in a "Cult" Deprogramming Case
Introduction and Opinion
|When a loved one joins a religious group
that is different from the family's, the family members may feel
concerned about their loved-one's welfare. In extreme cases, parents or
other family members may resort to drastic means to convince the person
that the new group is harmful psychologically and in error
theologically. For example, some families have even arranged to have
their loved one kidnapped, transported to an unfamiliar location, and
forced to listen to sermons, watch videotapes and undergo other
attempts at persuasion. This controversial technique is often called
Such a case occurred in 1991, when Laverne
Collins-Macchio began to consider moving from Boise Idaho to Livingston
Montana so that she could be closer to the headquarters of the Church
Universal and Triumphant, a new religious movement that combines
Christianity with "new age" and other beliefs. In order to persuade
Collins-Macchio that the Church Universal and Triumphant was harmful,
her mother, Laverne Coelho, hired a group of "cult deprogrammers."
Pretending to deliver a pizza, the deprogrammers kidnapped
Collins-Macchio and held her for one week as they preached, sang and
otherwise tried to demonstrate that her religious beliefs were in
error. At the end of the week Collins- Macchio remained unmoved, and
was released by her kidnappers.
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When she returned to her home,
Collins-Macchio contacted the police. Four of the people involved with
the deprogramming were charged with kidnapping. In explaining their
actions, the deprogrammers used a "necessity" defense. By this, the
deprogrammers' attorneys argued that the harm caused by kidnapping
Collins-Macchio was less severe than the harm she would have
experienced by joining the group. In other words, they claimed that it
was neccessary to kidnap her in order to avoid more severe harm. In the
first trial, the deprogrammers' use of the necessity defense was
successful. The case was appealed to the Idaho Supreme Court, which
ruled unanimously that the necessity defense was insufficient. The
court said that the deprogrammers were in error, and that there was no
evidence that Collins-Macchio faced impending harm from the Church
Universal and Triumphant. As a result of this judgment, the
deprogrammers were found guilty of felony kidnapping charges. Their
sentence included seven days in jail, the same length of time that
Collins-Macchio was held against her will, fines, and community service.
This is a fascinating case. Although some of
the court's ruling is legal jargon (and therefore difficult reading),
the background of the case is quite interesting and
clearly explains the facts as the court saw them. Here is the court's
ruling. (Note that the formatting of the text differs from the
original, but to the best of my knowledge this is an accurate
transcription of the text. Footnotes in the ruling are indicated by an
asterisk, and placed immediately following the relevant paragraph.)
You might also be interested in reading an account written by one of
the people who was involved in this case. Joe Szimhart, not named in
this court document, was acquitted in a separate trial. He offers an
interesting perspective on the matter. Read
Szimhart's story here. Note that my inclusion of his viewpoint
is not an endorsement of it or of the actions that he and others
undertook in this case. I simply believe that when studying an issue
such as this, it is very useful to learn from a variety of
Finally, I strongly urge you to read The
Society for the Scientific Study of Religion's resolution on new
Lowell D. Streiker, PhD.<O:P></O:P>
May 2002 <O:P></O:P>
permission of Dr. Streiker<O:P></O:P>
a regular basis, colorful stories appear in the media, setting forth
the claims that Mr. X or Ms-Y has been "brainwashed" and otherwise
harmed by a "dangerous cult group. Mr.X and Ms.Y, we learn from such
stories, had lost their freedom of will and had to be .rescued," that
is, abducted and deprogrammed. Shortly thereafter, additional stories
inform the public that Mr. X or Ms. Y is bringing a lawsuit for several
million dollars against the group in question.<O:P></O:P>
stories do not appear spontaneously. The negative opinions of cults,
sects, and awareness training groups appearing in the media are often
placed there by individuals and groups belonging to "the anticult
network" (ACN). The accounts of harmful effects of destructive cult
involvement offered to the press and TV by disgruntled ex-members are
often the result of anticult network orchestration. From my point of
view, ACN groups are essentially propagandists who seek to justify
extralegal and questionable practices as a means of suppressing
individuals and groups who exert parentally unacceptable influences on
their adult children. In addition, ACN groups front for dozens of
deprogrammers, anticult mental health professionals, and anticult
attorneys who make a substantial part of their living from the attack
on nontraditional groups. Although the media rely on the ACN, their
clients, and their allies, the data provided by them is scarcely
reliable. To regard the ACN as a source of objective data or sound
criticism of any group or form of influence is like regarding the KKK
as a source of objective data or sound criticism of blacks.<O:P></O:P>
anticult network (ACN) is a loose-knit confederation of parents'
groups, deprogrammers, dissatisfied former group members,
cult-concerned mental health professionals, attorneys, and evangelical
religious propagandists. The ACN began about ten years ago with the
efforts of parents opposed to their offsprings' involvement with the
Children of God, a fundamentalist sect. COG having been driven out of
the United States within a short time as the result of Ted Patrick
kidnappings and anti-COG publicity, a new target or targets were
required. As with any newly emerging institution, the deprogrammers and
the anticult parent groups had too much invested in the ACN to simply
fade away. The Hare Krishnas, tile Unification Church or the "Moonies.
and Divine Light Mission soon became the foci of anticult efforts.
These efforts won very little public support and had practically run
out of steam by late 1978.<O:P></O:P>
media, and legislative bewilderment at the mass murder and
suicide of more thin nine hundred U.S. citizens at the Peoples Temple
enclave in Guyana in Central America revivified the spirit of the ACN.
