New Dawn #21, Sep/Oct 1993, p11-12
Ross and his accomplices, Mark Workman and Charles Simpson, were charged in July with unlawful imprisonment in the abduction of Jason Scott. If convicted they face a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison. The charges against the three were the most recent in a string of legal actions brought against deprogrammers by U.S. law enforcement officials.
According to police reports, Ross, of Phoenix, Arizona, and his accomplices violently abducted the teenager from the Seattle suburb of Kirkland on January 18, 1991, handcuffed and gagged him and drove him to Ocean Shores and held him prisoner to 'deprogram' him from his Church. Scott is involved with the Life Tabernacle Church, a Pentecostal Christian fellowship.
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.
During the abduction, according to a police report, the victim was bound and gagged with heavy-duty tape and handcuffed so tightly his wrists became bruised and swollen, and an ankle restraint was attached to him so he could not walk.
Scott stated that Ross "ridiculed me about me Church, my pastor, our worship ... the Bible, our salvation, our baptism ... me and my self worth. He degraded me ... and tore apart everything that I was and stood for." Scott also said that for 10 to 14 hours a day the men used videotapes and insults until he broke down and cried.
Scott escaped after five days because he pretended to go along with the deprogrammers. In his statement to Ocean Shore police, he told of being threatened by Ross, who said, "If you give me trouble I'll cuff you to the bed frame." Scott said that for four days he did not leave the room where he was imprisoned.
Ross's background of personality disorder and crime is extensively documented in court and psychiatric reports.
His arrest record stretches back to 1975, when he was convicted of grand theft embezzlement for stealing $100,000 worth of diamonds from a Phoenix department store. He was on probation at the time for an attempted break-in.
At his sentencing his own lawyer pointed out Ross's "record of anti-social, criminal conduct, and even his earlier failure at probation" and cited his "clear background of serious psychological and emotional problems," which were detailed in the public court documents.
Ross was seen regularly by psychiatrists and counsellor from the age of six. At the age of 10, he was put on the psychiatric drugs Deaner and Librium.
Between August and November 1975, he was examined by psychiatrist Thomas P. O'Brien. O'Brien's report stated that Ross "has a tremendous capacity to deny the seriousness of problems which he faces ... in his second jailing, he eventually made quite a serious suicide attempt ... When he is thrown on his own resources and opportunism is unavailable, and crying foul produces no changes, his own lack of self-worth and sense of emptiness overwhelm him and a near suicide resulted."
Ross's medical condition was evaluated by Dr Domiciano E. Santos of the Arizona State Hospital after 15 psychiatric interviews in late 1975. Dr. Santos stated that "Ricky has a personality disturbance which started even as a child. He does not seem to profit from his past experiences and cannot realize that he has a responsibility to society to control his behaviour ... He does not seem to identify himself with society and its laws, and believes that punishments are an injustice."
Several years later, Ross became involved with the notorious Cult Awareness Network (CAN), after a "radical Bible-based group" began operating at the Arizona nursing home where his grandmother lived.
Ross, who freely admits having carried out as many as 300 deprogrammings since 1982, mainly against Christian denominations, is known to charge up to $20,000 for a single kidnapping and "exit counselling" session.
His victims have routinely been held hostage against their will and brutally intimidated in attempts to force them to recant their chosen religious beliefs.
Despite Ross' past and present criminal activities, members of the Cult Awareness Network continue to praise him. CAN's national executive director, Cynthia Kisser, has described him as "among the half dozen best deprogrammers in the country."
"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 affiliate lauded him. "Rick has helped me with all kinds of questions, situations and problems," she said.
CAN is currently under scrutiny by the FBI and federal prosecutors, stemming from the conviction and jailing in May of another of its deprogrammers, Galen Kelly.
Brisbane housewife and professional "cult buster", Jan Groenveld, boasts of her association with Rick Ross's buddies in the Cult Awareness Network. Back in her May 1991 newsletter, Groenveld waxed lyrical about CAN's organisational ability, stating:
"After attending the Cult Awareness Network convention in the USA last year I could see the benefit of having a co-operation between the Christian, Jewish and secular community here in dealing with the cults and occult. I have since been contacted by the Jewish community with that in view. The secular community (medical and legal) are also interested in helping."
One of Mrs Groenveld's fellow "cult busters", Melbourne private investigator David Lentin, admitted in an interview with New Idea, "We have to resort to kidnapping to get people out. And it is a very long and difficult process to deprogram them."
Another "cult expert" is Dr. Rachel Kohn of Sydney University's School of Studies in Religion and producer of ABC Radio National's religion program.
According to the newsletter Christian Jewish Scene, "Dr. Kohn's interest in the interaction between social, political and religious issues extends beyond the academic arena. She was among the pioneers who established the Anti-Defamation Unit within the Jewish community organisation B'nai B'rith."
The Anti-Defamation Commission of B'nai B'rith (ADC) is connected to the U.S. based Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith (ADL). A recently released special report titled Is The Anti-Defamation Commission Spying On You says, "The ADC in Australia is modelled on, and closely linked to, the US's Anti-Defamation League, which is now facing criminal prosecution on 48 felony counts, including illegal access to police computers, spying and theft."
The New York newspaper Village Voice has called the ADL's criminal spying "a massive violation of civil liberties," and has termed the ADL the "Jewish thought police." While former U.S. congressman Paul McCloskey has initiated legal action against the ADL for domestic spying activities against private citizens.
The Anti-Defamation League has a long history of working closely with the Cult Awareness Network. Both the ADL and CAN co-operated in providing U.S. authorities with sensational and distorted intelligence gathered on the Branch Davidians. This disinformation ultimately prompted the murderous assault on the Waco religious community.
No doubt, with the help of her new found friends, Mrs Groenveld went on to found the "Cult Awareness & Information Centre - Australia". Currently she is organising a week-long conference on "cult busting" at Queensland University from September 22.
Main speaker at the conference is American psychologist, Steven Hassan, who like Rick Ross, is a deprogrammer active with the Cult Awareness Network. Hassan is the author of one of CAN's central texts, Combating Cult Mind Control.
Other speakers will include Australian "cult experts" and "exit counsellors".
In conference promotional literature, Mrs Groenveld states that psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, lawyers, Barristers, media representatives and medical practitioners are just a few of the people who can "benefit" from the get-together with professional deprogrammer Steven Hassan.
The Brisbane conference is a public relations exercise designed to firmly establish "Cult Aware" networks in Australia. Part of a carefully planned strategy to indoctrinate government agencies, the media, church leaders, community workers and opinion makers with disinformation about alternative religious movements.
Freedom of religion is under threat in Australia. Unless action is taken to expose this anti-religion movement, Australia will see an increase in vicious deprogrammings and assaults on minority religious groups. We cannot allow Australia's "cult busters" to unleash an army of Rick Ross hate criminals on peaceful, law abiding citizens.