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Cult deprogrammer must pay Scientology attorney's fees

Title: Cult deprogrammer must pay Scientology attorney's fees
Date: Tuesday, 9 April 1985
Publisher: Clearwater Sun (Florida)
Main source: link (109 KiB)

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LOS ANGELES (AP)—A cult deprogrammer who violated a woman's civil rights by holding her captive 38 days in 1979 was ordered Monday to pay attorney's fees to the Church of Scientology.

U.S. District Judge William Matthew Byrne Jr. also imposed sanctions against Ted Patrick of San Diego because he allegedly impeded discovery actions in the civil suit, heard in 1984, by his failure to turn over videotapes promptly.

Byrne did not describe the sanctions or disclose the amount of fees being authorized, but Scientology spokesman Donald C. Randolph said Byrne promised to let attorneys know how much would awarded in fees. He gave no indication of how soon that decision would be reached, Randolph said.

Last June, a federal court jury found that Patrick violated the civil rights of Paula Dain, 29, when he tried to deprogram her in 1979. She was awarded $7,000 in damages, although the jury found Patrick had not acted maliciously when he tried to persuade Ms. Dain to renounce Scientology.

Ms. Dain initially sued Patrick and three others for $30 million, but the other defendants were dropped from the suit a week before a verdict was reached.

The church sought $350,000 in attorney's fees, although Ms. Dain's attorney, Charlotte Ashmun, said the case cost $500,000.

Byrne and Ms. Ashmun clashed over the amount of the fees.

"This case clearly was brought by the church and they were going to spend as much money as they can," Byrne said. The case, he said, "never in my wildest mind justifies what you put into it in fees."

Ms. Ashmun countered that the church was "always interested in protecting the civil rights of its members."

In another exchange, Byrne told Ms. Ashmun: "Let me make this clear. My personal views on politics or religion have nothing to do with this."

"I am reassured," Ms. Ashmun said.

"I am sorry you had to be reassured," Byrne replied.

After the verdict was reached last June, Patrick, who acted as his own attorney during the four-week trial, said: "They spent a half-million dollars to get $7,000, which they're not going to get anyway. I don't have $7 to my name." There was no telephone listing for him, so he couldn't be reached for comment Monday.

Ms. Dain told the jury she suffered from nightmares and headaches when she found herself in a place that reminded her of captivity.

She said she pretended Patrick's deprogramming was successful to escape him.

Since 1971, Patrick has been arrested several times on various kidnapping and unlawful detention charges. He has served time in New York, Pennsylvania, California and Colorado.

In September 1980, Patrick was sentenced to a year in jail and five years' probation for the kidnapping of a Tucson, Ariz., waitress in a failed deprogramming effort.

In January, as his probation neared an end, Patrick said he did not plan to take part in any more deprogramming efforts but would concentrate on a book about cults instead.

"The price is just too high. I've paid a heavy price, and it's not worth continuing," he said.