For about two years the chief targets remained the Moonies, the Hare
Krishnas, and DLM. Since 1982, new targets have included Transcendental
Meditation, awareness traiining seminars, various New Age groups, and
The ACN exploits the media to
spread hatred and fear, to solicit business for deprogrammers and their
suporters, and to poison the
public's perception of nontraditional groups . . .<O:P></O:P>
an effort to avoid appearing anti-religious and to attract proponents
of conventional religions into the fold, the ACN has been careful to
attack their enemies on mental health grounds rather than theological
ones. Allegations of thought reform, mind control, brainwashing, or
mental manipulation have proved the most effective weapon. For
a mother and father to accuse an unscrupulous group of having
brainwashed their son or daughter has several advantages. Mom and Dad
need take no responsibility for their child's rejection of them and
their values. Further, they are able to regard their child as a
helpless dupe or victim rather than as a willing rebel. When their
child finally defects from the group - as the vast majority do even
when no intervention is undertaken on their behalf - the apostate is
able to blame the group rather than himself for his actions while still
in the group. Under the brainwashing explanation, no one is ever to
blame except for the "evil cult."<O:P></O:P>
it is influence rather than theology that makes a group an evil cult,
it is a short step from condemning a handful of unpopular religious
sects to condemning any group or experience. If a parent or a spouse
feels that newly adopted values, attitudes,
vocabulary, or social affiliation is somehow weird or threatening, they
can readily explain it away as a manifestation of thought reform or
brainwashing. Once again, neither the individual in question nor his or
her concerned loved ones nor society nor anyone other than the evil
brainwashing group is to blame. The ACN quickly adopted this point of
view and began to accuse large group awareness training seminars, human
potential groups, multi-level sales organizations, mental health
professionals, and other sources of interpersonal influence of
brainwashing. The absurd culmination of the brainwashing myth is the
deprogramming of young men and women whose selected marital partners
are unacceptable to their parents. Such unacceptable (to the parents)
relationships are spoken of in ACN circles .cults of one."<O:P></O:P>
1. Cult Awareness Network<O:P></O:P>
Awareness Network (formerly Citizens Freedom Foundation) is not one but
about fifty-one organizations. At the top is the national organization
with its office in suburban Chicago. There is a national board of
directors which meets quarterly. CAN is poorly financed and essentially
volunteer staffed. In the past ten years, it has
been headquartered in southern California (various places), Virginia,
upstate New Yolk, and Illinois, and has been beaded by a succession of
executive directors. After CAN went through three executive directors
in one year, the then president became executive director and located
CAN in her home ill New Yolk. CAN moved to the Chicago area with
Reginald Alev serving termporarily as executive director. The current
executive director is Cynthia Kisser, who holds a master's degree in
American Studies from Bowling Green University. I have been told that
the address appearing on CAN literature is merely a commercial mail
publishes a monthly newsletter which consists, for tile most part, of
reprints of newspaper articles which are unflattering to cults, sects,
major activity of CAN is a national conference that draws between 400
and 800 attendees. The CAN conference was held in Los Angeles in 1983
and Washington, D.C. in1982. The 1987 annual meeting was held in
Pittsburgh; this year's is scheduled for Portland, Oregon. Major
anticult figures speak and direct workshops, and anticult literature is
sold. Most major deprogrammers attend and many deprogrammings are
arranged in informal gatherings. A subsidiary, FOCUS (Former Cultists
Support Network), consisting of former members or "victims" of cult
groups, holds its annual meeting in conjunction with CAN's.
All sessions of the CAN /FOCUS annual meeting
are semi-public. The public is invited, but CAN reserves the right to
exclude anyone at any time without explanation.<O:P></O:P>
are approximately fifty affiliated chapters of CAN. The
national organization has very little control over them. When there
have been policy disputes in the past, the CAN board has found some way
to disaffiliate troublesome chapters.<O:P></O:P>
As a counselor of families disturbed by so-called cults
and an opponent of forcible deprogramming I would estimate that eighty
percent of all deprogrammings that have been reported to me were set up
by CAN national headquarters or its chapters.<O:P></O:P>
chapters (e.g. CAN/New York, New Jersey) have many active volunteers
who answer phone inquiries, arrange public forums, distribute
literature, "educate" the media, provide speakers, and lobby
incessantly against "destructive cultism.. Many
chapters exist in name only. A single pair of parents of present or
former cult members attempt in a hit-or-miss manner to coordinate local
anticult activities. Several chapters are substantial anticult groups
which antedate the national confederation. Some have retained their
original names and publish their own anticult newsletters. Examples
include Free Minds (Minneapolis), PAC (Positive Action Center in
Portland, Oregon), and PAIF (Pittsburgh Association for Individual
ACN groups front for dozens of deprogrammers, anticult
mental health professionals, and anticult attorneys who make a
substantial part of their living from the attack on nontraditional
official policy of the national CAN on deprogramming states that CAN is
opposed to kidnapping. Yet CAN executive directors and presidents have
been regular referral sources for deprogrammers. At the chapter level,
CAN is basically an informational and referral service for
deprogramming. Many CAN chapters are headed by deprogrammers. As a
counselor of families disturbed by so-called cults and an opponent of
forcible deprogramming, I would estimate that eighty percent of all
deprogrammings that have been reported to me were set up by CAN
national headquarters or its chapters. For example,
Jon Ruth, a university graduate student in Colorado, was recently
kidnapped by deprogrammers hired by his patents, who did not approve of
the young woman he was about to marry. Using the fact that Jon had
attended a Lifespring workshop as a pretense he was kidnapped and
forced to renounce his fiancé. A private detective retained by
Jon's fiancé was able to determine Jon's location by phoning CAN
in Chicago, claiming to have a relative involved in Lifespring, and
asking for a referral to someone ill Colorado. The
person to whom the investigator was referred was a deprogrammer, who,
at that very time, was holding Ruth.<O:P></O:P>
The following story illustrates how CAN works:<O:P></O:P>
client of mine, who later became a personal friend, had a son who had
for a few days been with the Golden Realization Church (a fictional
name chosen to protect the anonymity of the individuals involved). Her
descriptions of him convinced me that he was ill suited to any
structured lifestyle and that he would probably leave the group on his
own or be expelled in a matter of days. This in fact happened. The
mother told me that, in the meantime, she contacted the national office
of CAN and was told that her son had suffered possible brain damage as
the result of the Golden Realization Church's uses of "mind control."
The mother was warned that if her son were not deprogrammed he would
probably go insane and kill himself. When the young man returned home,
the Mother had him committed to a mental hospital - even though he
manifested no evidence of any form of mental illness- and deprogrammed
by the president of the local chapter of CAN.<O:P></O:P>
do not know how much the mother paid for the deprogramming. Current
fees (or abduction-style deprogrammings are $15,000 to $25,000 and
more. To continue:<O:P></O:P>
the pseudo-psychiatric opinions with which they were barraged by the
anticult network, the hospital staff soon came to the conclusion that
the young man was not suffering from any form of mental illness and
ordered his release. Shortly after he returned to his mother's home, he
became deeply depressed. Since he no longer trusted his mother, he went
to live with his father. (His patents were divorced.) Unable to shake
his feelings of despondency and rejection he committed suicide.
Remembering the predictions made by the anticult network, the mother
blames the Golden Realization Church. I suspect his sense of having
failed as his mother's son was the greatest contributing factor. The
young man and his mother had always been very close. But when he turned
to her after his short stay with "a cult," she opted to listen to the
deprogrammers rather than to her own son, had him locked up, forced to
listen to anticult propaganda, and drugged. He must have been
in Part B
story illustrates a common pattern. A family phones a CAN chapter
seeking information. CAN regales the concerned
relatives with atrocity stories, provides them with newspaper clippings
and videotapes filled with more exaggerated accounts, puts them in
touch with apostates with chips on their shoulder, offers to arrange
for kidnappings/deprogrammings or other forms of .exit counseling.. In
typical cases, when the family member has been
successfully removed from the group, he or she is introduced to
anticult mental health professionals who convince the deprogrammed
individual that he or she was the victim of brainwashing techniques
that have caused irreparable harm. Soon the former adherent is being
urged to bring a lawsuit against the cult group or leader and to make
media appearances to warn the public. The deprogrammers and the
anticult mental health professionals often reap
huge fees either directly from the deprogramming or later as expert
witnesses when the former group member sues.<O:P></O:P>
Two deprogrammers are former
truck drivers; one is a convicted felon (drug-related charges); one is
a private detective; many are ex-cultists who themselves were
has been instrumental in having conservatorship bills introduced in
various states which would allow courts to suspend the civil rights of
adult cult members so that they could be placed in their parents.
custody in order to be deprogrammed. Such bills have twice been passed
ill New Volk but were vetoed by then Governor Carey.<O:P></O:P>
the Canadian group, COMA (Council on Mind Abuse), and the Boston-based
American Family Foundation are "associate" members of the CAN family.
It is estimated that the total number of individuals involved in CAN
activities throughout the country is less than one thousand. CAN annual
conferences, which drew eight hundred a few years ago, now draw about
four hundred. Most of those involved in "cult" groups, particularly the
Unification Church, Divine Light Mission, the Church of
Scientology, The Way International and various smaller Bible-based
sects and "guru" groups. Approximately two-thirds of those actively
involved in CAN are vehemently in favor of coercive deprogramming and
most of them have used the services of such big name deprogrammers as
Ted Patrick, Joe Alexander, Jr., Galen Kelly mid more recently Mark
Blocksom and Joe Szimhart. CAN's parallel organization, FOCUS, is a
council of former cult members, most of whom have been successfully
deprogrammed from such groups as those mentioned above.<O:P></O:P>
to CAN in the anticult crusade are appproximately forty individuals who
work fulltime or part-time as active agents of deconversion. Popularly
known as deprogrammers, this group is available for hire by concerned
parents for fees averaging fifteen thousand dollars per case. (Parents
have spent as much as $50,000 in an individual case.) The activities of
deprogrammers typically consist of abducting "cult" converts, forcing
them to reconsider their allegiances, and creating a stress-overload
situation which is eventually resolved in successful cases by the
subject's renunciation of the group. Two deprogrammers are former truck
drivers; one is a convicted felon (drug-related charges); one is a
private detective; many are ex-cultists who themselves were
deprogrammed; several are born-again Christian zealots who participate
in the coerced deprogramming of born- Christians whom they regard as
influenced by the devil. There is a category of noncoercive or
"voluntary" deprogrammers who usually refer to themselves as "exit
counselors." "Exit counselors. include some mental health
professionals, a large number of former coercive deprogrammers whose
wings have been clipped by civil and criminal court cases, former cult
members who are opposed to force, evangelists for various evangelical
Christian groups clergymen of various faiths etc. However, it should be
noted that noncoercion is the exception father than the rule among the
practitioners of the ACN. Further many individuals who claim too
participate only in voluntary deprogrammings have long records
of involvement in kidnappings. Other "exit counselors" routinely make
referrals to deprogrammers when less forcible means of persuasion fail.<O:P></O:P>
3. Cult-concerned mental health
is a small company of anticult "shrinks". These psychiatrists,
psychologists, and social workers are extremely important to ACN
because they provide a professional legitimization for deprogramming,
the advocacy of anticult legislation and for anticult propaganda. The
chief role of these professionals within the ACN is to describe as
"psychologically harmful" the conversion to lifestyles which
parents find socially unacceptable. Accusations of brainwashing, mind
control, trance induction and hypnosis thus become the basis for
extralegal and religiously suppressive ACN activities.<O:P></O:P>
4. Anticult attorneys<O:P></O:P>
closely with deprogrammers and anticult mental health professionals are
lawyers who specialize in litigation against cults, sects, and human
potential groups. In a typical case, an individual who has been
deprogrammed is referred to in anticult attorney. The attorney then
retains all anticult mental health professional to offer "educative
therapy" to the ex-cultist and to testify against the group in question<O:P></O:P>
is seen by the anticult network as the chief means of suppressing
groups deemed guilty of practicing "thought reform." To date, lawsuits
have been brought against cults, sects, fundamentalist churches,
awareness training seminars, and even a men's clothing store.<O:P></O:P>
in Part C<O:P></O:P>
am a sympathetic critic of manifestations of religious experience,
group processes, and awareness training having studied such phenomena
for nearly thirty years. I am appalled by the reliance the media place
on anecdotal accounts of defectors and professional anticultists.<O:P></O:P>
the ACN's only source of information is what they have learned from
deprogrammers, former adherents who have been deprogrammed, and
sensationalized stories in the popular press, their information is of
very little value. Apostates are notorious for telling unreliable and
self-serving stories. Would we trust a man.s former wife as our only
source of information about his personality? The
ACN is composed of controversialists whose efforts are aimed not at
understanding but at suppression. The ACN spreads atrocity stories
about their targets in much the same manner as government ministries of
propaganda publish exaggerated and accounts of enemy nations. Like all
propaganda, the tales of the Anti Cult Network must be taken with a
large grain of salt.<O:P></O:P>
Apostates are notorious for telling unreliable and
self-serving stories. Would we trust a man's former wife as our only
source of information about his personality?<O:P></O:P>
ACN exploits the media to spread hatred and fear, to solicit business
for deprogrammers and their supporters, and to poison the public.s
perception of nontraditional groups
so that when ACN . promoted lawsuits are
brought, fair hearings before juries are impossible.<O:P></O:P>
accept the word of the ACN is to court the destruction of our most
fundamental rights-freedom of religion, freedom of association, and
freedom of the press. By spreading propaganda to
justify its own deprogramming activities, the ACN subverts the
integrity of the press and tramples oil the basic liberties of
followers of nontraditional religious communities.<O:P></O:P>
have kept a file of media stories dealing with so-called cults during a
recent one-year period. The stories were culled by a commercial
clipping service and fill an entire six-foot bookcase shelf. I would
estimate that approximately ninety percent of the coverage is negative
and that approximately ninety percent of the negative material was
based on allegations against groups made by deprogrammers, individuals
who had been deprogrammed, the anticult network, and the attorneys of
ex-cultists engaged in litigation against groups.<O:P></O:P>
CAN has been instrumental in
having conservatorship bills introduced in various states which would
allow courts to suspend the civil rights of adult cult members so that
they could be placed hi their parents' custody in order to be
ever is a story based on first-hand investigation or participative
observation of the group in question. The few positive or neutral
observations that do appear are often taken verbatim and uncritically
from standard library sources or group handouts. Essentially the media
allow the enemies of the groups in question to do all their spadework
a period of years, many investigative reports on television have been
set up by the ACN as follows: an individual is
deprogrammed; the local ACN representative approaches the news or
reporter with a pre-packaged story about the alleged "mind control,"
financial manipulation and sexual misdoings within the "cult. offering
the deprogrammer and his .client. in support of the claims. Having been
prejudiced by the exaggerated accounts offered by the ACN, the reporter
then approaches the group in a "have you stopped beating your wife!. spirit.
