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Exposing The Criminal Clique Called "CAN"
# Excerpt from FREEDOM Magazine, Volume 24, Issue 1, October 1991.
FREEDOM Magazine is published by the Church of Scientology International
since 1968.

FREEDOM Magazine
6331 Hollywood Blvd., Suite 1200
Los Angeles, CA 90028-6329 #

Disclosures of criminality and perversions
rock anti-religious hate group.

A series of shocking revelations of criminality and bizarre misconduct have
shattered the sanctimonious facade of the anti-religious hate group, the Cult
Awareness Network, known as CAN.
The latest disclosure is thatRichard Ross a "deprogrammer" under
investigation in Washington State for unlawful imprisonment pleaded guilty
in 1975 to charges of stealing $100,000 in diamonds and jewelry from a
Phoenix, Arizona, department store.
The criminal Ross has been singled out for effusive praise by Cynthia
Kisser, executive director of CAN.
"His name is among the half-dozen best deprogrammers in the country,"
Kisser said, while denyingcharges from national religious leaders that her
group is little more than a clearinghouse for kidnappers who look to profit
handsomely from breaking the religious beliefs of American citizens.
The revelation of Ross' criminal past placed him in the ranks of others of
criminal or perverse distinction in the Cult Awareness Network, such as the
* Ted Patrick, a three-time convicted felon and notoriousdeprogrammer,
who is up on new charges in Washington State for unlawful imprisonment;
* Michael Rokos, who resigned as president of CAN in October 1990 after
his sordid criminal background was exposed. In late 1990, it had been
revealed that Rokos had accepted probation before judgment for attempting to
get an undercover policeman to perform a perverse homosexual act entailing
bondage, humiliation and an unusual form of masochism;
* Deprogrammer Cliff Daniels, recently featured in CAN's newsletter and
known to be a violent deprogrammer, who was arraigned on kidnapping charges
in Missisippi on May 9;
* Psychiatrist Louis Jolyon West, a hate-filled enemy of religious freedom,
who has promoted stereotypes and misinformation about African Americans,
Native Americans, and other racial and ethnic groups. West, a long-time
experimenter with mind control drugs, is best known for having killed a bull
elephant with an overdose of LSD;
* Psychologist Margaret Singer, whose "thought reform" theories, used by
CAN deprogrammers to justify their kidnappings, have been thrown out of court
three times in a row by judges. The judges found that her theories had no
significant backing in the scientific community, upsetting her highly
profitable "hired gun" business of testifying against religions;
* Deprogrammer Steve Hassan, CAN's current apologist for Singer's
discredited theories, who once kept a victim tied up for three days while he
tried unsuccessfully to force the victim to renounce his religious beliefs.
Another victim of Hassan's was locked in a room for three days under guard and
not allowed to use the restroom alone, and a third victim was gagged and
dragged from her hotel room;
* Priscilla Coates, head of the Los Angeles CAN chapter, who on a radio
show in July admitted to having had a person held at her house against his
will to be deprogrammed. On the same show, she blurted out that all CAN
members were actually deprogrammers; and:
* Mary Weeks, Advisory Board member to CAN's Northwest affiliate who
pleaded guilty in 1986 to criminal charges stemming from a kidnapping and
unsuccessful deprogramming attempt.

