Excerpt from FREEDOM Magazine, Volume 24, Issue 1, October 1991.
FREEDOM Magazine is published by the Church of Scientology
6331 Hollywood Blvd., Suite 1200
Los Angeles, CA 90028-6329 #
The Criminal Clique
of criminality and perversions
rock anti-religious hate group.
series of shocking revelations of criminality and bizarre misconduct
shattered the sanctimonious facade of the anti-religious hate group,
Awareness Network, known as CAN.
The latest disclosure is thatRichard Ross a "deprogrammer"
investigation in Washington State for unlawful imprisonment pleaded
in 1975 to charges of stealing $100,000 in diamonds and jewelry from a
Phoenix, Arizona, department store.
The criminal Ross has been singled out for effusive praise
Kisser, executive director of CAN.
"His name is among the half-dozen best deprogrammers in
Kisser said, while denyingcharges from national religious leaders that
group is little more than a clearinghouse for kidnappers who look to
handsomely from breaking the religious beliefs of American citizens.
The revelation of Ross' criminal past placed him in the
ranks of others of
criminal or perverse distinction in the Cult Awareness Network, such as
* Ted Patrick, a three-time convicted felon and
who is up on new charges in Washington State for unlawful imprisonment;
* Michael Rokos, who resigned as president of CAN in
October 1990 after
his sordid criminal background was exposed. In late 1990, it had been
revealed that Rokos had accepted probation before judgment for
get an undercover policeman to perform a perverse homosexual act
bondage, humiliation and an unusual form of masochism;
* Deprogrammer Cliff Daniels, recently featured in CAN's
known to be a violent deprogrammer, who was arraigned on kidnapping
in Missisippi on May 9;
* Psychiatrist Louis Jolyon West, a hate-filled enemy of
who has promoted stereotypes and misinformation about African
Native Americans, and other racial and ethnic groups. West, a long-time
experimenter with mind control drugs, is best known for having killed a
elephant with an overdose of LSD;
* Psychologist Margaret Singer, whose "thought reform"
theories, used by
CAN deprogrammers to justify their kidnappings, have been thrown out of
three times in a row by judges. The judges found that her theories had
significant backing in the scientific community, upsetting her highly
profitable "hired gun" business of testifying against religions;
* Deprogrammer Steve Hassan, CAN's current apologist for
discredited theories, who once kept a victim tied up for three days
tried unsuccessfully to force the victim to renounce his religious
Another victim of Hassan's was locked in a room for three days under
not allowed to use the restroom alone, and a third victim was gagged
dragged from her hotel room;
* Priscilla Coates, head of the Los Angeles CAN chapter,
who on a radio
show in July admitted to having had a person held at her house against
will to be deprogrammed. On the same show, she blurted out that all CAN
members were actually deprogrammers; and:
* Mary Weeks, Advisory Board member to CAN's Northwest
pleaded guilty in 1986 to criminal charges stemming from a kidnapping
unsuccessful deprogramming attempt.
* Recent Additions to the
CAN Rogues' Gallery
Drawn by the smell of money from deprogrammings, new adherents have
attracted to CAN who fit in well with its godless mix of fringe
and kidnappers for profit.
One of these, Hana Whitfield, left South Africa and,
according to a
relative, changed her name after her brother stabbed and battered their
to death. Hana herself had earlier arranged to be in a hotel room alone
her father and went so far as to raise a gun behind him to kill him,
not go through with the murder, her ex husband said. Her brother later
Whitfield admits to taking the deadly psychiatric drug
Prozac, known to make
people more violent and suicidal. She charges $1,500 a day for
Her husband, Jerry Whitfield, who failed in an attempt to
take over and
seize the assets of a drug rehabilitation group that had gotten him off
works with Hana.
Jerry Whitfield, an alleged former drug dealer, is
reported by relatives to
be a wife and child beater. He and his wife are the subject of a
complaint which is under investigation by the state of California for
counseling without a license.
Sharp disputes over territory have broken out in the
between the Whitfields, Steve Hassan, and Dennis Erlich, another
CAN's ranks, who brings with him a history of petty thefts and family
CAN members have shown that they will kidnap and attempt
to destroy the
faith of anyone as long as the price is right. The long list of
targeted by CAN deprogrammers includes the catholic Church, the
Church, the Church of Scientology, the Church of Jesus Christ of
Saints (Mormons), the Greek Orthodox Church, Seventh-day Adventists,
and many independent Christian denominations.
Deprogramming is a form of brainwashing which uses kidnapping, forcible
restraint, assault, battery and even rape in an effort to get an
recant his or her chosen beliefs.