The results are distortion and
cult-bashers and deprogrammers as experts on the harm caused by
so-called cults is like quoting leaders of the American Nazi Party as
experts when they claim that the American economy is harmed by what
they view as the Jewish control of banking. Not
only is the uncritical acceptance of ACN dogma unfair, but it is
devastating to our most cherished constitutional rights and
antagonistic to the pursuit of spiritual truths by citizens of a
For six years, Lowell Streiker
served as executive director of<O:P></O:P>
Freedom Counseling Center in
Which assisted families and
individuals disturbed by cults.<O:P></O:P>
(c) 1988 Lowell D. Streiker Ph.D.
new religious vilification group formed in Sydney Australia in late
1992. Its tentative name, CultAware , was among several put
forward by a small number of members at this first meeting. The
fledgling organization was made up of an odd but predictable assortment
of people dedicated to the edicts of America's deprogramming industry as embodied in the then Cult
Awareness Network (CAN) .
Supporters of CultAware at its inception included
deprogrammers, a couple of psychiatrists, satanic ritual abuse
theorists, some former members of religious groups, a software salesman
and his wife.
Deprogramming in Australia
the past two decades New Religious Movements in Australia and persons
who are members of these religions have been the target of hate
campaigns, harassment, coercion and at times kidnap and unlawful
in Australia has had the support of a small number of anti cult groups
over the years which spring up from time to time. Most of these groups
fade away. Some remain to become good examples of organized bigotry.
Largely deprogrammers have come into Australia from the USA
charging enormous fees and expenses to kidnap, falsely imprison and
generally abuse a targeted person's rights
to religious freedom and belief; not to mention endangering their
physical and emotional well being. Often family and personal
relationships are destroyed by deprogrammers and their agents.
Deprogramming as a practice was developed in the USA by
several mental health professionals and anti religious
extremists. Although the justifying theory on which deprogramming was
developed has since been discredited
it still finds popularity with some in Australia.
In 1996 some three years after deprogramming reportedly
ceased , four deprogrammers entered Australia from overseas to attempt
a forced intervention or deprogramming of a young man in
Ipswich Queensland. Deprogramming is still current despite statements
to the contrary.
Known cases of either deprogramming or exit counselling
attempts can be reported to Victims of CultAware. (Any known criminal act should
be reported as soon as possible to the police in the locality where the
Reported cases of deprogramming attempts by CultAware members
and associates are being catalogued on this site and can be viewed here.
EXAMPLES OF WHAT DEPROGRAMMERS SO
Excerpted 8 page statement
(23/11/92) of Lucy :
- ...I am 29 years old.
...On the 29th
April 1992, a Cyril Vosper, also known as Fred Delacey, attempted to
"deprogram" me non stop for eleven hours.
...Mr. Vosper, whom
I now know to be a convicted criminal , and who withheld this
information from my parents, had me falsely imprisoned in my house and
verbally, in a violent manner, denigrated my beliefs and stopped me
from leaving my own home. He has been convicted of related offences in
... Mr. Vosper
stirred up my parents and family to act against me and my religious
beliefs and to even endanger my physical well being. Through Vosper's
instigation, my parents imprisoned me in my own home and forced me to
be subjected to a lengthy period (11 hours in total) of spiteful
denigration of my religion by him. My own parents and family held me
against my will and put more faith in Vosper's view of my religion than
my own statements to them.
... His raving
persisted for hours, with not a decent thing being said; he denigrated
everything he could and gave me information I knew to be false.
I became tired,
weary and eventually exhausted by his persistent harassment ... At
least five times I tried to leave and each time, Mr. Vosper would
become very angry with me and had my father convinced I had to remain,
whereupon my father held me there. He has never done this to me before
or ever held me against my will. It was an outrageous and humiliating
...Vosper said he
wouldn't let me go until I was convinced my beliefs were "evil" and
made out this was similar to a "doctor deciding for his patient". He
said "I am the deciding factor here. I've got to be convinced that you
are never going back. I don't want you telling them what occurred here
I told him at least
four times: "I am angry because you are holding me against my will." He
became very antagonistic and was yelling at me. This arguing with him
went on for about an hour at the front door; he told me "This process
takes as long as it takes and depends on your co-operation. It can take
days and I've done it for three days before."
...A police car
turned up and [deleted] knocked on the window and the police
officer stepped out of the car. He asked me if I was Lucia and wanted
to know my age. When he heard I was 29 years old he told my father I
had the right to leave.
...I told the
policeman that there was a man in the house named Cyril Vosper who had
been there all day and he had tried to deprogram me and would not allow
me to leave the house. I asked the policeman if he would accompany me
into the house so that I could get some decent clothes, as I was still
in my track suit pyjamas. He and I went into the house whilst I
collected a suitcase of clothes. I found Vosper hiding in the house; he
jumped back when I raced around the corner of our L-shaped hallway. I
left at approximately 8:30 p.m.
...I later went to
the Oakleigh police at around 11 p.m. to file a complaint against Cyril
Vosper. I was told by a police officer that the police had spoken with
my family whilst Vosper was still there and told them that what had
occurred was not legal as I could press charges of false imprisonment,
however I do not hold my family responsible.
|Statement of Jacinta :
to an affidavit I signed on January 10, 1992, this statement gives some
details pertaining to the deprogrammers involved in the kidnapping and
attempted deprogramming of myself in September 1991.
The ringleader was Joe (though he called himself by the name
"Peter"). He is an ex-member of the Church Universal and Triumphant, is
tall (height approx. 6 feet) has dark hair, aged late thirties/early
fourties and is of slight to normal build. I sighted a ADA County Jail
photograph of Joseph Szimhart on April 18, 1993 and I testify that he
is the deprogrammer referred to here.
Joe travelled to Australia from the United States with Pat
(who called himself "Tom"). Pat is an ex-member of TM (Transcendental
Meditation). He is of normal height (approx. 5'9") and build, has a
receding hairline and is around the same age as Joe. I sighted several
photographs of Pat Ryan in April 1993 and saw him recently in Sydney
outside a courtroom in the Downing Court building and I testify that
this is the deprogrammer referred to here.
