There are three articles on this page:
1) The History Of The Cult Awareness Network.
Date: Tue, 10 Apr 2001 07:09:38 -0500 (CDT)
The History Of The Cult Awareness Network.
The Cult Awareness Network traces its beginnings to 1971 when a group of families in and around San Diego began gathering findings about a group called THE CHILDREN OF GOD. These families called their organization FREE THE CHILDREN OF GOD or FREE COG. When a national tv program referred to the group during a documentary on COG, they were besieged by inquires from parents and siblings of that and other groups, along with requests for information from teacher, clergy, and friends of those involved in groups the callers felt were unhealthy or destructive.
FREE COG did what CAN did later. It listened to those who called for information and stressed the importance of compiling accurate details and documentation about the practices of such groups.The public needed a place to turn for information on groups they suspected were totalitarian in nature, as well as abusive and sadistic toward members. The group began to compile facts about unethical practices such as intimidation and deception of both members and outsiders, as well as financial exploitation and money fraud.
By 1974, small organizations of families were meeting across the country to exchange information and to learn. Members often read extensively about religious movements and group dynamics. In the summer of 1974, representatives from these groups met in Denver to form a national consumer protection organization to educate the public about what they called SPIRITUAL FRAUD or DESTRUCTIVE CULTS. They proposed a program of prevention through consumer education that would expose the fraudulent aspects of these groups and make their recruiting difficult.
Their goals were to adopt guidelines and to incorporate as an educational organization and ultimately to open a national office to collect and distribute informattion. They agreed to confine their concerns to illegal and unethical activities.
Guidelines were established and a new name was adopted. THE CITIZENS FREEDOM FOUNDATION.
In 1980 a volunteer national director was appointed. For the first half of the eighties, the national office was supported by annual donations of around $50,000. In 1984, the national office received more than 5600 requests for information. In 1990, the national office received more than 15,000 requests for information and had an operating budget of about $260,000. In 1985, the national board of CFF voted to move to Chicago and change its name to the CULT AWARENESS NETWORK. (CAN)
This Is the Very Model of a Modern Scientological Operation
Mon, 21 May 2001 00:53:03 GMT
The Cult Awareness Network, or CAN, had been one of the most respected sources for information on cults and new religions in the U.S. It operated a telephone hotline for concerned family and friends of cultists, held conferences, and existed as a volunteer, grassroots group, with staffers committed to the cause of cult awareness, many being relatives of members or former members of cults, or ex-members themselves. CAN operated from a small office in Chicago, and worked as a clearinghouse for information on all sorts of groups. One of those groups was none other than the Church of Scientology. CAN never hesitated to speak out against Scientology--in fact, its executive director, Cynthia Kisser, stated that "Scientology is quite likely the most ruthless, the most classically terroristic, the most litigious and the most lucrative cult this country has ever seen. No cult extracts more money from its members."
CAN spoke out without fear, and Scientology responded, its money machine producing a concerted effort to destroy CAN. Scientology's "Fair Game" policy was exposed on the show--anyone or any group considered an enemy of Scientology was to be "sued, tricked, lied to or destroyed." And in Scientology's eyes, anyone who dared criticize them was an "enemy," and was indeed "fair game."
"60 Minutes" revealed the concerted Scientology effort to destroy CAN, emanating from Scientology's Office of Special Affairs (OSA--Scientology's intelligence agency), which included a special "CAN Unit" set up with one purpose--to destroy CAN. OSA and its CAN Unit orchestrated a massive scheme to tear the organization down, through hate literature, protests outside CAN conferences, private investigators and infiltration. Soon, Scientologists from across the country began submitting identical applications to become CAN members--one even accidentally enclosing an original with the notation "Model Letter" at its head. CAN recognized it as an attempt to seize control of the organization and denied the Scientologists membership.
In what had certainly been Scientology's intent all along, CAN was sued in approximately 40 separate cases nationwide for "religious discrimination." Although CAN won the great majority of these lawsuits, its finances were severely strained by the sudden need for legal defense teams to go up against Scientology's large stable of lawyers. CAN leaders were singled out for "noisy investigations" and accusations--Cynthia Kisser was accused of being a topless dancer, for example. Scientology lawyer Kendrick Moxon admitted on the program that this was unlikely, yet proceeded to make the same allegation later in the segment. Ex-Scientologists and private investigators hired by Scientology detailed the concerted effort to destroy CAN, and yet Moxon continued to deny there was any conspiracy--he attempted to convince the audience that everything that had happened was merely coincidental.
