Archive Message - 1995

From braintree!!!!sun4nl!xs4all!!not-for-mail Wed Sep 27 15:56:46 1995 Path: braintree!!!!sun4nl!xs4all!!not-for-mail From: nobody@REPLAY.COM (Anonymous) Newsgroups: alt.religion.scientology Subject: Big Suprise Date: 25 Sep 1995 17:07:56 +0100 Organization: RePLaY aND CoMPaNY UnLimited Lines: 106 Sender: Message-ID: <446k4s$> NNTP-Posting-Host: Content-Type: text Content-Length: 4436 XComm: Replay may or may not approve of the content of this posting XComm: Report misuse of this automated service to <postmaster@REPLAY.COM> Sect member testifies in 'cult' lawsuit Seattle Post-Intelligencer 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 church. 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 Churches. 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 Chicago. 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.


Return to The Skeptic Tank Alt.Religion.Scientology Archives Master List
Go to The Skeptic Tank's main Index page.
E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank