From braintree!news.sprintlink.net!in1.uu.net!EU.net!sun4nl!xs4all!utopia.hacktic.nl!not-for-mail Wed Sep 27 15:56:46 1995
From: nobody@REPLAY.COM (Anonymous)
Subject: Big Suprise
Date: 25 Sep 1995 17:07:56 +0100
Organization: RePLaY aND CoMPaNY UnLimited
XComm: Replay may or may not approve of the content of this posting
XComm: Report misuse of this automated service to
Sect member testifies in 'cult' lawsuit
Friday, September 22, 1995
By Steven Goldsmith
In a lawsuit to stop deprogrammers from trampling on religious sect
members' rights, a Bellevue man yesterday told a federal jury that
four men "ambushed" him to get him to quit his fundamentalist
Jason Scott is suing the Cult Awareness Network and the four
deprogrammers hired by Scott's mother for unspecified damages.
The mother was trying to get Scott - then 18 - to leave the New
Life Tabernacle Church, a member of the United Pentecostal
The attempt failed, and a U.S. District Court jury in Seattle is
being asked to decide whether the anti-cult group, deprogrammer
Rick Ross, and his associates violated Scott's freedom of worship.
"His civil rights were not violated because of his race but because
of his religious beliefs," Scott's lawyer, Kendrick Moxon, told
jurors and Judge John Coughenour.
The Cult Awareness Network is a nonprofit information group based
In addition to saying the network violated his rights, Scott, now
23, also accuses the group of negligence in having referred Scott's
mother to Ross, a nationally known deprogrammer.
Ross, an Arizonan, advised the FBI during the Branch Davidian siege
in Waco, Texas.
Scott's attorney, Moxon, also is a lawyer for the Church of
Scientology, a controversial sect that vigorously challenges
anti-cult forces such as the Cult Awareness Network.
This is the first time, though, anyone has accused the Cult
Awareness Network of negligence in civil court, Moxon said.
Ross' lawyer, Elizabeth Turner Smith, painted for jurors a benign
view of deprogramming, also known as exit counseling.
"Deprogramming," she said, "is simply providing somebody with
information they wouldn't otherwise be able to obtain."
The basic events already were hashed over in a criminal trial last
year in Grays Harbor County in which jurors acquitted Ross of
unlawfully imprisoning Scott.
Both sides agree that Ross and his associates drove Scott from his
mother's home in Kirkland in January 1991 and were with him in a
house in Ocean Shores on the Washington coast for five days.
Scott's mother, Kathy Tonkin, had hired Ross to deprogram her son
because she thought he had been brainwashed by the pastor and
leaders of the New Life Tabernacle Church.
Ross and the three associates - also Arizonans - now stand accused
in the federal civil case.
Two of the defendants, Mark Workman and Charles Simpson, had
pleaded guilty in the criminal case to reduced charges of coercion
and had served brief jail terms. Clark Rotroff had testified for
the prosecution and was not charged in the criminal case.
Coughenour yesterday questioned potential jurors about their
feelings toward fundamentalist churches before a six-woman, two-man
panel was picked.
In his opening statement, Moxon portrayed Scott as the product of
an unstable family with an alcoholic stepfather who had found
contentment only after discovering the New Life Tabernacle Church.
Scott's mother, Moxon said, had introduced Scott and his two
brothers into the church, but then insisted they leave after a
church member rebuffed her romantic advances.
Moxon told the jury that on Jan. 18, 1991, Scott was held captive
in a locked and guarded room during the failed deprogramming.
The deprogrammer's lawyer painted it differently, saying that Scott
was well-fed and cared for in a spacious house while Ross tried to
offer him information.
In contacting Ross, Kathy Tonkin was simply "a mother seeking to do
what's best for her children," Smith said in her opening statement.
Ross' role was limited to counseling and providing information, his
lawyer said. But since Scott was a strapping 6 feet 4, it made
sense to bring along the others for security.
"Mr. Ross had no physical contact with Mr. Scott," Smith said. "He
did what he was intended to do - provide information."
Defending the Cult Awareness Network, Mary Steele of the Seattle
law firm of Davis, Wright, Tremaine said none of the network's
employees or leaders knew Scott's intervention was taking place.
Moxon said a Bothell-area Cult Awareness Network member told the
mother about Ross, but never made a formal referral by the network.
Scott's mother may follow him to the witness stand, though for the
defense. The trial is expected to last about two weeks.