   * Recent Additions to the
CAN Rogues' Gallery

   Drawn by the smell of money from deprogrammings, new adherents have been
attracted to CAN who fit in well with its godless mix of fringe professionals
and kidnappers for profit.
One of these, Hana Whitfield, left South Africa and, according to a
relative, changed her name after her brother stabbed and battered their father
to death. Hana herself had earlier arranged to be in a hotel room alone with
her father and went so far as to raise a gun behind him to kill him, but could
not go through with the murder, her ex husband said. Her brother later did.
Whitfield admits to taking the deadly psychiatric drug Prozac, known to make
people more violent and suicidal. She charges $1,500 a day for deprogrammings,
plus expenses.
Her husband, Jerry Whitfield, who failed in an attempt to take over and
seize the assets of a drug rehabilitation group that had gotten him off drugs,
works with Hana.
Jerry Whitfield, an alleged former drug dealer, is reported by relatives to
be a wife and child beater. He and his wife are the subject of a criminal
complaint which is under investigation by the state of California for
counseling without a license.
Sharp disputes over territory have broken out in the deprogramming ranks
between the Whitfields, Steve Hassan, and Dennis Erlich, another newcomer to
CAN's ranks, who brings with him a history of petty thefts and family abuse.
CAN members have shown that they will kidnap and attempt to destroy the
faith of anyone as long as the price is right. The long list of religions
targeted by CAN deprogrammers includes the catholic Church, the Episcopal
Church, the Church of Scientology, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day
Saints (Mormons), the Greek Orthodox Church, Seventh-day Adventists, Baptists
and many independent Christian denominations.

* Assaults Against
Christian Denominations

   Deprogramming is a form of brainwashing which uses kidnapping, forcible
restraint, assault, battery and even rape in an effort to get an individual to
recant his or her chosen beliefs.
Ross, who has carried out violent assaults, majorly against Christian
denominations, is known to charge up to $20,000 for a single kidnapping and
faith-breaking attempt.
His victims have routinely been held hostage against their will and
brutally intimidated in attempts to force them to recant their chosen
religious beliefs.

 * Opportunist

   Following his 1975 arrest, Ross admitted that he and his accomplice, who
worked at the store, had planned the heist for three weeks.
At the time he was taken into custody, Ross was already on probation
following two prior arrests, one for conspiracy to commit burglary in April
1975 and one for attempted robbery in December 1974.
Prior to being sentenced, Ross was given a psychiatric evaluation which
noted, "The most significant aspect of Rick's past history is that he is an
opportunist. When he gets caught doing something that he should not do or
something that is a little shady, his characteristic response is, 'It's pretty
disgusting the way they make such a big deal about things.'"
The examining doctor noted that Ross' psychological problems were serious
enough to have led him to make a "quite serious suicide attempt."
A letter to the judge from Ross' attorney acknowledged Ross' "record of
anti-social, criminal conduct," but asked that the sentencing take into
consideration his "clear background of serious psychological and emotional
Despite the seriousness of the crime, the Phoenix robbery proved to be far
from the end of Ross' criminal activities. The man described as "an
opportunist" found another outlet for deprogrammmg .
Ross has been accused of kid- napping a young Seattle man, Jason Scott, who
was held hostage during a violent "deprogramming" by Ross and several
associates in March 1990.
Scott told authorities that after he had been abducted, he was held in
handcuffs with his mouth taped shut.
Later, he was kept handcuffed to a bed and held against his will for five days.
During that time, four men, including Ross, continuously harassed and insulted
Scott, denigrating his religious beliefs for 10 to 14 hours a day.
Scott eventually escaped his captors and  reported the assault to the
authorities. Seattle police found barred windows, handcuffs and varions other
restraints at the condominium where Ross had carried out the attempted faith

* Praised by Hate Group

   Despite Ross' past and present criminal activities, members of the Cult
Awareness Network continue to praise him.
"Rick has cooperated extensively with the national office of this
organization," said Reg Alev, a director of one of CAN's affiliates. "We
recommend him highly."
The head of CAN's Los Angeles atfiliate lauded him. "Rick has helped me
with all kinds of questions, situations and problems," she said.
Ross, who has boasted of having participated in more than 100 deprogramming
assaults, is not the first CAN member to have been convicted on criminal
In October 1990, then CAN president Michael Rokos resigned his position
amid a storm of publicity that exposed his previously hidden criminal record.
Rokos had served on CAN's national board ol directors for four years and had
been an active member of the Baltimore CAN affiliate before being elected
national president in October 1989.
Rokos stepped down following news reports describing his 1982 arrest by an
undercover Maryland State Police vice squad officer.
The press accounts revealed that in July 1982, Rokos had attempted to
induce the undercover policeman to perform a perverse homosexual favor.
When caught, Rokos resisted arrest by attempting to forcibly expel the
arresting officer from his vehicle.

