APne 09/01 0047 Colorado Cults WH OMAHA, Neb. (AP) -- An Omaha private detective who expe
APne 09/01 0047 Colorado Cults WH
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) -- An Omaha private detective who expects to
be indicted by a Colorado grand jury for the alleged kidnapping
of a religious cult member called Colorado a haven for religious
Dennis Whalen said on Monday that Denver authorities have
helped make Colorado that way by vigorously prosectuing people
who try to help cult victims.
Whelan, the subject of a grand jury investigation for the
alleged kidnapping of a Unification Church member in Denver, said
he can think of no other reason why about 15 of the largest cults
in the United States are based in Denver.
"I don't know why one big city in the Midwest has such a big
concentration of cults unless they feel safer there," Whelan said
at a news conference organized by an organization calling itself
the Cult Rescue Defense Committee.
Committee members said they said they hope to raise money to
pay for the legal defense of Whelan and others who may be
indicted in the alleged May 26 kidnapping of Britta Adolfsson, a
29-year-old Unification Church member.
Whelan, 52, said the Unification Church is a religious cult.
Church members are sometimes called "Moonies," after their
leader, the Rev. Sun Myung Moon of South Korea.
Whelan said he expects to be indicted with five other Omahans
for their roles in what they call the rescue of Ms. Adolfsson.
The five, who attended the press conference with Whelan, are
James Hilzendeger, his son-in-law; Lawrence "Mick" Whelan, his
son; Pat Kinney; Judy Kowal, and Jay Hinchman.
A day after the alleged kidnapping, Denver authorities
arrested Whelan and Hilzendeger and charged them with
second-degree kidnapping, conspiracy to commit second-degree
kidnapping and false imprisonment. Charges against both were
dismissed when the case was submitted to the grand jury.
Norm Early, Denver County district attorney, told the Omaha
World-Herald in a telephone interview that cult members move to
Colorado for the same reasons many other people do -- quality of
life and scenic beauty. He also said his office would not
tolerate kidnappings in Denver.
"We are not going to have people being kidnapped from the
streets of Denver ... for the pecuniary gain of Mr. Whelan or
anyone else," Early said.
He said the grand jury probably won't complete its
investigation until mid-September.
E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank