An ‘orgasmic meditation’ sex guru accused of holding women in residential homes and coercing them into sexual acts has surrendered to police.
Nicole Daedone, former CEO of “sexual wellness” company OneTaste, reported to Brooklyn Federal Court Tuesday morning. The 56-year-old will be arraigned this afternoon, according to the US public prosecutor’s office.
Daedone founded the San Francisco-based company in 2004, and it quickly became known for its orgasmic meditation (OM) that promised to help clients “reclaim their sexuality.”
But last week, Daedone and her top lieutenant Rachel Cherwitz, 43, were hit with a federal indictment accusing them of coercing volunteers, contractors and employees into sexual acts using cult-like tactics.
The pair are charged with conspiracy to violate federal laws prohibiting the use of forced labor. Prosecutors say the alleged victims were kept under surveillance and made dependent on Daedone and Cherwitz for shelter and basic necessities.
Nicole Daedone, 56, founder and former CEO of OneTaste, surrendered Tuesday morning at the Brooklyn federal courthouse and is expected to face charges this afternoon
OneTaste founder Nicole Daedone, 56, (left) and her top lieutenant Rachel Cherwitz, 43, (right) were charged in a federal indictment accusing them of taking forced labor
Pictured above is an OM class in which a woman, naked from the waist down, has her clitoris methodically “caressed” by a man for exactly 15 minutes
If convicted, they each face up to 20 years in prison.
Cherwitz, who was head of sales for OneTaste, was arrested in California on June 6, while Daedone remained at large and believed to have been abroad before turning herself in.
In a statement to DailyMail.com last week, OneTaste’s current CEO, Anjuli Ayer, called the allegations “baseless” and the result of a “misogynistic, media-driven campaign to promote a women’s empowerment project and the women who have devoted their lives to breaking it down. .’
OM exploded in popularity after a 2009 New York Times profile of OneTaste, and at one point the company was reportedly raking in $12 million a year from enthusiastic customers.
But in 2018, the FBI launched an investigation when ex-clients came forward saying they were in debt after paying for expensive classes, and former employees said they were told to engage in sexual relations with potential clients to close the sale .
Now, prosecutors say, between 2004 and 2018, Daedone and Cherwitz employed a series of abusive and manipulative tactics to obtain the labor and services of a group of OneTaste members, including volunteers, contractors and employees.
The indictment alleges that the duo used tactics to make the OneTaste members dependent on the group for their shelter and basic needs, and to limit the members’ independence and control.
Members of the Public Prosecution Service were reportedly held in ‘residential warehouses’ where they were forced to perform sexual acts.
OM is about a woman, naked from the waist down, who spends exactly 15 minutes ‘caressing’ her clitoris by a man, either her own partner or another paying customer.
Prosecutors say the alleged victims were subject to “constant surveillance” and isolated from friends and family.
“While employing such tactics, Daedone and Cherwitz demanded absolute commitment to the CEO, including by glorifying Daedone’s teachings and ideology,” the Justice Department said in a statement.
It is alleged that Daedone was a “messianic” figure at the center of the conspiracy.
Daedone has previously denied running a sex cult, telling the Mail on Sunday last year: ‘I want to continue the work to get OM out into the world’
In December, Daedone illustrated the intimate hands-on techniques of her partner Cherwitz, who lay naked on a raised table in front of an audience of 200
The company used to have several buildings in San Francisco, including a café, event space, and community housing, known as “OM Houses,” where between 30 and 40 employees lived together. In the photo one of the buildings that were once used as dormitories of OneTaste
“As part of this ideology, Daedone and Cherwitz instructed OneTaste members to perform sexual acts — including those that the members found uncomfortable or repulsive — as a requirement to supposedly gain freedom and enlightenment and demonstrate their commitment to OneTaste and Daedone the statement said. added.
Prosecutors say they demanded forced labor from group members who were subjected to “economic, sexual, emotional and psychological abuse, surveillance, indoctrination and harassment.”
OneTaste and current CEO Ayer are not being charged with wrongdoing, with Ayer telling DailyMail.com: “We have been cooperating with the Eastern District of New York during the investigation.
“We are appalled by this longstanding, misogynistic, media-driven campaign to tear down a women’s empowerment project and the women who have dedicated their lives to it,” she said.
“OneTaste is a women-led organization dedicated to wellness, healing, inclusion and personal growth, and has always focused on women’s empowerment,” the statement said.
Prosecutors say that when members could no longer afford OneTaste classes, they were pressured to go into debt, and Daedone and Cherwitz sometimes even helped them open new credit cards.
At one point, OneTaste operated centers in cities such as New York, San Francisco, Denver, Las Vegas, Boulder, Los Angeles, Austin, and London.
In New York City, OneTaste rented residences and hosted events in several locations, including in Brooklyn and the Harlem, Hell’s Kitchen, Soho, and West Village neighborhoods of Manhattan.
“Under the guise of empowerment and welfare, the defendants allegedly sought complete control over their employees’ lives, including by putting them into debt and ordering them to perform sexual acts, while also withholding wages,” said Breon. Peace, United States Attorney. for the Eastern District of New York.
“This prosecution should serve as a reminder to both employer and employee that regardless of the marketing mantra, this behavior is never acceptable,” Peace added.
Daedon has previously denied running a sex cult, telling the Mail on Sunday last year: ‘I want to continue the work to get OM out into the world. It’s such a powerful practice and we have a world that is so starved of anything that will bring fundamental connection.”
After the disturbing allegations that surfaced in a 2018 Bloomberg report, Daedone has kept a largely low profile and OneTaste has virtually disappeared from public view.