PASADENA YOGA INSTRUCTOR CONVICTED OF SEXUAL BATTERY
PASADENA, Calif.—Pasadena City Attorney/City Prosecutor Michele Beal Bagneris today announced the successful conviction of a local yoga instructor on four counts of sexual battery.
A Los Angeles County Superior Court jury in Pasadena on Nov. 13, 2013 found Naader Shagagi, 56, a yoga instructor and owner of Yoga Kingdom Sanctuary, 553 S. Lake Ave., guilty of four misdemeanor counts of sexual battery by fraudulent representation. Sentencing is set for Dec. 5, 2013 in Los Angeles County Superior Court in Pasadena, Department O. The defendant’s conviction requires a lifetime registration as a sex offender.
“We are grateful that the jury has sent a strong message that sex crimes will not be tolerated,” Pasadena City Attorney/City Prosecutor Michele Beal Bagneris said. If other victims step forward, our office will pursue these matters and seek justice for the victims.”
Mr. Shagagi was convicted of committing the sexual crimes at his Lake Avenue yoga studio. He was convicted under California Penal Code section 243.4(c). The jury could not reach a unanimous verdict on two other sexual battery charges.
The case was based on complaints from three young female yoga students who were assaulted by Shagagi during so-called private “healing” sessions. Evidence provided by Deputy City Prosecutor Joon Kim showed the victims were told that his intimate touching would help “heal” the victims.
Other fraudulent representations that the defendant made to the victims included that he was a “healer” who had cured others of breast cancer and that he was a “messenger of gods” who could communicate with gods.
One of Yoga Kingdom Sanctuary’s brochures advertised “Curative Yoga” that could cure “any ailments.” The victims were convinced to participate in multiple private “healing” sessions with Shagagi during which he repeatedly groped and touched them.
Bagneris said victims of sex crimes need to know “they are not alone and that the police and prosecutors are here to help them.” Bagneris said sex predators often groom their victims, developing a relationship of trust and confidence, and then breach that trust to satisfy their unlawful sexual behaviors.
Bagneris encourages any sexual assault victim to contact the Pasadena Police Department at (626) 744-4241.
For more information about the City of Pasadena visit www.cityofpasadena.net or follow us on Twitter @PasadenaGov.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 14, 2013 #097-13
NEWS MEDIA CONTACT: William H. Boyer, Pasadena Public Information Officer, City Manager’s Office, (626) 744-4755, firstname.lastname@example.org