Former employees and students have come forward alleging a pattern of sexual misconduct and abuse by prominent astrologer Tom Lescher known as Kaypacha.
By BE SCOFIELD / Bio
August 13th, 2020
When Hayley’s friend invited her to be the chef for an astrology retreat with Kaypacha she jumped at the opportunity. She had been watching his videos online for years and had become an avid fan of his work. In exchange for cooking at the Colorado-based event, Hayley would get free entry, see several close friends, and do what she loved best. It seemed like the stars were aligned.
By the time of the retreat in 2015, Kaypacha was already a celebrity in the field of astrology. People travel from around the world to attend his workshops and to see him speak at festivals. His online astrology global community is hugely popular with over 1,000 members paying $20 a month. Kaypacha’s former assistant Zoe Mercury told me they couldn’t even walk the streets in Berlin because they’d get flooded with attention.
One evening while on the retreat, Hayley felt a strange energetic pull to visit Kaypacha’s room. “We’ll nerd out on astrology,” she figured, trying to make sense of the unexplainable magnetic draw. To her surprise when Kaypacha opened the door he said “Haley, I was calling you.”
Hayley sat down on the bed thinking that perhaps they’d analyze her chart. “Pretty instantly he started kissing me,” she said. She was 24 and knew that Kaypacha was 58 and in a committed marriage with three kids. “What is happening?” Haley thought. Everything happened very quickly. “Within minutes, seconds maybe,” she said.
The next thing Hayley knew her pants had come off and Kaypacha sexually penetrated her without consent. “And he literally, as he was kind of laying on top of me, loving on my body, after two minutes in, he literally just like a snake slid up my body and penetrated me.” Forty-five seconds later Kaypacha came inside of her she said.
Hayley was shocked. “He penetrated me without asking, and I was, ‘Whoa,’ so taken back…I was pissed and shocked. There was no consent whatsoever. There was absolutely no asking. There wasn’t even any insinuating.”
“This is our little secret,” Kaypacha told her right after. “Don’t tell anybody, this is just between me and you.”
She confronted Kaypacha the next morning after the incident. “You didn’t ask permission,” she told him. “There was no consent. And so therefore you’re not listening to the goddess.” She said he essentially dismissed her saying something like “Well, thanks for the information.” She said he wasn’t interested. “There was no depth to his listen.”
Kaypacha did not respond to request for comment but he has published several statements and videos denying the allegations against him. He has acknowledged having sex with Haley and other students but says “every encounter was consensual.”
“He’s using his power for evil to seduce young female students,” Hayley stated in an Instagram video. For years he was mistreating women in many forms she said. “From the very loaded word of rape to ill speech and withholding money from female teachers.” She then went on to describe her own experience of the incident.
Hayley is one of several women and former staffers who took to social media in June and July to post their stories of Kaypacha’s abuse. For years they tried to hold him accountable with “love and care” behind the scenes. When their efforts proved unsuccessful they decided to speak out publicly. Most of his team quit or were pushed out for confronting him.
After the allegations surfaced several astrologers reposted them to support the victims and warn others.
“With last weeks Eclipse, #MeToo finally came to the astrology community,” wrote astrologer Anne Ortelee in a July Facebook post. In response to the allegations against Kaypacha, she created an online town hall about ethics in astrology with Margaret Gray and Laura Nalbandian. Over one-hundred astrologers participated. Among the proposals was to create a governing body to oversee abuse complaints.
Former Kaypacha student Lauren Moore posted a Facebook video where she says he groped her one evening while hugging after a workshop class in Asheville. “He pulled me in for a hug and squeezed my butt,” she told me during an interview. “That was when my mental tether to my body kind of snapped.” She was 27 at the time. A staff member of seven years told me he witnessed the incident.
Later that day Kaypcha followed Moore to a field where she was smoking. She shared with him that she had been sexually abused by a Shaman. “I told him I had been practicing intentional celibacy to detox cycles of patterns & abuse because I don’t know how else for my inner Lilith to step into empowerment in a body that has felt so much powerlessness.” She says Kaypacha responded by suggesting celibacy wasn’t the solution. “Celibacy? That’s not how Lilith finds power. I know exactly how to help you with that.”
Confused by Kaypacha’s statement, Moore reached out to a leader in the astrology community. “I tried to tell him that Kaypacha was propositioning me to have sex with him and that I didn’t know what to do,” she said. “I didn’t know how to communicate how triggering this was for me.”
The next evening after the last workshop Moore was standing outside when Kaypacha signaled her to come to his room. “He gave two head jerks back to the yoga studio, where he was staying in a loft & I just obeyed.” She followed him back where he proceeded to get on top of her and they had sex. “When he was done, he went to his tiny bathroom & gasped that the window was open,” she told me. “He cried, ‘My reputation!’ & flung the door open & came back in sighing, ‘phew! No one was there.’”
Moore says she “checked out for the last day of the retreat” as her “whole soul felt nauseous.”
In response to Kaypacha’s treatment of women, Moore said she wants to see “affirmative action taken.” She and others have told me they’re aware of other instances of sexual misconduct on Kaypacha’s part from women who don’t feel comfortable speaking out yet.
