Although Rick Ross promotes himself as a professional “cult expert”, a review of his educational background shows that quite apart from being anti-Christian (he refers to Christians as “Bible bangers”) has no religious educational credentials whatsoever. To the contrary, his only formal education is a high school diploma. Self-aggrandizement and personal financial reward seem to be Ross’ primary motive for his attacks on Christians and members of other faiths.
As documented herein, an unbiased review of Ross’ activities overwhelmingly supports the conclusion that Ross systematically engages in anti-social and often illegal activity and disguises this in the name of “help.” “Deprogramming,” which appears to be his main source of income, is such an activity.
Ross specializes in garnering media attention to create fear and suspicion in the family members of individuals in minority religious groups. He then exploits this fear to get them to pay him thousands of dollars in fees to coerce people out of their chosen religious affiliation. Close scrutiny of Ross’ “successful” deprogrammings very often finds broken families and dehumanized individuals who were coerced, lied to, brainwashed and degraded by deprogrammers into renouncing their religious beliefs.
Public records reveal that Ross has been the subject of at least three arrests, including an attempted burglary, embezzlement of $100,000 worth of jewelry from a jewelry store, and kidnapping. Two of these arrests resulted in convictions. In the third, Ross’ co-conspirators plead guilty to lesser charges while Ross evaded being found guilty. Ross was sued civilly by the victim in the same kidnapping incident and was punished by the jury for over $3 million in compensatory and punitive damages.
Although Ross claims in media interviews that his criminal activity ceased with the 1975 jewelry heist, which he brushes off as an act of his youth for which he has taken responsibility, Ross has continued his pattern and practice of criminal activity against others.
For example, in the above mentioned civil kidnapping case, the verdict issued by the jury stated that Ross had:
“acted recklessly in a way that is so outrageous in character and so extreme as to go beyond all possible bounds of decency and to be regarded as atrocious and utterly intolerable in a civilized community.”
As a further note on Ross’ predisposition to criminal behavior and violation of the rights of others, when Ross challenged the finding in the civil kidnapping case, the Court upheld the punitive damages award and observed:
“A large award of punitive damages is also necessary under the recidivism and mitigation aspects of the factors cited in Haslip. Specifically, the Court notes that Mr. Ross himself testified that he had acted similarly in the past and would continue to conduct ‘deprogrammings’ in the future.”
Ross’ criminal activity in this kidnapping case single-handedly brought about the demise of the Cult Awareness Network, which was exposed to be a criminal referral network for kidnappers. The jury also issued a finding against CAN for $1.8 million, which bankrupted the group.
Rick Ross’ character was further demonstrated when he filed for personal bankruptcy in the face of the $3 million judgment against him. As part of the bankruptcy, Ross discharged a $17,500 debt to his elderly mother.
Despite these arrests and censure from the courts, Ross has not reformed and has continued to commit criminal and anti-social acts. For example he blatantly admits on his web site that he has committed over a dozen involuntary deprogrammings (kidnappings) on adult individuals, mainly Christians, and at least that many more on minors. Ross neatly omits these matters when establishing himself with media and instead focuses only on the 1975 arrests which he attempts to dismiss as “his youth” although he was 22 years old.
The Ross Institute is Ross’ latest money scam. The “Institute” is actually a mail drop just across the street from Ross’ apartment in Jersey City, which he shares with a Haryonto Soedarpo. Though Ross and Soedarpo have shared the same apartment since at least 1998 in New Jersey and earlier in Phoenix, Soedarpo’s role in the Ross Institute is nebulous. Soedarpo, like Ross, has no degree in religious studies or counseling. While Ross promotes the “Institute” as a tax-exempt, non-profit organization and solicits donations from the public, the “Institute” is clearly a front and promotional arm for Ross’ deprogramming business.