Ted Patrick, the “father” of deprogramming and thrice-convicted felon, typifies the former Cult Awareness Network “deprogrammer” – prone to violence, scornful of the rights and beliefs of others, and willing to do anything for a price.
Patrick had been revered by the old Cult Awareness Network (CAN) its predecessor the Citizens Freedom Foundation, appearing as an honored guest and featured speaker at their conventions. His methods have been emulated by numerous deprogrammers, including Steven Hassan, Rick Ross, Hana Whitfield and many others.
Patrick worked to make kidnapping and assault appear socially acceptable. As long as the crime was directed against individuals whose beliefs could be made to seem odd or unusual to the rest of society, any common thug could earn substantial sums simply by billing himself a “deprogrammer.”
Patrick’s past reveals that he comes from a background which made him no stranger to crime. Patrick’s father opted for the lucrative profession of pickup man for local mobsters running the numbers racket. Patrick began earning his living as a professional kidnapper and hired thug, targeting members of various religions for violent “deprogrammings.”
Patrick has admitted that deprogramming:
“may be said to involve kidnapping at the very least, quite often assault and battery, almost invariably conspiracy to commit a crime and illegal restraint.”
Patrick has asserted that religions recruit members by hypnotizing them on the spot with “beams” emanating from the knees and elbows and other parts of the body. This to Patrick classified a potential victim as a “mindless robot” and fair game for violent tactics.
When once reminded that such tactics violate constitutional protections of the First Amendment, Patrick retorted by describing freedom of religion as:
“one of the biggest rackets the world has ever known.”
Patrick’s career has earned him a string of criminal indictments stretching from San Diego to New York. The charges range from kidnapping to violent abduction and sexual assault, including rape.
Brute force is the hallmark of Patrick’s kidnappings. In a book defending his violent techniques, Patrick described the kidnapping of a Christian who resisted abduction by bracing himself against Patrick’s getaway car. Patrick forced the man into the car by squeezing his genitals until he let out a howl and doubled up in pain.
“Then I hit,” Patrick wrote, “shoving him head first into the back seat of the car and piling in on top of him.”
He described another abduction:
“Joe and Goose [two of Patrick's henchmen] both had a hold of Ronnie … so I started on the other guys, you know, Maceing them, hitting, whatever. The Mace didn’t really work. I mean it worked, but they kept fighting. I’d spray somebody and then they were still kicking and I had to just kick them back.”
Court papers filed in Massachusetts show that Patrick assaulted a man with a straight-edged razor during an abduction while, by Patrick’s own accounts, other abductions have utilized kicks, punches and other forms of violence.
In Ohio, Patrick and several others were indicted after abducting a 20-year-old woman and taking her to Alabama, where she was repeatedly raped over the course of the seven-day “deprogramming.” Patrick announced afterward that he was giving up deprogramming. At the time of the Ohio abduction, Patrick was on probation for abducting a Tucson waitress; his probation was revoked after it was learned he had accepted several thousand dollars for the “deprogramming” of the Ohio woman, and he served a year in jail.
One of Patrick’s attacks, an unsuccessful deprogramming attempt on a Catholic nun in Canada, resulted in an official government prohibition against Patrick entering Canada. Ignoring this, Patrick slipped back and forth across the border numerous times to continue his career in Canada as a kidnapper-for-hire, eventually assaulting more than 50 people in that country.
Patrick, who received up to $15,000 plus $250 per day expenses for a single deprogramming, used violence not only to change individuals’ religious beliefs but their political persuasions and even their sexual orientation. In one case, Patrick resorted to rape in an attempted deprogramming of a woman who was a lesbian.
Government prosecutors, wise to Patrick’s lifestyle of violence and force, have jailed him repeatedly on numerous charges, with three felony convictions. Yet, in extremist circles, Patrick and his methods are still considered worth emulating. Ida Camburn has been a supporter of Patrick’s and recommended the violent use of deprogramming. Keith Henson, a convicted hate criminal, advocates deprogramming and made this statement on the Internet in May 2001:
“Deprogramming is currently out of style, but it or something much like it is badly needed.”
Apart from his deprogramming activities, Patrick’s criminal record includes charges of cocaine use and parole violations.