Georgia Takacs spent 18 months working for Kaypacha as an assistant to him and New Paradigm Astrology. She also experienced an instance of sexual harassment. “During downtime at a workshop in Italy, I was running towards some friends in the pool in a bikini and he slapped me on the ass,” she told me. Takacs was shocked but was confused as to how to address it as it created an awkward and tense work environment for the 25-year-old aspiring astrologer, even more so after finding out certain incidents that were happening with other women. “As his assistant, I was in contact with his daughters and his wife, arranging travel plans for them at the time,” she said.
Former student Tia Quin posted a lengthy blog post and later two videos about her experience with Kaypacha. She was an eager 27-year-old astrology student who eventually became his apprentice.
Early on Kaypacha took Quin out to dinner, and “started getting flirtatious” with her she said. In a sound journey class, he told her “you can share my yoga mat with me.” Kaypacha grabbed her hand as they laid next to each other and said “Don’t the flowers smell amazing?” When he dropped her off he gave her a “long kiss” and told her how “cool” she was. She said he also told her, “I love you.”
Quin says she was somewhat starstruck. Her most “idolized astrologer” was making out with her, telling her he loved things about her and telling her “how groovy” she was. “I was so shocked,” she said.
She assumed Kaypacha had an open relationship with his wife at the time. Quin figured he wouldn’t be initiating such behavior otherwise.
At a later workshop, this time in Mexico, and he continued pursuing her. “The moment I got there he was grabbing my ass when I walked in front of him.” When they went out exploring he told her “Boy I’d like to fuck you right there on that pyramid.”
Quin described a time when they were being sexual together and said he did something without asking. “He suddenly flipped me over and started fucking me in the ass without warning. I had never done that before and was quite surprised. I did say something like ‘Woah, why didn’t you ask about that, I’ve never had anal sex before!’” She was surprised as that was “something that gets talked about with the person you are entering.”
Kaypacha then dropped a “super bomb” on Quin. He told her that his wife Laura had no idea about them and that they were not in an open relationship. He said he was cheating on her and lying to her about it. Tia said she was “pretty surprised to say the least.” Kaypacha would openly hold her hand at workshops and talked of her “fondly.” He even had her go shopping for his wife and daughter to help pick out dresses and cute sandals. She never imagined he was hiding their relationship.
Quin didn’t know it at the time but Kaypacha had recently had sex with student Lauren Moore. He never revealed this to Quin.
Quin’s jaw dropped at what Kaypacha told her next. “I was very careful what I said in my vows,” he said. Shocked, she told him that he needed to “go handle his shit” and to talk with his wife immediately. “Maybe next time I see you I will be single,” he said when they were leaving. “I shook my head and told him I was his apprentice, not some second choice mistress, and walked away with tears in my eyes.”
In one of his statements, Kaypacha said the women’s allegations against him “contain kernels of truth,” but that they are “distorted, contradictory, and even at times, incoherent versions of what actually occurred, making them false narratives.” He did admit to having sex with the women and in a video to finding out that Hayley felt he penetrated her without consent. He also dismissed the allegations as “seductive women using their sexuality to lure, use, gain from, manipulate, and then abuse men.”
“I left because Kaypacha’s behavior was intolerable in many ways,” wrote Zoe Mercury in a July 4th Facebook post. She worked for him as his personal assistant from 2018–2019.
“He has extreme narcissistic and abusive tendencies towards people close to him. Patriarchal, condescending behaviours, verbal abuse and violation of personal boundaries have been a regular experience while working for him. When confronted he would always resort to a perfected emotional manipulation, victimizing himself and glossing over the real issue at hand. Just like he is doing it now.”
Mercury and another former staff member told me Kaypacha would accuse his employees of trying to take over the business and of stealing or deleting emails. Her final straw was when he refused to pay her for work she had completed. “I was working with a shaman to shield his attacks because they were so violent on a spiritual level,” Mercury told me.
I spoke with a former staff member of seven years who also quit and posted publicly about it. He cited Kaypacha’s hostility and his inability to hear critical feedback as his reasons for leaving. “Fame and wealth made his personality change,” he told me.
Another long term staff member who left also posted publicly saying that working with Kaypacha was “extremely challenging and toxic.”
When colleagues and associates tried to hold Kaypacha accountable former assistant Georgia Takacs had really hoped that change was possible. “I believed in the evolutionary journey of the soul,” she said. Their compassionate efforts were met with hostility, however. “There was indirect name-calling, there was victim-blaming,” in emails to friends and colleagues of hers she told me. “It seemed he felt it was just some kind of dark energy and that he felt victimized by these attempts at accountability.”
Former staffers said that central to Kaypacha’s teaching was discussing the rise of the Goddess and the dismantling of the patriarchy. It made his actions and refusal to engage in a thoughtful process about them all the more frustrating they said.
On one occasion Kaypacha accidentally forwarded Takacs emails in which he was trash-talking her to others. “He was talking about me in a really disrespectful, rude manner to colleagues,” she said. He had never raised any issues with her in person.
Lauren Moore told me that after being groped and mistreated by Kaypacha she stopped practicing astrology. The whole experience “built so much anxiety and shame,” she said. “I have not practiced since.” For those who are continuing, she feels strongly that they should become trained in ethics and become trauma-informed. “I do not see communal evolution taking place without recognition & accountability for the guru/idol worship dynamics.”
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