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Subject: (fwd) CAN Press Release
Date: 20 Oct 1995 02:51:59 +0100
Organization: RePLaY aND CoMPaNY UnLimited
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Date: October 19, 1995
Contact: Cynthia Kisser/312-267-7777
Non-profit forced to bankruptcy while seeking reversal of civil case
The Cult Awareness Network (CAN) announced today that it
has filed for protection under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code
following a jury verdict against it of $1,087,500, including one
million dollars in punitive damages.
CAN's president, William Rehling of Chicago, stated "We are
confident this verdict will be overturned. If necessary, CAN will
appeal the verdict to the 9th Circuit in San Francisco.
CAN filed a motion in the trial court following the verdict
asking that the judgement be set aside or that a new trial be
allowed CAN. However, Judge John Coughenour of the United States
District Court in Seattle refused to stay collection of the
judgement against CAN, and does not plan to rule on the motion
for judgement until late October or early November.
The plaintiff in the case, Jason Scott, has already moved to
collect his judgement in Illinois, where CAN's national office is
located. Because Judge Coughenour has denied CAN a legal remedy for
relief while its motion is pending before him, CAN had to seek
the protection of bankruptcy court.
The verdict was handed down last month in a case which named
CAN and other defendants. The case charged that in 1991 one of
CAN's volunteers in the state of Washington referred a mother to
two counselors or deprogrammers. The mother asked for help to
counsel two minor sons involved in a religious group which the
mother had left. The mother alleged sexual molestation of one minor
son by the church youth leader. The mother hired one of the two
deprogrammers, Rick Ross, to counsel the sons. The mother later
hired Ross a second time, without the CAN volunteer's knowledge, to
arrange to abduct her l8-year-old son and counsel him. The son was
represented by Kendrick Moron of the Church of Scientology.
Scientology, a long-time adversary of CAN, has orchestrated
over forty unsuccessful lawsuits against CAN in the past three years.
CAN is a national, non-profit organization that handles over
20,000 inquiries a year from the public on cult related issues. It
operates on an annual budget of less than $350,000 a year. CAN
opposes kidnapping or other illegal measures to deprogram adult cult
CAN's annual conference presents experts from a variety of
fields, including psychology and psychiatry, law, religion and other
fields, as well as panels of former cult members and their
families. This year's conference will be held November 3, 4 and 5
in White Plains, New York at the Crowne Plaza Hotel.
Rehling emphasized, "It is important that CAN pursue every
legal avenue to have this case re-evaluated. If this judgement
stands, then every organization that relies on volunteers could be
punished or destroyed in a similar manner because of well-intending
acts by volunteers."
Cult Awareness Network, 2421 W. Pratt Blvd., #1173, Chicago, IL 60645