The Cornerstone of Liberty

The Cornerstone of Liberty

Freedom’s thorough coverage of the unlawful deprogramming industry and its nexus, the former Cult Awareness Network, included two special reports in the mid-1990s.

Crime and Prejudice

      The duplicity of CAN’s president was only the tip of the iceberg. Through its investigations, Freedom found criminality of nearly epidemic proportions amongst members of the Cult Awareness Network and made these facts known to the officials, news media and the public CAN pretended to serve. Virtually a lone voice in protesting and publishing the sordid facts, Freedom helped to bring a number of these individuals to justice.

      In some cases, slow recognition and action by authorities against those in CAN who practiced such deception led to tragic consequences. There was Rick Ross, a deprogrammer highly recommended and praised by CAN, who constructed his own facade of “cult expert” for officials and media. In fact, Ross specialized in deprogrammings of Christians. His vitriolic and blatant fabrications about various religions helped fuel a climate of suspicion and fear against many minority religious groups about whom he knew nothing.

      A Freedom investigation revealed that Ross had a rap sheet with at least three arrests and a felony conviction for conspiracy to commit grand theft. A psychological profile in those criminal records concluded he had little or no concept of the consequences of his actions to others or to society.

      The truth about Ross did not become widely recognized soon enough to prevent the United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) from “consulting” him during the days of the stand-off with the Branch Davidians in Waco, Texas. Ross promoted the notion that the Davidians would probably not come out willingly and that measures would have to be taken to force them out. That advice contributed to an American tragedy.

      Freedom also examined the broader aspect of CAN’s influence on events at Waco which led, ultimately, to more than 80 men, women and children losing their lives. The unequivocal evidence helped lead such noted scholars as Professor Nancy T. Ammerman, then on a special project at Princeton University, to conclude in a September 1993 report to the Justice and Treasury Departments that “The Network [CAN] and Mr. Ross have a direct ideological (and financial) interest in arousing suspicion and antagonism against what they call ‘cults’”.

The Cornerstone for Liberty continued ...

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