Ross, who has carried out violent assaults, majorly
denominations, is known to charge up to $20,000 for a single kidnapping
His victims have routinely been held hostage against their
brutally intimidated in attempts to force them to recant their chosen
Following his 1975 arrest, Ross admitted that he and his accomplice,
worked at the store, had planned the heist for three weeks.
At the time he was taken into custody, Ross was already on
following two prior arrests, one for conspiracy to commit burglary in
1975 and one for attempted robbery in December 1974.
Prior to being sentenced, Ross was given a psychiatric
noted, "The most significant aspect of Rick's past history is that he
opportunist. When he gets caught doing something that he should not do
something that is a little shady, his characteristic response is, 'It's
disgusting the way they make such a big deal about things.'"
The examining doctor noted that Ross' psychological
problems were serious
enough to have led him to make a "quite serious suicide attempt."
A letter to the judge from Ross' attorney acknowledged
Ross' "record of
anti-social, criminal conduct," but asked that the sentencing take into
consideration his "clear background of serious psychological and
Despite the seriousness of the crime, the Phoenix robbery
proved to be far
from the end of Ross' criminal activities. The man described as "an
opportunist" found another outlet for deprogrammmg .
Ross has been accused of kid- napping a young Seattle man,
Jason Scott, who
was held hostage during a violent "deprogramming" by Ross and several
associates in March 1990.
Scott told authorities that after he had been abducted, he
was held in
handcuffs with his mouth taped shut.
Later, he was kept handcuffed to a bed and held against his will for
During that time, four men, including Ross, continuously harassed and
Scott, denigrating his religious beliefs for 10 to 14 hours a day.
Scott eventually escaped his captors and reported
the assault to the
authorities. Seattle police found barred windows, handcuffs and varions
restraints at the condominium where Ross had carried out the attempted
Praised by Hate Group
Despite Ross' past and present criminal activities, members of the Cult
Awareness Network continue to praise him.
"Rick has cooperated extensively with the national office
organization," said Reg Alev, a director of one of CAN's affiliates.
recommend him highly."
The head of CAN's Los Angeles atfiliate lauded him. "Rick
has helped me
with all kinds of questions, situations and problems," she said.
Ross, who has boasted of having participated in more than
assaults, is not the first CAN member to have been convicted on
In October 1990, then CAN president Michael Rokos resigned
amid a storm of publicity that exposed his previously hidden criminal
Rokos had served on CAN's national board ol directors for four years
been an active member of the Baltimore CAN affiliate before being
national president in October 1989.
Rokos stepped down following news reports describing his
1982 arrest by an
undercover Maryland State Police vice squad officer.
The press accounts revealed that in July 1982, Rokos had
induce the undercover policeman to perform a perverse homosexual favor.
When caught, Rokos resisted arrest by attempting to forcibly expel the
arresting officer from his vehicle.
CAN's first and premier deprogrammer is Ted Patrick, the notorious
of deprogramming," who was also instrumental in founding the
In his 1976 book, Let Our Children Go, Patrick described
his brand of
violent assault and faith breaking: "[D]eprogramming is the term, and
be said to involve kidnapping at the very least, quite often assault
battery and almost invariably conspiracy to commit a crime, and illegal
In June 1974, Patrick was sentenced to a year in jail for
imprisonment (suspended on parole). A year later, he spent 60 days in
the same charge. From 1976 onward, he was further convicted or charged
kidnapping, conspiracy, abduction and sexual battery. Patrick was later
trom entering Canada after an attempted deprogramming assault on a
nun. Patrick has continued to be an honored guest at CAN conventions.
Cynthia Kisser, executive director of CAN since June 1987, has been
long-time advocate of forcible restraint and assault conducted under
Despite a glowing description of Kisser' s background in
the CAN newsletter
announcing her appointment, it was recently revealed that in 1975,
reportedly worked as a topless dancer at the Blue Note Lounge in
Arizona. She was fired after allegedly harassing the customers. Denied
previous vocation, she overnight became an expert on religion so she
her harassive techniques to use on parishioners.
Further data on her lack of qualifications came out under
in a court case, when Kisser revealed that her actual studies of
would qualify her as an expert consisted of a three-hour course at
Kisser has few qualms about her open support of
In 1978, she deprogrammed her own sister, then went on to conduct other
In a July 25, 1988, letter, Kisser noted that at one time
board had formed an "ethics committee" for deprogrammers. The
however, was later disbanded "because of potential liability problems
could arise for CAN" on advice of CAN's lawyer.
Those liabilities presumably stem from the fact that
Kisser and other
CAN members have continued to support deprogrammers like Richard
Attempts to hide connections to criminal activities did
not keep CAN and
Cynthia Kisser from being named as defendants in a $72 million suit
an illegal videotaping of a woman being harassed and abused concerning
CAN is Hiding
Under a Tax-Exempt Cloak
Kisser and other CAN members profess no faith of their own they simply
object to other people freely practicing their own beliefs. Their
are repudiated psychiatrists and psychologists whose hatred for any
religion is undisguised.
