International Cult Awareness Month: Carol Merchasin

Special Guest: Carol Merchasin

Carol heads up McAllister Olivarius' practice covering sexual misconduct in religious, faith-based and spiritual communities. As an investigator, she has worked to uncover sexual misconduct within the Shambhala International lineage of Buddhism, the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centers, and is currently assisting other spiritual communities in bringing allegations of sexual misconduct to light. She has worked with survivors of abuse and misconduct across a number of global spiritual and religious movements and has extensive experience as both a litigator and an investigator.


August 9th, 2023

53 mins 12 secs



Carol Merchasin spent many years as an employment lawyer. She has also been a partner in the Philadelphia office of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius and director of Morgan Lewis Resources. She has conducted dozens of workplace investigations and taught investigative techniques to human resource professionals at many Fortune 50 companies. She has since joined McAllister Olivarius, where she heads up a practice covering sexual misconduct in religious, faith-based and spiritual communities.

Later in her career, Carol Merchasin was asked to take her investigative background and use it to investigate sexual abuse within various Buddhist and yoga communities. The response she received was one of open hostility – certain religious leaders were not interested in investigating or ensuring their members were safe. This led Carol to the realisation that corporate America, a segment of society not necessarily known for its high moral and ethical standards, was doing far better than religious America when it came to stamping out abuse.

If you have been personally affected by involvement in a cult, or would like to support those who have been, you can find support with or donate to Cult Information and Family Support if you’re in Australia (via, and you can find resources outside of Australia with the International Cultic Studies Association (via

If you or someone you know is in crisis or needs support right now, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14 in Australia, or find your local crisis centre via the International Association for Suicide Prevention website at