Scientology's death blow against CAN was struck in the person of Jason Scott, a young member of a church his mother considered a cult. His mother had hired a team of exit counselors and deprogrammers to talk to Jason to convince him to leave the group, of which she herself was a former member. Jason refused and left in a taxi from the restaurant where he met his mother and the deprogrammers. Moxon offered legal representation to Jason to go after CAN, which they claimed referred the mother to deprogrammers. While CAN made referrals to exit counselors, who sit down with cult members in a voluntary environment, it had a policy against referring people to "forcible deprogrammers," who would kidnap a cult member and take him to a location such as a motel room to discuss the cult with him, in the interest of getting him to leave. One CAN staffer may have referred Jason's mother to a deprogrammer, yet the Scott case was backed up by perjured testimony from the likes of Mark Blocksom, a former deprogrammer who has admitted lying when he falsely claimed to receive referrals from CAN.
Blocksom, at the time addicted to drugs, lied for Scientology in return for a promise of money, money which never materialized. And indeed the Scott case was Scientology's case, with Jason's lawsuit backed up by Scientology's formidable finances and legal team. Jason Scott won a judgment against CAN--a judgment CAN could never pay. CAN was forced into bankruptcy court, where its name, logo and trademarks were purchased by a Scientologist for $20,000.
The report further detailed how, when concerned parents called the so-called "New CAN" today, they would be told to accept their child's membership in whichever "new religious movement" their child had joined despite cult groups' reputation for anything from mind control to extortion to prostitution. And the voice on the other end of the line would be that of a Scientologist--when "60 Minutes" visited the New CAN offices, despite its claims of being unaffilliated with Scientology, every staff member was also a member of the "Church" of Scientology.
Court Awards Attorneys' Fees For Intentional Infringement
December 29, 1993
CHICAGO -- The Cult Awareness Network Inc. (CAN) is entitled to recover attorneys' fees from two members of the Church of Scientology who sent out unauthorized mailings using the CAN trademark in which they purported to be a CAN affiliate, a federal judge here ruled Dec. 7 (Cult Awareness Network Inc. v. Samuel Demeter, et al., No. 92 C 5482, N.D. Ill.).
U.S. Judge James B. Moran of the Northern District of Illinois held that the infringement by Valon Cross and Samuel Demeter of the CAN trademark was both deliberate and intentional, making the case exceptional and entitling CAN to recover fees.
Demeter, a member of the Church of Scientology, joined CAN then, used the CAN trademark to send out a letter purporting to come from a CAN affiliate in Portland, Ore. In a second letter sent to CAN, he posed as a CAN affiliate seeking information.
Cross, after being warned not to, sent out an extensive mailing using the CAN trademark, purporting to be acting on behalf of a San Francisco affiliate.
CAN filed suit in August 1992, alleging trademark infringement.
Demeter and Cross unsuccessfully raised personal jurisdiction defenses, agreed to the entry of a preliminary injunction, then filed an answer and counterclaim to the CAN suit. CAN moved for dismissal of the counterclaim; Demeter and Cross subsequently withdrew the counterclaim and stipulated to liability. No damages were awarded.
CAN then moved for attorneys' fees and costs, contending that Demeter's infringement was an intentional part of a pattern of efforts by the Church of Scientology to undermine CAN by having members form unauthorized affiliates. Demeter and Cross responded that their conduct was the result of bad judgment, that the infringement did not cause injury and that the infringement ceased when the preliminary injunction was entered.
"We need not consider all the contentions because we are persuaded that the case is exceptional since the infringements were deliberate and intentional," Judge Moran said. "Defendants knew that they had not been authorized to act as affiliates . . . . The infringements were not arguable; defendants used mockups.
Defendants did cease the use almost immediately, when the legal fees were modest. They should have thrown in the towel then, or at least after the jurisdiction issue was determined adversely to them. It is unfortunate that the subsequent increase in legal expense, while due in part to defending against the counterclaim and to positioning the case for final resolution, was in part due to the effort to collect fees. We do not, however, fault the plaintiff for believing that it was the loser if it was not the winner on the fees issue, given its experience in other cases."
The judge found the plaintiff's request for 188.8 hours of fees at $150 per hour to be reasonable, entering judgment for $28,985.45.