More Allegations Against est Founder


The Chronicle Publishing Co./March 5, 1991

In the latest in a series of damaging allegations, the 31-year-old daughter of ESTfounder Werner Erhard has accused the pop psychology guru of molesting her and raping her sister.

Deborah Pimental, a Stanford University graduate who is married and living in Honolulu, told ''60 Minutes'' correspondent Ed Bradley that Erhard molested her when she was 16 years old.

In an interview broadcast Sunday, Pimental also said Erhard raped her sister 11 years ago while they were on a trip together, when the sister was in her early 20s.

''They had come back after dinner, and he had a very large suite, and they were reading a (pornographic) magazine together, and, you know, I'd rather not go specifically into, you know, the details,'' Pimental said. ''But he forcibly had sexual intercourse with her.''

Pimental said she and other family members later confronted Erhard with the rape allegation. ''He admitted there was sexual intercourse and that it was a nurturing experience,'' Pimental said. ''He said he did not rape her.''

''It was not a nurturing experience for her, and she's had to have a lot of therapy about it,'' said Pimental, one of four children from Erhard's first marriage.

Dawn Damas, the Erhard family governess, told Bradley that Erhard beat his son, St. John, for getting bad grades when he was 12 years old.

After slapping St. John and throwing him to the ground, Damas said, Erhard told him, ''If you ever get grades like this again, I'll break both of your legs with a baseball bat.''

St. John, now 23, did not speak on camera, but Bradley said he confirmed that the beating took place. Erhard, 57, did not reply to the allegations on camera and could not be reached for comment yesterday. He issued a statement to ''60 Minutes'' saying ''to respond to the accusations at this time would only further publicly exploit my family.''

The ''60 Minutes'' broadcast also repeats allegations first reported in The Chronicle last April by leading est staff members who accused Erhard of subjecting employees to death threats, physical beatings, emotional abuse and demanding that they obey him in a manner ''akin to God.''

Last month, Erhard announced that he was selling the assets of his company, San Francisco-based Werner Erhard and Associates, to a group of employees, who have renamed it Transnational Education Corp. and who are marketing a variation of the original est workshop as ''The Forum. ''

Ann Overton, spokeswoman for Transnational, said yesterday: ''I am sure you already know Werner is not a part of the new company, Transnational Education Corp.


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