The third American involved used the pseudonym "Sara". She is
an ex-member of The Way International, being deprogrammed out of this
group by her parents. She has a Southern American accent and indeed
back in 1991 she was based in Texas but was thinking to move up to
Boston since most of her cases involved members of the Boston Church of
Christ. She expressed interest in returning to Australia to "counsel"
members of the affiliated Churches of Christ here. "Sara" was slightly
overweight and had blond hair. I recently sighted a photo of Mary
Chrnaloger who appeared in court in America together with Joe Szimhart
concerning the illegal restraint and deprogramming of a mother of four
children. While the quality of the photo was not good the features of
this woman are consistent with those of "Sara". She came to Australia
for my case about a week before I was kidnapped (ie end of August 1991)
to help set up the house where I was held against my will and to glean
information from my mother about myself and my family relationships.
She left Australia on Saturday, September 14, 1991.
The British deprogrammer was Jane Allison (who called herself
"Liz"), an ex-Unification Church member, as mentioned (sic)
my earlier statement. In 1991, she and her mother had a strong
connection with an "anticult" organization based in the U.K. called
F.A.I.R. and it was through this connection that she became involved in
my illegal restraint. She arrived in Australia a day or two before my
kidnapping and left on Friday September 20, 1991.
There was an Australian man involved in my kidnapping and
deprogramming who called himself "Ron". He is an ex-Scientologist, is
quite short (approx. 5'6") and his age is about early fifties. I have
seen quite old photos of Cyril Vosper and I believe him to be the same
person as "Ron" though I would like to see a recent photo to be
Finally, there was an Australian lady involved who called
herself "Sylvia". She was about in her late fourties and is a teacher
"Sara", Jane, "Ron" and "Sylvia" were physically present
during my abduction from my parents' home on September 6, 1991. Jane
told me of how she had prevented one person in a similar situation from
escaping because of her abilities in martial arts. This was an implied
threat to myself not to resist being taken away. When I first entered
my parents' house, she was hiding in one part of the house, and "Ron"
and "Sylvia" were hiding in the other side of the house, in case I made
a dash through the house to escape. The four of them accompanied me in
the back of a van with blackened-out windows, two positioned either
side at the back of the front seat. They asked me to lie down in the
middle of the back of the van en route to the rented holiday home in
Mornington where I was illegally restrained for nine days.
Every night during my stay there, I was guarded by my mother
who slept in the same room with me on the floor, by Jane who slept on
the floor just outside my bedroom in the ensuite area, and then for the
first four days by "Ron" who slept the other side of the ensuite door
which led out to the rest of the house. This door had been fitted with
a hook and eye lock expressly for the time of my stay.
Joe Szimhart and Pat Ryan were on stand-by to receive a call
on Friday night to come to Australia. They arrived on Sunday September
6, 1991 and left late evening Saturday September 14, 1991.
For the first 8 days of my captivity in this house, I was
never left alone except for about an hour every morning while I was
getting up. Even then my bedroom and ensuite area was always watched by
at least one of the deprogrammers. Most of the "counselling" took place
in the main living room of the house which had a whole wall of windows
and one door out onto a courtyard. There was always at least one
deprogrammer between me and this door out onto the courtyard at all
times. Usually Joe Szimhart, Pat Ryan, Jane Allison and "Sara" were in
this room with me. The first counselling sessions were actually held in
my bedroom which had the windows boarded up (the adjoining bathroom
also had its window boarded up). However on Saturday September 7, 1991,
the day after I arrived, I ran from this bedroom saying I did not want
to hear anything that they wanted to tell me and that I just wanted to
talk to my family (this is the reason I had come from Sydney to
Melbourne the day before). "Sara" called out to "Ron" who ran to the
door leading out to the courtyard in case I tried to escape.
During the period of my illegal restraint in this house, my
mother had a visit from Mrs. Joan McClelland who recently co-founded
with her husband the "Cultaware" group in New South Wales. My mother
later explained that Joan McClelland had been the one to put her in
touch with the Cult Awareness Network (CAN) in the United States. It
was through this connection provided by Joan McClelland that my parents
came to organise my illegal restraint and unsought-for "provision of
information and resources for 'affected' individuals" - the professed
aims of "Cultaware" - for a five figure sum.
I am writing this statement some time after the episode in
question because of the recent increase in "cult education" which in my
case was not voluntarily sought-for. Individuals with connections to
the Cult Awareness Network in the U.S. and the F.A.I.R. group in the
U.K. have entered Australia recently, expressly for involuntarily "exit
counselling" as described above.
|I Sara Verrier of (deleted) Glebe 2037 NSW, do
I have followed the religious philosophy of Scientology since May 1992,
and have received many benefits from the courses and counselling I have
received. In August 1992 I chose to work on the staff of the Church of
Scientology to help bring Scientology to other people, and I commenced
work in the Sydney church at this time.
early 1993 I became aware that my mother had been in contact with Tony
McLelland of Cultaware, and a `deprogrammer` from the United States,
Patrick Ryan. This was in relation to getting me `deprogrammed` from my
religion. This was done without my knowledge at the time and was a
violation of my right to religious freedom. My mother did not talk to
me about this; she only said she wanted me to come home for a visit. I
later discovered by reading documentation from Cultaware that my mother
had been told not to mention it to me, and had been advised to get me
to come home so that I could be deprogrammed (deprogramming was
referred to as `exit-counselling`)
mother was unwilling to talk to me about this and our relationship went
from good to very strained and uneasy. She was very concerned about me
being in Scientology after she had told lies about my religion by Mr.
McLelland and Mr. Ryan. She had also read a book by Steven Hassan, an
American deprogrammer which also contained lies, distortions and false
data about Scientology. She had been led to believe that I had in fact
undergone a form of `brainwashing`, so that my attempts to let her know
that I was doing well and not in any danger were not able to reassure
Ryan was in the country at this time, and on the advise of a chamber
magistrate I applied for a restraining order. This was based on my
knowledge from reading affidavits that deprogrammings were performed
without the person`s consent and there had been instances of kidnapping
and being held against the person`s will. Mr Ryan lied in court about
his work saying he did not perform `deprogrammings` and the Restraining
Order was not granted. He did say on the record though that he would
not come near me unless I asked him to. Thus I could feel secure that I
would not be deprogrammed against my will by Mr. Ryan.
the effects on my relationship with my mother have continued,
particularly as Tony McLelland is still in communication with her and
continues to spread lies about Scientology. He has created a rift in
our relationship through his misinformation and by instilling fear into
my mother for my well being.