Kisser has been a vocal mouthpiece for Eli Lilly, manufacturer of the
controversial and destructive psychiatric drug Prozac.
CAN President Pat Ryan, who has engendered sympathy from
the death of her
father, former Congressman Leo Ryan, is a lobbyist for the National
Association of Private Psychiatric Hospitals. Her profession is
deprogrammers have been reported to work hand in glove with
commit and drug victims who prove recalcitrant in giving up their
According to one report, Rick Ross, during a recent
deprogramming in Yuma,
Arizona, boasted that he and others were working to get the ability to
electric shock therapy in order to handle "resistive cases." Shock
a controversial and destructive psychiatric depersonalizing technique
almost exclusively at private psychiatric hospitals. It is noteworthy
use of electric shock for the purposes Rick Ross and his CAN supporters
propose, is exactly that used by Russian psychiatric hospitals in
cure "resistive cases" of non-communists.
CAN's flagrant abuses have brought mounting questions
regarding how such a
group, whose members want only violate constitutional rights, can enjoy
tax-exempt status. Indeed, CAN won its tax-exempt status at the high
violent deprogrammings done in its name, cloaking its activities under
mantle of "education."
The IRS initially rejected CAN's tax-exempt status as its
data was not sufficiently balanced.
Yet, a short time later, while CAN's deprogramming members were in and
the headlines for arrests on kidnapping and assault and battery
IRS gave this hate group status as a tax-exempt organization.
CAN's involvement with violent and illegal deprogrammings
unabated into the present.
Working for the IRS
Its ravored status can be traced to its willingness to target and
to destroy groups the IRS is targcting. Cynthia Kisser boasted on radio
the IRS has come to her for information on religions that the IRS was
While the full extent ot CAN's stool pigeon status for the
IRS is not known,
documentation exists of at least one IRS request for information to
help it in
its attacks on targeted religions.
These abuses have moved several members of Congress to
write to the IRS,
questioning why CAN is allowed to enjoy tax-tree dollars to operate as
clearinghouse for deprogramming.
In one recent letter, a congressman specifically asked the
IRS to respond
to the charges that CAN "is in violation of its tax-exempt status
is still practicing deprogramming activities against other religious
organizations" and "the IRS has condoned this activity through . . .
refusal to deny them tax exemption, though it is clearly improper."
CAN's tactics are reminiscent ot those of the Nazis during
World War II.
Its leaders justify their atrocities and violations of the Constitution
the same type of propaganda employed by the Nazis.
So why would the IRS give tax exemption to a hate group
that is so
obviously violating the First Amendment to the Constitution? Is this an
indication that Adolf Hitler and his Holocaust hit men would have
exemption were they around today? IRS officials have no excuse unless
didn't know. Well, they do now and just as the Holocaust collaborators
tried to escape responsibility at Nuremberg were hung, so should the
held accountahle. It is time the IRS stopped playing God. Many before,
more intelligent than the current batch of IRS religion haters, have
and the result has always been the same.
The IRS should learn from the past and cease being the self-appointed
of religion which our forefathers recognized as government tyranny.
CAN Faith-breaking Decried
CAN has attempted to establish itself as a clearinghouse for other
and organizations involved in deprogramming. Tantamount to making
little more than a school for international terrorism, CAN has
"joint education programs" for anti-religion groups in Spain, Germany,
Members of the group have been actively involved in numerous
attempts outside the United States.
Deprogrammers in Europe, such as Martin Faiers, have run
opposition; Faiers was sent to jail in Switzerland after a violent
CAN's deceptive, illegal prac- tices, hate crimes and rabid anti-
campaigns have been decried by religious leaders across the country.
"Forcible deprogramming is the most serious stain on
facing this country in the latter half of the 20th century," said the
Dean M. Kelley, counselor on religious liberty for the National Council
Dr. Leo Champion, pasitor of the Missionary Baptist Church
has described CAN's activities as "illegal and immoral. It's that out
enforcement agencies put a stop to this."
One of the most outspoken critics of CAN has been Dr.
executive vice-president of Friends of Freedom, an organization formed
after clergy of various denominations began expressing a growing
CAN's activities, especially the group's increasing number of assaults
Describing Richard Ross as CAN's "number one
deprogrammer," Robertson added
that Ross "is one of three major deprogrammers in the country who
in attacking members of Christian faiths. That is despicable. No one
right to try to forcefully deprogram anyone from his or her chosen
Noting that Ross is facing possible charges in connection
with the Seattle
abduction of Jason Scott, Robertson said, "We are going to see him put
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