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Sect head arrested in Rome for sexual abuse and extortion

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Sect head arrested in Rome for sexual abuse and extortion

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The head of a new-age sect in Italy, said to have at least a thousand followers, has been arrested on suspicion of sexually abusing young girls and their mothers.

52-year-old Danilo Speranza is the founder of the “Maya” sect – he is also accused of extortion.

Speranza created Maya in the 1980’s, aiming to help beat drug addiction with new age philosophies and yoga.

It is based in a nondescript building in the San Lorenzo neighbourhood of Rome.

Reports in the Italian media say the investigation began more than a year ago, when a group of the alleged victims complained to the authorities.