acknowledged by or received from Shamir Shalom.

6.17 Supreme Court of Victoria transcript

Client Ms A informed the Commissioner of a Supreme Court of Victoria Decisions transcript dated 10 November 2003 between Peter Marlon de Angelis (Plaintiff) and Francesco (Frank) de Angelis (Defendant). The transcript describes an application by Shamir Shalom to contest the will of his late father. The transcript describes many aspects of Shamir Shalom's background including: he was born on 4th August 1957 to Italian parents and his parents resided in Melbourne his mother died as the result of a car accident whilst the family were on holiday in Queensland at Christmas 1972

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-

he attended school in Ballarat, Mentone and Box Hill during the years 1973 to the end of 1975

The transcript makes no mention of Shamir Shalom's alleged birth in America and move to Australia where he was adopted as an infant as described by Shamir Shalom during conversations with the investigating team. Expert evidence accepted by the Supreme Court stated the Plaintiff had permanent physical and mental disabilities and would never to able to work.

6.18 Magistrates' Court Transcript

The proceedings recorded by Melbourne Magistrates' Court dated 30 August 2007 between Shamir Zion (Plaintiff) and Mark Davis (Defendant) relate to an intervention order taken out by Shamir Shalom against Mr Davis who is the ex-husband of Shamir Shalom's partner. Within the document Shamir Shalom makes statements regarding his background and his visits to America, the dates of which conflict with the information provided in the Supreme Court Transcript (as above). In response to the statement put to him that he "put about a flyer in which you advertise yourself as a Master Shaman, an American Indian healer" Shamir Shalom answered yes. He also stated the photo of himself in the flyer was taken in South Dakota.

6.19 Statements made in correspondence and verbally to the Office of the Health Services Commissioner

During conversations with the investigating officer and in the correspondence received dated 9 and 14 November 2008, Shamir Shalom made several statements which conflict with other information gained during the course of the investigation:

a) He is not a healer, does not conduct healing sessions and teaches healers only. However in direct contradiction of this: all advertising obtained by the HSC relating to Shamir Zion / Thunder Eagle includes the word `healer' both complainants and others making or included in statements went to see Shamir Shalom for the purposes of `healing' he has a registered business name with Business Affairs (Melbourne) which states the nature of the business as Educative and Healing; this was registered on 5 October 2007

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b) The flyer advertising Thunder Eagle is not his. In the letter sent by Shamir Shalom to the HSC dated 14 November 2008 he states "I am not the author of that phamplet (sic) you sent me..." However in contradiction to this: The HSC did not send a copy of the flyer to Shamir Shalom at any time during the course of the investigation Shamir Shalom's advertising in Living Now magazine uses the same wording as the flyer and also includes the same photograph as that used in the flyer; the statement provided by a staff member at the magazine confirmed the person they know as Thunder Eagle to be the same person known to the HSC as Shamir Shalom as he had visited their offices and they were able to describe him in 6.18, the Magistrates' Court transcript shows Shamir Shalom agreeing the flyer described was his

c) He was instrumental in the imprisonment of two persons relating to the work he did with a special drugs force from 1993 ­ 1998, however in contradiction to this: the persons mentioned were convicted of embezzlement and fraud relating to real estate dealings in Queensland in 1995; the case was not related in any way to drugs (Transcript of Supreme Court of Victoria Decisions in the case of R v Joseph Talia Gaetano Centra and Angelo Maglitto [1995] VSC 202) in the Magistrates' Court Transcript of 30 August 2007 Shamir Shalom states one of the persons mentioned "...was in prison for fraud or embezzling" thereby

countering his claim of assisting with this person's imprisonment for drug related crime Shamir Shalom has not provided any evidence to support his claims that he was ever part of any drug investigation case.

d) He conducts ongoing psychic detective investigations with Victorian and Federal police no evidence has been provided to validate this claim both Victorian and Federal police were contacted by the HSC; no evidence was obtained from either organisation to verify or deny this claim

e) He has various testimonials regarding his teaching work despite stating testimonials are available in both letters, nothing has been provided to the investigators to validate this claim

f)

Other statements made during telephone conversations with the investigating officer include: he was born in New York, USA to Lakotan Indian parents

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-

he was taken to Australia for adoption at a young age (about 3) by the de Angelis family

-

because of reasons of great sensitivity there are no adoption papers his brother who is younger is unaware of the adoption he was not treated fairly by his adopted father's will because of the adoption he travelled back to the USA as a young man to take part in the initiation ceremonies and was there intermittently over two years

-

because he worked in a sensitive role with the New York police department he has no travel documents or records

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7

Summation

7.1

Client / Practitioner Professional Boundaries

When presented with a complaint relating to a breach of Client / Practitioner professional boundaries relating to sexual conduct, certain issues must be addressed. In Crime in the Professions (Chapter 10 Health Care Providers, Complaints and Unprofessional Behaviour in a Changing

Environment; Ashgate pub; Smith, RG (ed) 2002) it states

Health Care Complaints Commissioners

have jurisdiction over all health service providers including those not registered by a statutory authority. Whilst sexual misconduct by a registered practitioner may be dealt with by a registration board, this sanction is not available in the case of a non-registered practitioner, such as a counsellor or some psychotherapists. Commissioners are able to investigate complaints involving non-registered practitioner but have fewer sanctions than for registered practitioners. However, such allegations should be no less rigorously investigated as such behaviour is inappropriate, exploitative and unethical where there is a health provider/client relationship. The power imbalance and the vulnerability of the client seeking assistance make it even more important that the practitioner behaves ethically in order to maintain professional boundaries.