* Convicted Felon

   CAN's first and premier deprogrammer is Ted Patrick, the notorious "father
of deprogramming," who was also instrumental in founding the organization.
In his 1976 book, Let Our Children Go, Patrick described his brand of
violent assault and faith breaking: "[D]eprogramming is the term, and it may
be said to involve kidnapping at the very least, quite often assault and
battery and almost invariably conspiracy to commit a crime, and illegal
In June 1974, Patrick was sentenced to a year in jail for false
imprisonment (suspended on parole). A year later, he spent 60 days in jail on
the same charge. From 1976 onward, he was further convicted or charged with
kidnapping, conspiracy, abduction and sexual battery. Patrick was later barred
trom entering Canada after an attempted deprogramming assault on a Catholic
nun. Patrick has continued to be an honored guest at CAN conventions.

 * Topless Dancer

   Cynthia Kisser, executive director of CAN since June 1987, has been another
long-time advocate of forcible restraint and assault conducted under the guise
of "deprogramming."
Despite a glowing description of Kisser' s background in the CAN newsletter
announcing her appointment, it was recently revealed that in 1975, Kisser
reportedly worked as a topless dancer at the Blue Note Lounge in Tucson,
Arizona. She was fired after allegedly harassing the customers. Denied her
previous vocation, she overnight became an expert on religion so she could put
her harassive techniques to use on parishioners.
Further data on her lack of qualifications came out under cross-examination
in a court case, when Kisser revealed that her actual studies of religion that
would qualify her as an expert consisted of a three-hour course at college in
World Religion.
Kisser has few qualms about her open support of deprogamming-for-hire.
In 1978, she deprogrammed her own sister, then went on to conduct other
In a July 25, 1988, letter, Kisser noted that at one time CAN's national
board had formed an "ethics committee" for deprogrammers. The committee,
however, was later disbanded "because of potential liability problems that
could arise for CAN" on advice of CAN's lawyer.
Those liabilities presumably stem from the fact that Kisser and other
CAN members have continued to support deprogrammers like Richard Ross.
Attempts to hide connections to criminal activities did not keep CAN and
Cynthia Kisser from being named as defendants in a $72 million suit involving
an illegal videotaping of a woman being harassed and abused concerning her
religious beliefs.

 * CAN is Hiding
Under a Tax-Exempt Cloak

   Kisser and other CAN members profess no faith of their own they simply
object to other people freely practicing their own beliefs. Their "experts"
are repudiated psychiatrists and psychologists whose hatred for any form of
religion is undisguised.
Kisser has been a vocal mouthpiece for Eli Lilly, manufacturer of the
controversial and destructive psychiatric drug Prozac.
CAN President Pat Ryan, who has engendered sympathy from the death of her
father, former Congressman Leo Ryan, is a lobbyist for the National
Association of Private Psychiatric Hospitals. Her profession is note-worthy as
deprogrammers have been reported to work hand in glove with psychiatrists to
commit and drug victims who prove recalcitrant in giving up their religious
According to one report, Rick Ross, during a recent deprogramming in Yuma,
Arizona, boasted that he and others were working to get the ability to use
electric shock therapy in order to handle "resistive cases." Shock therapy is
a controversial and destructive psychiatric depersonalizing technique given
almost exclusively at private psychiatric hospitals. It is noteworthy that the
use of electric shock for the purposes Rick Ross and his CAN supporters
propose, is exactly that used by Russian psychiatric hospitals in Siberia to
cure "resistive cases" of non-communists.
CAN's flagrant abuses have brought mounting questions regarding how such a
group, whose members want only violate constitutional rights, can enjoy
tax-exempt status. Indeed, CAN won its tax-exempt status at the high point of
violent deprogrammings done in its name, cloaking its activities under the
mantle of "education."
The IRS initially rejected CAN's tax-exempt status as its presentation of
data was not sufficiently balanced.
Yet, a short time later, while CAN's deprogramming members were in and out of
the headlines for arrests on kidnapping and assault and battery charges, the
IRS gave this hate group status as a tax-exempt organization.
CAN's involvement with violent and illegal deprogrammings has continued
unabated into the present.

