From braintree!news.sprintlink.net!in1.uu.net!EU.net!sun4nl!xs4all!utopia.hacktic.nl!not-for-mail Wed Sep 27 15:56:47 1995
From: nobody@REPLAY.COM (Anonymous)
Subject: Big Suprise
Date: 25 Sep 1995 17:10:15 +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
'Deprogrammer' taken to court; Bellevue man claims kidnap, coercion
Thursday September 21, 1995
By Thomas W. Haines
A federal court trial starting today hinges on five days and nights
in 1991, when Jason Scott was forcibly taken from his mother's
Bellevue home to the Washington coast for religious
Scott claims deprogrammer Rick Ross and others held him in a room,
subjecting him "to a nearly constant barrage of verbal abuse
intended to force Scott to renounce his faith," according to court
Scott is suing Ross, three associates, and the Cult Awareness
Network, an organization that Scott's mother, Kathy Tonkin,
contacted when she became concerned about his membership in
Bellevue's Life Tabernacle Church, affiliated with the United
But the issues at stake, say the parties involved, go far beyond
the scope of a small Bellevue church and the tactics one mother
used with her oldest son.
The case has become the latest to debate the role of religious
deprogramming, which often involves holding people against their
will while trying to convince them to disavow their religious
The players in this trial are familiar adversaries. On one side is
Scott's attorney, Kendrick Moxon, long-time legal counsel to the
Church of Scientology, who has litigated several cases against the
Cult Awareness Network. Scott's legal connection to the Church of
Scientology is unclear.
Moxon and a spokeswoman for the Church of Scientology say the Cult
Awareness Network, and deprogrammers like Ross, kidnap people in
religious groups and force them to quit.
"I admire Jason's tenacity, because he's not prepared to just let
them get away with it," says Leisa Goodman, Scientology
spokeswoman. "We support him because he's prepared to make a
But Cult Awareness Network (CAN) leaders say Scott's lawsuit is
simply the latest in a legal campaign backed by the Church of
Scientology to bankrupt CAN and people involved in deprogramming.
Ross, who points to his involvement in several high-profile cases
and appearance on national television talk shows, says the lawsuit
is an attempt by the Church of Scientology to silence his efforts.
"This isn't about Jason Scott," Ross says. "This isn't about his
civil rights. They recruited him to harass me."
Tonkin, who started attending the Bellevue church in 1989, decided
to leave after about two years of strongly following its religious
teachings. Scott, who was 18, and two other brothers wanted to
Questioning the motives of the church and fearing that her sons had
become too involved, Tonkin called the Cult Awareness Network for
information and advice. She then hired Ross.
Two of the sons were deprogrammed in a family house. Jason Scott
went to police after his deprogramming.
Ross and others who took Scott to Ocean Shores were arrested and
charged with unlawful imprisonment by the Grays Harbor County
prosecutor's office. Mark Workman and Charles Rotroff pleaded
guilty to a lesser charge of coercion, said Joe Wheeler, a Grays
Harbor County prosecutor. Ross was acquitted after a jury trial in
January 1994. Scott filed the civil lawsuit in federal court the
Specifically, the jury will decide whether the defendants violated
Scott's civil rights, including the right "to practice and believe
in the religion of his choice . . . free from force, violence,
threats, retaliation or intimidation."
The trial is being held in Judge John Coughenour's court in