In light of the exponential rise in the number and type of `alternative therapy' practitioners currently providing services, it may be considered that people who seek such therapies are more often than not in a state of psychological distress when they present for treatment. This raises issues surrounding the vulnerability of the client and their need to be assured of safe and appropriate treatment by the practitioner. As there is currently no regulation of the broad range of `alternative therapies' the public must rely on word of mouth referrals and obtaining as much information about the practitioner as possible before seeing them.

Many alternative therapists aim to ensure public protection by the use of a Code of Conduct or similar creeds such as the Ethical Code of Practice for Shamanic Healing and Teaching, developed by the International Society of Shamanic Practitioners (www.lovehealth.co.uk). This code includes a "pledge to do no harm and to avoid any exploitation or misconduct in my work with clients". Evidence such as this, and those websites quoted at the beginning of this report, demonstrates a widespread acceptance and endorsement of these codes of conduct in the realms of alternative therapies.

Training in the practice of alternative therapies has also developed in recent years with many registered training institutions now providing instruction in a broad range of alternative

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therapies. Training is available from reputable institutions and practitioners in Shamanic healing practices.

7.2

False and Misleading Claims

Because the provision of a health service requires the patient or client to place a high level of trust in the professional, it is very important that the professional does not knowingly mislead the client about their level of qualifications and training. Just as a person may not hold themselves out to be medically trained when they are not, neither should they hold themselves out to have qualifications in alternative or complementary therapies when they do not. There are many reputable practitioners in these fields who have adequate training, behave ethically and do not exploit their clients. Shamir Shalom is not one of these.

In claiming to be of Native American ethnicity and cultural origins Shamir Shalom created an aura of credibility that his clients and other members of the community accepted in good faith. It is unlikely that a similar level of credibility would have been given to an Australian born self taught "Shaman" no matter how impressive his performance of the role.

In his earlier advertisements Shamir Shalom has claimed to be born in the Bronx and raised in South Dakota moving to Australia in 1981. This might account in part for the New York accent he uses; however, the more recent story told to this Office that he was born in New York, adopted by an Australian family at a very young age ("about three") returning briefly to the USA as a young man makes the New York accent highly questionable and implausible.

When asked about his life and training, Shamir Shalom either takes offence at the inferred slur on his racial ancestry or suggests that the truth is highly sensitive with regard to national security or politics or police activity and that enquiries into it may lead to harm for the enquirer.

The shifting of the elements of his story over time, together with the reluctance or inability to provide any evidence for his claims leads me to conclude there is little if any truth in them and that he has created this story for the purpose of misleading his clients and earning their trust where this is not warranted.

Shamir Shalom has demonstrated he is a persistent liar who frequently changes his stories to cover his unethical behaviour. My investigation into the practices of Shamir Thunder Eagle Zion is now complete and I have determined:

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Shamir Shalom offers services as a healer and therefore is under my jurisdiction in the handling of complaints made against him

-

the advertising flyer with the photograph of a young man appearing as a Native American Indian and the descriptions relating to the background and expertise of the practitioner named as Shamir (Wakinyan) Thunder Eagle Karaka Zion was produced and distributed by Shamir Shalom

-

the advertising flyer and other advertising relating to the services provided make claims as to his background and expertise which are false and misleading

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Shamir Shalom breached the client / practitioner boundaries by forming a personal relationship with the complainants and sending them multiple intimate text messages and establishing a sexual relationship with at least two female clients

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by establishing sexual relationships with these two clients Shamir Shalom preyed on the vulnerability and psychological distress which both clients described as one of the major reasons for seeking out healing services

-

Shamir Shalom has made false claims when responding to the Office of the Health Services Commissioner in relation to the complaints received by two complainants

-

in light of the Consultant Psychiatrist evidence given in the Supreme Court of Victoria transcript on behalf of the Plaintiff and the behaviour of Shamir Shalom in responding to the complaints addressed to my office concerns are raised about his state of mental health

I have therefore concluded Shamir Shalom acted unreasonably in the manner of providing a health service for the users and acted unreasonably in providing a health services for the users in that he:

-

breached professional boundaries with both clients made false claims about his cultural and training qualifications as a Shamanic healer

-

used these false claims to exploit his position and to mislead clients and potential clients as to his expertise as a healer

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8

Recommendations

Following the investigation of the complaints made by Ms A and Ms B, I make the following recommendations.

Shamir Shalom should take the following steps:

8.1

Psychiatric Assessment ­ because of the past diagnosis as stated in the Supreme Court of Victoria transcript and his current behaviour as observed in his response to the complaints, seek a psychiatric assessment

8.2

Restrictions on Practice ­ only practice in this field (Shamanic education and healing) if working in accordance with the Practice Code of Ethics developed by the Australian Shamanic Practitioners' Association (attachment 2)

8.3

Revision of Advertising materials ­ only make claims verbally and in advertising materials of any cultural background or qualifications which can be supported by documented evidence.

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APPENDIX 1

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APPENDIX 2

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APPENDIX 3

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APPENDIX 4

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APPENDIX 5

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APPENDIX 6

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ATTACHMENT 1

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ATTACHMENT 2

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Health Services Commissioner Telephone: (03) 8601 5200 Fax No: (03) 8601 5219 Toll Free: 1800 136 066 Email: [email protected] Level 30, 570 Bourke Street, Melbourne Victoria 3000 Website: www.health.vic.gov.au/hsc

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Report: Investigation into Shamir Shalom - November 2009