THE chilling reality of the lives of people "manipulated" into joining a "cult for beautiful people" has been laid bare in a new documentary as disciples claim they were raped by a "monster" guru.
What started at a group of 15 people quickly spiralled to more than 150 as its leader Jaime Gomez offered followers spiritual healing in a healthy lifestyle away from sex and drugs.
But former members of the cult – known as the Buddhafield – have made disturbing claims about the ongoings of the group – with some alleging they were molested by Gomez, who has been likened to "Hitler".
The gruesome claims have been shared in a new documentary, Holy Hell, in which filmmaker Will Allen recounts his experiences of the cult.
He claims he and others spent years being sexually abused – something which Gomez denies.
He told Vulture: "I was around him for so long. I knew him better than most people, I saw more, I filmed more, and he also had an abusive sexual relationship with me that he called a consensual relationship.
"Those were all secrets and lies that he was very, very protective about."
In a separate interview with CNN, he added: "I didn't register it as abuse. I just thought, 'It's my problem. Why am I not surrendered?
“I just didn't ever know what was happening to me. And then I had to love him like he was my guru. I had to honor and respect him as my guru, and that's when I started hating him. I was PTSD without even knowing it."
Radhia Gleis was another of Gomez's alleged victims, having spent 25 years in the Buddhafield before breaking free.
Now 67, she joined in the 1980s in a bid to get away from Catholicism – with all members living in a shared house in West Hollywood.
Radhia, however, described the early days as "utopia" – before things took a turn.
She told the Daily Star: "Everybody was gorgeous and they called us the cult of the beautiful people.
“Gomez was just a lovely guy – smart, funny, good looking and charismatic. I loved him.
“Here was this contemporary guy who was gay. I fled Catholicism and wasn’t interested in old traditions, I wanted something deep and intimate and he filled all of those things."
But, she says, as more and more disciples joined, Gomez changed and turned into a "monster".
'CREATED A MONSTER'
"The likes of Hitler and Mussolini could never do what they did without the followers," Radhia, who has penned a book called The Followers: Holy Hell and the Disciples of Narcissistic Leaders on her time in the cult, added.
“It is the followers that build and feed the narcissist.
“I had to analyze how we created a monster.”
As the group grew, so did Gomez's paranoia, Radhia says, and his spiritual teachings started to come from him instead of God.
He then moved the group to Austin, Texas – where Radhia claims the cult became a living nightmare as she became desperate to leave.
She told the Star: “In Texas everything became secretive. We were taught to lie and I wasn’t getting what I was originally getting.
“I wanted to leave in 1995 but I stayed until 2006. That’s how conflicted I was.
"These was my family and my best friends. My parents were dead, my brother had disowned me, there was nobody on the outside who understood my clandestine life.
“You create a bond that makes it extremely painful to think that you would not be with them anymore. You have shared intimate secrets with each other – very convenient for a narcissistic sociopath who we pay and hand over our psyche to every week.
“He knew all our fears, the skeletons in our closet, our deep dark things. He controlled us.”
Radhia claims if people tried to leave, he would "demonize" them and turn people against them, meaning they would "lose everything".
Eventually, in 2006, Radhia broke free from the cult as more and more accusations against Gomez surfaced.
Now 80, he has moved the last of his loyal disciples to Hawaii and firmly denies allegations made in the Holy Hell documentary.
Gomez, previously known as Michel, said: "It is heartbreaking to see how history has been rewritten. Holy Hell is not a documentary, rather, it is a work of fiction designed to create drama, fear and persecution; that is what sells.
"I am saddened by this attempt to obscure the message of universal love and spiritual awakening. It is devastating to see these friends, who were once so filled with love for the world, become so angry.
"I wish them only the best, and hold each one close to my heart. If any of my actions were a catalyst for their disharmony, I am truly sorry. May all beings find peace, Michel."
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