By Edward Parkin
International Director of STAND [Scientologists Taking Action Against Discrimination]
I read your recent article lauding Rick Ross as an authority and forwarding the “Cult Awareness Network, or CAN, was sued into bankruptcy by Scientology” misinformation.
The truth is that Ross, Cult Awareness Network and their co-conspirators were found guilty by a District Court jury of conducting involuntary deprogramming.
Involuntary deprogramming was CAN’s undoing. In January of 1994, Jason Scott filed suit against the Cult Awareness Network (CAN), deprogrammer Rick Ross and others as a result of their forcible abduction and attempted involuntary deprogramming of Scott from his religion, the Pentecostal Church.
The case was tried in the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington in Seattle. The jury found in favor of Scott and awarded him compensatory damages of $875,000, punitive damages of $1,000,000 against CAN, and punitive damages of $2,500,000 against Ross and the other deprogrammers. CAN and Ross sought a new trial. In denying the motions for a new trial on November 29, 1995, Judge John C. Coughenour wrote the following concerning practice of CAN representatives of referring people to deprogrammers:
“[T]estimony also established that Ms. Landa, acting in accordance with CAN’s practices, disseminated inflammatory information on cults and referred Ms. Tonkin to a known “involuntary deprogrammer.”
On April 8, 1998, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed a jury’s decision inScott v. CAN. The Court specifically held the following:
”The evidence indicates that it was CAN’s practice to refer people to deprogrammers, including Rick Ross, and that Ross was known to engage in involuntary deprogramming.”
Ross obviously tries to spin the facts to conceal his guilt, but it was his own acts of forcibly trying to deprogram (brainwash) another that led to CAN’s ultimate demise.
It is important that you have the facts so that you can correct your article and cease disseminating false information in the future.