* Working for the IRS

   Its ravored status can be traced to its willingness to target and attempt
to destroy groups the IRS is targcting. Cynthia Kisser boasted on radio that
the IRS has come to her for information on religions that the IRS was
While the full extent ot CAN's stool pigeon status for the IRS is not known,
documentation exists of at least one IRS request for information to help it in
its attacks on targeted religions.
These abuses have moved several members of Congress to write to the IRS,
questioning why CAN is allowed to enjoy tax-tree dollars to operate as a
clearinghouse for deprogramming.
In one recent letter, a congressman specifically asked the IRS to respond
to the charges that CAN "is in violation of its tax-exempt status because it
is still practicing deprogramming activities against other religious
organizations" and "the IRS has condoned this activity through . . . its
refusal to deny them tax exemption, though it is clearly improper."
CAN's tactics are reminiscent ot those of the Nazis during World War II.
Its leaders justify their atrocities and violations of the Constitution with
the same type of propaganda employed by the Nazis.
So why would the IRS give tax exemption to a hate group that is so
obviously violating the First Amendment to the Constitution? Is this an
indication that Adolf Hitler and his Holocaust hit men would have enjoyed tax
exemption were they around today? IRS officials have no excuse unless they
didn't know. Well, they do now and just as the Holocaust collaborators who
tried to escape responsibility at Nuremberg were hung, so should the IRS be
held accountahle. It is time the IRS stopped playing God. Many before, far
more intelligent than the current batch of IRS religion haters, have tried -
and the result has always been the same.
The IRS should learn from the past and cease being the self-appointed arbiters
of religion which our forefathers recognized as government tyranny.

* CAN Faith-breaking Decried

   CAN has attempted to establish itself as a clearinghouse for other groups
and organizations involved in deprogramming. Tantamount to making itself
little more than a school for international terrorism, CAN has conducted
"joint education programs" for anti-religion groups in Spain, Germany, and the
United Kingdom.
Members of the group have been actively involved in numerous deprogramming
attempts outside the United States.
Deprogrammers in Europe, such as Martin Faiers, have run into stiff
opposition; Faiers was sent to jail in Switzerland after a violent
deprogramming attempt.

   CAN's deceptive, illegal prac- tices, hate crimes and rabid anti- religious
campaigns have been decried by religious leaders across the country.
"Forcible deprogramming is the most serious stain on religious liberty
facing this country in the latter half of the 20th century," said the Rev.
Dean M. Kelley, counselor on religious liberty for the National Council of
Dr. Leo Champion, pasitor of the Missionary Baptist Church in Milwaukee,
has described CAN's activities as "illegal and immoral. It's that out law
enforcement agencies put a stop to this."
One of the most outspoken critics of CAN has been Dr. George Robertson,
executive vice-president of Friends of Freedom, an organization formed in 1987
after clergy of various denominations began expressing a growing concern about
CAN's activities, especially the group's increasing number of assaults against
Christian faiths.
Describing Richard Ross as CAN's "number one deprogrammer," Robertson added
that Ross "is one of three major deprogrammers in the country who specializes
in attacking members of Christian faiths. That is despicable. No one has the
right to try to forcefully deprogram anyone from his or her chosen faith.''
Noting that Ross is facing possible charges in connection with the Seattle
abduction of Jason Scott, Robertson said, "We are going to see him put in jail."
(This file was found elsewhere on the Internet and uploaded to the
Radio Free Michigan site by the archive maintainer.