to a UN Declaration; "....each person has the absolute right to believe
whatever she or he chooses to believe free from any kind of undue
influence and coercion."
practice unfortunately, many people do experience undue influence and
coercion, and I narrowly escaped this treatment myself.
am 34 years old and happily married with two children. My wife Julie is
a second generation Scientologist. I chose Scientology as my religion
about 6 years ago. We both have never wavered from our beliefs and find
that our lives are benefited in many ways.
couple of years ago my parents began to seek information about my
religion which of course they were entitled to do. Unfortunately,
however, they did not seek this information from the Church or its
religious literature, but less propitiously from biased self-styled
"experts". Unbeknownst to myself and Julie they made a few contacts of
this nature, primarily with Tony McClelland of CultAware in Sydney and
a Raphael Aron of Gateway Counselling in Melbourne.
and myself were staying with my parents at the time and one day while
looking for a household item I came across binders of anti-Scientology
material in a cupboard. It was clear from the contents that my parents
had been gathering misinformation secretly for some time. I later
learned that Tony McClelland had told my parents to keep the fact of
their "research" from me and not antagonise me as if they did I would
cut ties with them forever. Nothing could be further from the truth,
yet this advice from Mr. McClelland had a devastating effect on the
communication in our family. We still see each other frequently and
talk; but sadly, I have not succeeded in getting the relationship quite
back to the easy give and take of the days before McClelland and
I confronted my parents on the material I had found, my father asked me
to meet with some people to find out the "true story" about my
religion. I declined, and was infact quite fearful both for myself and
Julie and our young baby, as although I realised that my parents meant
well and were deceived, I had heard about these "meetings with people".
parents then began to behave in an odd way towards Julie and myself.
Everything I said, even in casual conversation, was questioned. I found
my mother, to whom I had always been close, questioning quite ordinary
comments from me as if she thought they were unusual or that I had
changed in some way. I later learned that my parents had been
instructed to look for "personality changes".
my opinion the ring leader behind this was Tony McClelland. At one
point I phoned him and told him explicitly that I did not appreciate
his interference and asked for it to cease. His response was
blasé and to the effect that he would do as he pleased. He
continued communication with my parents and it was not until some time
later after he asked my parents to "pound the pavement" doing
anti-Scientology demonstrations that my father decided that there was
something not quite right about Tony McClelland and expressed the view
that he was "a bit of a nut".
was lucky in that my experience could have been much worse. Others have
not been so fortunate. We need legislation in Austraila which will
effectively stop organisations like CultAware and individuals who would
violate the human rights of others by interfering with their chosen
religious beliefs. Based on my own experience and research and what I
know of the experiences of others, I think anti-hatred laws at a
national and state level are definitely warranted.
The 'deprogramming' of
article shows how the "mind-control" allegation is used despite the
fact that Riethmiller wasn't part of any group, she was just engaged in
an alleged lesbian relationship. As for cult deprogramming victims, the
mind-control rhetoric succeeded to get the deprogrammers acquitted
despite the fact that they kidnapped her, raped her, and tried to
forcefully impose their own values to her.
In October, 1981, two young women were
walking to their suburban Cincinnati home when they were approached by
two men. One of the men asked directions; as the women responded, one
woman was Maced, the other seized and thrown into a van that whisked
her away from the scene.
Thus began the bizarre 'deprogramming' of
Stephanie Riethmiller. Suspected by her parents, Marita and William
Riethmiller, of becoming a lesbian, Riethmiller, then 19, was driven to
a house in Alabama where, she claimed, she was subjected to seven days
of forced captivity, verbal harassment, and rape. Last April, the
Hamilton County Common Pleas Court in Cincinnatti heard the criminal
trial of Riethmiller's captors. In proceedings that drew the attention
of gay and women's rights observers from across the country,
controversial deprogrammer Ted Patrick and two of his associates -
James Roe and Naomi Goss - were variously charged with abduction,
assault, and sexual battery. Patrick has built a reputation as a
deprogrammer of converts to religious sects.
Before a packed courtroom [...] testified
that James Roe raped her on the second night in Alabama and every night
thereafter. Terrified, she could not scream or offer resistance, she
said. Insisting that everyone in the house was fully aware of what was
happening, she quoted her mother as later saying that 'it was all right
I was raped and anything was better than what I was doing.'
At the house in Alabama, her treatment
included nearly constant yelling about her roommate, Patty Thiemann.
Defense witnesses at the trial portrayed Thiemann as a dominering
lesbian bent on controlling Riethmiller's lifestyle and mind. They
focused on Thiemann's footwear (boots), her car (a pickp truck), and
dog (Doberman pinscher) as evidence of her overbearing style.
The prosecutor in the trial, Hamilton
County's Simon L. Leis, came under criticism for his unsympathetic
treatment of the victim's lifestyle as well as for granting immunity to
her parents who had paid $8,000 for the deprogramming. It was reported
that Leis in the past had called homosexality immoral, and in
addressing the jury, he said that though her lifestyle wasn't at issue,
"I'm not going to represent to you that I approve of the victim's
sexual preference." He referred to lesbianism as "unnatural." Although
he said the parents' action was 'totally wrong', he declared: 'I don't
think there's any question that what the parents did in the matter was
done totally out of love for their daughter.' As to the deprogrammers,
Leis described their tactics in court papers as 'sexual intercourse to
detract [...] from her lesbianism and attract her to heterosexual
Thus observers were only moderately
surprised when, after two weeks of testimony and 16 hours of jury
deliberation, none of the criminal charges under consideration was
upheld. The jury, however, deadlocked on the abduction charge for Roe
and Goss, and a retrial was scheduled."
Stephanie Riethmiller Saga:
She says it was abduction; her parents say it was a rescue
19 Nov. 1982
article shows how the same mind-control rhetoric as for cults
is being used: demonization of the cult leader (her partner), change of
personality, "glassy eyed", "it's not the sex we object to but the
mind-control", she "gave up a 'fantastic' social life". Then we have
the classical anti-cult story that "parents turned to all officials for
'help' and after finding none turned to Ted Patrick."
"I was in total shock. I mean I was afraid
for myself because, you know, I had reason to believe that I was in
danger," Stephanie says of that night. "I knew I didn't have a friend
in the world. ... I didn't know what they were going to do to me."
What they did to her - again, according to
Stephanie - was to drive her to Alabama and keep her there for seven
days. To deprogram her. To cure her of lesbianism. To reintroduce her
to men. During the day the women, Naomi Goss, 25, yelled at her and
ridiculed lesbians, especially Patty. At night the white man, Jim Roe,
25, made love to her. They pulled a variation of the old good cop/bad
cop routine on her. Goss was strident and tough. Roe was tender and
loving. The implication was obvious: Women were butches and dykes; men
made better lovers.
All this was done with the full knowledge of
her mother, according to Stephanie, who says she heard her mother and
Roe discussing whether she was taking birth control pills. [...]
Stephanie says she was held against her will
in a locked house with the windows nailed shut. She was handcuffed
periodically, threatened, denied food, harassed, raped. She had no
privacy, no freedom. After just two days, she said, "I was so messed up
I didn't even think I would know my name. If someone had told me to
jump out of the window, I probably would have jumped out the window, I
did not have any thoughts of my own. Everyting I did I was told to do.
... I was totally at their mercy." [...]
The Riethmillers tell a different story, of
a different Stephanie, of an emotionally disturbed girl, [...] who gave
up a 'fantastic' social life and fell under the spell of Patty Thiemann
The Riethmillers were horrified. Stephanie
was losing weight; she wasn't taking her iron medicine (she is anemic);
her personality was changing.
"I didn't know the person inside my
daughter's body," says Mrs. Riethmiller.
"It was as thought I didn't recognize her at
times," her father says. "She wasn't my daughter anymore. ..."
Mrs. Riethmiller refers to Patty as "that
lesbian," but she says sex was not the issue: "I don't approve of it
(homosexuality), but the main concern was the control that Patty had
over her. ... My daughter became like a robot. She was glassy-eyed."
The Riethmiller contacted a priest, a rabbi,
a religion reporter and various counselors. No one could help them.
Then they called Ted Patrick. Patrick is a deprogrammer who usally
works with cult members. He is black and his nickname is "Black
Lightning." Mrs Riethmiller told him that her daughter was "in a
lesbian situation and she was being totally controlled, and we had no
contact with her, and we were frantic." They were willing to pay $8,000
to have her deprogrammed. They would pull the money from their IRA
Patrick said he couldn't help. He was on
probation on a kidnapping charge, and if he engaged in another
deprogramming, he would go to jail. But he said he might be able to put
them in touch with some people who could. A few days later the
Riethmillers got a call telling them where to send the money. They were
told to purchase handcuffs, plastic gloves and Maces.
[follows the account of the deprogramming
from each viewpoint: complete different versions. But this is not the
Charges of abduction and assault were
brought against the Riethmillers, Ted Patrick, Jim Roe, Naomi Goss and
the black man, known as "Ray". In addition, six counts of sexual
battery were brought against Roe.
Heading the prosecution case was Simon L.
Leis Jr., 48, a former Marine, and the Hamilton County prosecutor for
nearly 12 years. He is against pornography; the ERA - "it undermines
God's law of authority" - and homosexuality - "an unnatural act." He is
for the Moral Majority and the familty. If his daughter got herself
involved in a situation like Stephanie Riethmiller's, "I'd grab that
daughter of mine myself," he has said.
Yes, as prosecutor, Leis' duty was to
represent the victims, Stephanie Riethmiller and Patty Thiemann, and to
prosecute the defendants. He granted immunity to the Riethmillers, whom
he identified as "concerned parents" and referred to Stephany and Patty
as lesbians. Leis could never bring himself actually to say the word
"lesbian." Throughout the eight-day trial in April he referred to the
women as liz-bians.
After 16 hours of deliberation, the seven
woman and five men of the jury acquitted all the defendants on all
charges except the abduction charge against Roe and Goss. They could
not agree on it, and it is scheduled to be retried Nov. 22.
But the case is far from over. Stephanie is
suing her parents and the other defendants for $2.75 million in a civil
suit set to be tried in March 1983. She charges them with 'assault,
battery, false imprisonment, invasion of privacy and intentional
infliction of emotional distress.'"
[Note: I don't know the final issue of the
case. It's another story anyway. Large discussion is also possible on
the fact that the deprogramming actually worked initially, but the
victim 'snapped out' of it too soon by being interrogated by the
police. Also another story. For those interested.]
Her Roommate Isn’t Gay,
Stephanie Riethmiller Says
16 Apr. 1982
Shows that, like for cult
deprogramming victims, the mind-control rhetoric has for effect to put
the victim on trial rather than the aggressors.
Stephanie Riethmiller testified Thursday
that her roommate is not a homosexual and repeated that she didn’t
think her sexual conduct should be part of the trial of those accused
of kidnapping her.
The issue of homosexuality continued to
dominate the trial [...].
Judge Gilbert Bettman decided Wednesday not
to allow questioning about Miss Riethmiller’s sexual activity prior the
abduction, reversing his own earlier ruling.
But on Thursday, Hellings, representing Mrs.
Goss, again tried to determine the intimacy between the two.
What is your relationship with Patty
Thiemann? he asked. Patricia is my roommate. She is my friend, Miss
What is your sexual relationship with Patty
Thiemann? he asked. She said: There is none.
You have had no sexual relationsip with
Patty Thiemann? he continued.
I don’t think I have to answer that, she
said. I think that’s an invasion of privacy, and that’s not what I’m
here for, I don’t think.
Patrick indicted on Ohio Sex,
San Diego Union
3 Oct. 1981
Shows Ted Patrick indirect
"Jailed cult deprogrammer Ted Patrick was
indicted by a Cincinnati grand jury yesterday for kidnapping, assault
and sexual battery charges involving an alleged plot to remove a woman
from a lesbian relationship.
Patrick currently is serving a one-year jail
term here after Superior Court Judge Norbert Ehrenfreund revoked his
bail earlier this month because of the reports coming out of Ohio.
Hamilton County, Ohio, authorities said
Patrick; two of his employees, James Roe and Naomi Kelly Goss of
Center, Ala., and a fourth individual identified only as John Doe, were
[...] Ehrenfreund revoked Patrick's appeal
bond when Chief Deputy District Attorney Richard D. Huffman presented
evidence that Patrick had cashed an $8,000 cashier's check the woman's
parents had made out
New Dawn #21, Sep/Oct 1993, p11-12
Deprogrammer On Kidnap Charge, While "Cult Busters" Organise Here
Ross, self-confessed "cult deprogrammer" and ATF advisor in the Waco
holocaust has been charged, in the United States, with the 1991
abduction of a Christian teenage boy.
and his accomplices, Mark Workman and Charles Simpson, were charged in
July with unlawful imprisonment in the abduction of Jason Scott. If
convicted they face a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison. The charges
against the three were the most recent in a string of legal actions
brought against deprogrammers by U.S. law enforcement officials.
to police reports, Ross, of Phoenix, Arizona, and his accomplices
violently abducted the teenager from the Seattle suburb of Kirkland on
January 18, 1991, handcuffed and gagged him and drove him to Ocean
Shores and held him prisoner to 'deprogram' him from his Church. Scott
is involved with the Life Tabernacle Church, a Pentecostal Christian
is a form of brainwashing which uses kidnapping, forcible restraint,
assault, battery and even rape in an effort to get an individual to
recant his or her chosen beliefs.
the abduction, according to a police report, the victim was bound and
gagged with heavy-duty tape and handcuffed so tightly his wrists became
bruised and swollen, and an ankle restraint was attached to him so he
could not walk.
stated that Ross "ridiculed me about me Church, my pastor, our worship
... the Bible, our salvation, our baptism ... me and my self worth. He
degraded me ... and tore apart everything that I was and stood for."
