The Court Battles with Cult Groups

Cults Inside Out, written by American cult expert Rick Alan Ross, is recommended by many main-stream media, and also well received by other cult experts, scholars and professionals in press and legal circles. In 2005, Mr. Rick Alan Ross accepted the interview with Ms Mindy Bond, who was an editor, writer and journalist from Gothamist.com. In order to broaden our readers’ horizons and enrich their knowledge of the western counter-cult movement, Kaiwind.com (aka Facts.org.cn) has translated the interview record into Chinese. The interview record has been divided into seven parts, and Kaiwind.com added a subheading for every part in view of its relatively independent topic.

In this Part Six, Mr. Rick Alan Ross introduces his court battles with some cult groups, esp. NXIVM and Scientology in Jason Scott case.

Cults Inside Out, written by American cult expert Rick Alan Ross, is recommended by many main-stream media, and also well received by other cult experts, scholars and professionals in press and legal circles. In 2005, Mr. Rick Alan Ross accepted the interview with Ms Mindy Bond, who was an editor, writer and journalist from Gothamist.com. In order to broaden our readers’ horizons and enrich their knowledge of the western counter-cult movement, Kaiwind.com (aka Facts.org.cn) has translated the interview record into Chinese. The interview record has been divided into seven parts, and Kaiwind.com added a subheading for every part in view of its relatively independent topic.   

You’ve been involved in a few court cases as a result of your work. Can you give some examples of cases where you came out victorious?

Since 1995, I have been sued for slander/libel five times by various groups or organizations. Four of those lawsuits were dismissed without ever going to trial. The last one still remaining involves an Albany, New York based group called NXIVM and is still pending. But a federal judge rejected NXIVM’s request for an injunction to remove material from the Ross Institute database and that decision was upheld all the way to the Supreme Court. The case has helped to set limits on copyright claims vs. the right to quote material in a critical review, even if that material is supposedly covered by a confidentiality agreement. Douglas Brooks, a Massachusetts attorney, and Tom Gleason, an Albany lawyer, represent me pro bono. And a Washington D.C. organization, Public Citizen, helped on the brief before the Supreme Court.

But my sweetest court victory to date came just recently regarding a lawsuit filed by Landmark Education for $1 million dollars claiming “product disparagement.” Landmark actually has moved to dismiss its own lawsuit with prejudice (meaning it cannot be filed again) rather than face discovery. Peter Skolnik of the New Jersey law firm Lowenstein Sandler represents me pro bono.   

Any cases where you came out on the losing end?

Without a doubt the Jason Scott case was initially a devastating court defeat. In the case, a young man was manipulated by Scientology attorneys in a lawsuit against me over a failed involuntary deprogramming that took place in 1990. In 1995, I was cleared of any criminal wrongdoing, but Scott won an almost $3 million dollar civil judgment against me, which quickly led to personal bankruptcy. However, about a year later, Jason reconciled with his mother, the person who had hired me to deprogram him, and settled the judgment largely for more of my consultation time and $5,000.00. He told the Washington Post and CBS “60 Minutes” that Scientology had “used” him in a war against its perceived enemies.   

Is that why you no longer do involuntary interventions?

I cannot afford to go through another Scott case, though I remain deeply sympathetic to the families that find themselves in similar situations. I restrict myself to voluntary interventions, unless working with a minor child under the direct supervision of a custodial parent.   

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