Zhen Li, this is why you should read the whole thread and all the associated articles before weighing in if at all possible. That's what I've done, and suggest others do. I know you're well-meaning from interacting with you on other threads, but I must inform you that your comments reveal just how little you know of this situation.
Michael Roach somehow went from being a well-meaning, dedicated student of the abbot of Sera Mey monastery in India --- learning to translate Tibetan and even getting a somewhat honorary Geshe degree --- to a self-styled guru who indoctrinated others who simply sought the Dharma, or what they thought was Dharma. He added in Western yoga and Hinduistic elements, making his own brand and touting it as authentic Dharma. Once the folks at Sera Mey and HH Dalai Lama caught wind of him living in a sexual relationship while still wearing monk's robes (indicating he was celibate), he was banned from teaching in Dharamsala. Unfortunately, somehow the warning signs were concealed from or ignored by those who came to follow Roach, and there have been many consequences, one of which was the death of Ian Thorson.
Christie McNally may have indeed started out as a nice person, but it seems she got the brunt of Roach's focus in making this into a cult because at the time she was his lover. He poured much of his energy into propping her up as divine and infallible (though I'm sure subtly retaining a level of control through their relationship). He convinced her that she was a lama --- his lama, even --- and Vajrayogini in the flesh, not through authentic training and verifiable signs, but only based on his word and his tainted teachings. Things only got worse from there. Roach is said to have, in his own very bizzare literalist interpretation of some of the tantras, given his disciples McNally's vaginal fluids, telling them it was blessed nectar. Worse, he told his disciples to never question McNally, no matter how violent or crazy she seemed to become. Basically, it looks like he unhinged her and then let her run wild.
There are anecdotes about a Kali initiation led by McNally that are very dark and violent, complete with blood sacrifices, tons of weapons, and disciples being forced into confined spaces. For their sake, I hope that everyone who touched the dull medical instrument in giving their blood got tested afterwards... The first thing I thought of when reading that was that they could've been infected with any number of diseases that come from sharing blood or touching non-sterile instruments. Not to shame anyone suffering from illness, but who knows how many of those followers may have AIDS, etc., and passed it on to others during this ritual? Others reported being sexually groped during a supposed "Yamantaka initiation."
Roach and McNally split up, and McNally became exclusive with Thorson. Can't remember if there was any partner swapping before the split, but I seem to remember it being mentioned.
The incident with the knife occurred when McNally was supposedly in one of Roach's retreats and got a hold of a large knife since the samurai sword on hand was too unwieldy. McNally claimed she was fooling around and accidentally cut Thorson. The doctor who stitched him up said that there were 3 wounds, one of which was deep enough to have almost damaged Thorson's internal organs. Not sure how you can call that an accident, but due to the mentality being cultivated by Roach in his followers, the whole thing got swept under the rug --- Thorson got stitched up, and the medical practitioner never reported the incident to any authorities. When Roach finally heard about it thanks to McNally revealing that it had occurred in one of her "teachings," he started to backpedal and distance himself from McNally. Personally, I think he began to realize that even he couldn't control her anymore --- a scary prospect for someone who he'd touted as divine, a lama, and the retreat master within his own organization.
After that, there was a domino effect and certain people at Diamond Mountain took action against McNally. DM higher ups claim they asked McNally and Thorson to leave peaceably and gave them plenty of time, but I'm more inclined to believe McNally's version of events on this particular issue (distorted as they may be), rather than the clearly sterilized version presented by Roach and approved by the board members. Having heard from a lama who underwent an authentic 3 year retreat, it's obvious that retreatants are very susceptible to anyone disturbing their retreat and need to reintegrate slowly, otherwise lots of things can go wrong --- and this is for people who underwent retreat under ideal conditions with the guidance of authentic gurus. I can only imagine what shape McNally and Thorson were in, mentally and physically, when they were interrupted by DM officials from outside their retreat and were initially given a mere hour to leave the premises.
While cooler heads prevailed and they were given 5 days to vacate, it appears that with the initial shock the damage was already done. What did anyone honestly expect the response of those two to be? Where did they expect them to go, given such little time to reacclimate? They wanted nothing to do with DM after being betrayed, and supposedly faked receipts to show they'd left the area. Meanwhile, they hadn't really gone too far, just over onto goverment land nearby to continue their retreat. Apparently one or more in the DM ranks were sympathetic to the couple, and someone was bringing them provisions.
Amidst all of this, they supposedly became too weak from their "practice" to go down to where they'd stashed their water, and Thorson died of dehydration in the Arizona desert, with McNally languishing herself. Questions have been raised about whether she made a call for help before or after he'd expired. Christie was airlifted to get medical attention, and hasn't really been heard from since except for a supposed sighting in Kathmandu where she was denied a visit with Lama Zopa Rinpoche.
Now it's been over two years since the death of Thorson, and the rest of the participants who started off alongside McNally & Thorson came out of their "3 year retreat" in April.
With the blind leading the blind, it's no wonder that people started falling off the cliff. Here's hoping that more will realize their surroundings and back away from the precipice...
"The Sutras, Tantras, and Philosophical Scriptures are great in number. However life is short, and intelligence is limited, so it's hard to cover them completely. You may know a lot, but if you don't put it into practice, it's like dying of thirst on the shore of a great lake. Likewise, it happens that a common corpse is found in the bed of a great scholar." ~ Karma Chagme དྲིན་ཆེན་རྗེ་བཙུན་བླ་མ་རཱ་ག་ཨ་སྱ་མཁྱེན་ནོ།