Scott also said that for 10 to 14 hours a day the men used videotapes
and insults until he broke down and cried.
escaped after five days because he pretended to go along with the
deprogrammers. In his statement to Ocean Shore police, he told of being
threatened by Ross, who said, "If you give me trouble I'll cuff you to
the bed frame." Scott said that for four days he did not leave the room
where he was imprisoned.
Psychiatric & Criminal Records
background of personality disorder and crime is extensively documented
in court and psychiatric reports.
arrest record stretches back to 1975, when he was convicted of grand
theft embezzlement for stealing $100,000 worth of diamonds from a
Phoenix department store. He was on probation at the time for an
his sentencing his own lawyer pointed out Ross's "record of
anti-social, criminal conduct, and even his earlier failure at
probation" and cited his "clear background of serious psychological and
emotional problems," which were detailed in the public court documents.
was seen regularly by psychiatrists and counsellor from the age of six.
At the age of 10, he was put on the psychiatric drugs Deaner and
August and November 1975, he was examined by psychiatrist Thomas P.
O'Brien. O'Brien's report stated that Ross "has a tremendous capacity
to deny the seriousness of problems which he faces ... in his second
jailing, he eventually made quite a serious suicide attempt ... When he
is thrown on his own resources and opportunism is unavailable, and
crying foul produces no changes, his own lack of self-worth and sense
of emptiness overwhelm him and a near suicide resulted."
medical condition was evaluated by Dr Domiciano E. Santos of the
Arizona State Hospital after 15 psychiatric interviews in late 1975.
Dr. Santos stated that "Ricky has a personality disturbance which
started even as a child. He does not seem to profit from his past
experiences and cannot realize that he has a responsibility to society
to control his behaviour ... He does not seem to identify himself with
society and its laws, and believes that punishments are an injustice."
years later, Ross became involved with the notorious Cult Awareness
Network (CAN), after a "radical Bible-based group" began operating at
the Arizona nursing home where his grandmother lived.
who freely admits having carried out as many as 300 deprogrammings
since 1982, mainly against Christian denominations, is known to charge
up to $20,000 for a single kidnapping and "exit counselling" session.
victims have routinely been held hostage against their will and
brutally intimidated in attempts to force them to recant their chosen
Ross' past and present criminal activities, members of the Cult
Awareness Network continue to praise him. CAN's national executive
director, Cynthia Kisser, has described him as "among the half dozen
best deprogrammers in the country."
has cooperated extensively with the national office of this
organization," said Reg Alev, a director of one of CAN's affiliates.
"We recommend him highly."
head of CAN's Los Angeles affiliate lauded him. "Rick has helped me
with all kinds of questions, situations and problems," she said.
is currently under scrutiny by the FBI and federal prosecutors,
stemming from the conviction and jailing in May of another of its
deprogrammers, Galen Kelly.
housewife and professional "cult buster", Jan Groenveld, boasts of her
association with Rick Ross's buddies in the Cult Awareness Network.
Back in her May 1991 newsletter, Groenveld waxed lyrical about CAN's
organisational ability, stating:
attending the Cult Awareness Network convention in the USA last year I
could see the benefit of having a co-operation between the Christian,
Jewish and secular community here in dealing with the cults and occult.
I have since been contacted by the Jewish community with that in view.
The secular community (medical and legal) are also interested in
of Mrs Groenveld's fellow "cult busters", Melbourne private
investigator David Lentin, admitted in an interview with New Idea,
"We have to resort to kidnapping to get people out. And it is a very
long and difficult process to deprogram them."
"cult expert" is Dr. Rachel Kohn of Sydney University's School of
Studies in Religion and producer of ABC Radio National's religion
to the newsletter Christian Jewish Scene, "Dr. Kohn's
interest in the interaction between social, political and religious
issues extends beyond the academic arena. She was among the pioneers
who established the Anti-Defamation Unit within the Jewish community
organisation B'nai B'rith."
Anti-Defamation Commission of B'nai B'rith (ADC) is connected to the
U.S. based Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith (ADL). A recently
released special report titled Is The Anti-Defamation Commission
Spying On You says, "The ADC in Australia is modelled on, and
closely linked to, the US's Anti-Defamation League, which is now facing
criminal prosecution on 48 felony counts, including illegal access to
police computers, spying and theft."
New York newspaper Village Voice has called the ADL's
criminal spying "a massive violation of civil liberties," and has
termed the ADL the "Jewish thought police." While former U.S.
congressman Paul McCloskey has initiated legal action against the ADL
for domestic spying activities against private citizens.
Anti-Defamation League has a long history of working closely with the
Cult Awareness Network. Both the ADL and CAN co-operated in providing
U.S. authorities with sensational and distorted intelligence gathered
on the Branch Davidians. This disinformation ultimately prompted the
murderous assault on the Waco religious community.
doubt, with the help of her new found friends, Mrs Groenveld went on to
found the "Cult Awareness & Information Centre - Australia".
Currently she is organising a week-long conference on "cult busting" at
Queensland University from September 22.
speaker at the conference is American psychologist, Steven Hassan, who
like Rick Ross, is a deprogrammer active with the Cult Awareness
Network. Hassan is the author of one of CAN's central texts, Combating
Cult Mind Control.
speakers will include Australian "cult experts" and "exit counsellors".
conference promotional literature, Mrs Groenveld states that
psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, lawyers, Barristers,
media representatives and medical practitioners are just a few of the
people who can "benefit" from the get-together with professional
deprogrammer Steven Hassan.
Brisbane conference is a public relations exercise designed to firmly
establish "Cult Aware" networks in Australia. Part of a carefully
planned strategy to indoctrinate government agencies, the media, church
leaders, community workers and opinion makers with disinformation about
alternative religious movements.
of religion is under threat in Australia. Unless action is taken to
expose this anti-religion movement, Australia will see an increase in
vicious deprogrammings and assaults on minority religious groups. We
cannot allow Australia's "cult busters" to unleash an army of Rick Ross
hate criminals on peaceful, law abiding citizens.