Monday, July 8, 2019

Research on Cult Conversion by University of Cordoba - Spain

We are helping University of Cordoba in Spain in their research on cult conversion and the affects on families. Please read more and find the link below. 



"I am currently working on a research in the Department of Psychology at the University of Córdoba (Spain). This research aims to analyze how families experience the cult conversion of a loved one, in order to identify many other variables of interest. This investigation can shed evidence of the seriousness of the problem of cults in spanish and english-speaking countries, as well as the need for better specialized attention to victims and their families.

For participation in this investigation it is only necessary that a family member of a victim (parents, siblings, cousins, couples) complete an online questionnaire of less than 30 minutes. That is why we would appreciate your collaboration sharing the questionnaire with affected families and through social networks, in order to facilitate us the access to the sample and allow this research to go ahead."

If you would like to participate in this research here is the link to the questionnaire: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSf2rwTrseL0K48MtsL0Cur_dSCbpeHatorDGH9aGWbbWUMWIg/viewform

Thank you for your participation.

Sincerely,
The FACT Team  

Monday, June 17, 2019

Ex Naropa Teacher, Katsura Kans Appeal - Denied

Ex Naropa teacher, Katsura Kan was found guilty on March 18, 2019 in the wrongful death of one of his students, Sharon Stern.

Kan filed an appeal and that appeal was Denied and Dismissed on June 10, 2019.







Tibor Stern
on Behalf of Sharon Stern Estate

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Shambhala International Fights to Survive in Face of Sex Scandal

"BOULDER, Colo. (RNS) — The sexual misconduct scandal rocking Shambhala International, one of the largest Buddhist organizations in the West, is causing the organization to suffer financially, and many of their properties and programs are being sold off or downsized.

Started in the 1970s by the Tibetan Buddhist teacher Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, who also founded Naropa University, Shambhala has been embroiled in crisis since last summer, when Trungpa’s son and the organization’s current spiritual leader, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, was accused of sexual misconduct.



Since the initial report, more allegations have been made against other senior teachers in Shambhala, suggesting a pattern of cover-ups and failure to address sexual misconduct at the upper levels of the group’s leadership.

But at the heart of Shambhala’s financial woes is the fact that, since the allegations broke, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche has stepped back from his leadership role and is no longer teaching. Much of the organization’s revenue was generated from his teachings.

Shambhala’s entire governing board, the Kalapa Council, resigned when the scandal broke in July of last year and was replaced with an interim board that is attempting to hold the organization together. As they attempt to change Shambhala’s culture and regain the trust of their followers, they are also struggling with a drop in revenue.

According to a statement released by the interim board in March, revenue is down almost 60 percent from the beginning of 2018, and the organization has a debt of more than 1.3 million, with the entire amount due in August."

Read full article Here

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Katsura Kan, Teacher Found Guilty in Wrongful Death Suit Sch'd to Perform in Paris

Katsura Kan, Butoh dance teacher who was found guilty and liable in 17th Judicial Circuit Court of Broward County, FL in the wrongful death of one of his students, is scheduled to perform on May 27,28,29 and June 1, 2019 at:

Espace Culturel Bertin Poiree
Franco Japanese Cultural Association of Tenri
8-12, rue Berlin Poiree Chatelet,
Port-Neuf






It is unacceptable in our society, for a Hitler sympathizer who as a teacher, was found liable for the wrongful death of one of his students Sharon Stern, to be promoted and given a platform by institutions to continue his evil teachings and exploitation of innocent minds.


Psychological Evaluation of Sharon Stern




Guilty Verdict

 

I hope you will understand the severity of his crime and stop his performance.

If you don’t agree with the Japan Cultural Association and the organizers decision to give a platform for Katsura Kan, you may express your ideas and feelings about this issue in a direct email or phone call to them. 

bertin.poiree@tenri-paris.com    Tel: +33 (0) 144 76 06 06 

FRENCH TRANSLATION:

Katsura Kan, une enseignante déclarée coupable dans une affaire de mort injustifiée, doit se produire à Paris. 
Katsura Kan, enseignante de danse butoh, déclarée coupable et passible devant le 17e tribunal judiciaire de première instance du comté de Broward, Floride, du décès injustifié de l'un de ses élèves, doit se produire les 27, 28 et 29 mai et le 1er juin 2019 à:

Espace Culturel Bertin Poiree
Association Culturelle Franco-Japonaise de Tenri
Franco Japanese Cultural Association of Tenri
Pont-Neuf

S'il vous plaît entrez ici le photo de l'événement comme indiqué sur le site

lLe deuxième paragraphe 
Il est inacceptable dans notre société, pour un sympathisant Hitlérien qui, en tant qu'enseignant, a été reconnu coupable de la mort injustifiée de l'une de ses étudiantes, Sharon Stern, d'être promu et incité par les institutions à poursuivre ses mauvais enseignements et à exploiter des esprits innocents. 

S'il vous plaît entrez ici le photo de l'événement comme indiqué sur le site

Le 3ème paragraphe

Le verdict du tribunal rendu le 18 mars 2019. Requête en jugement sommaire partiel: 

Sur la responsabilité des défendeurs pour le décès erroné de Sharon Stern

S'il vous plaît entrez ici le photo de l'événement comme indiqué sur le site

Thank You,
Tibor Stern on Behalf of Sharon Stern Estate.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Scientology & The Aftermath - A Personal Account from Janette Allen

We would like to give Janette the opportunity to share part of her story and views on our platform. 

This is a personal account from a former Scientologist of 25 years, Janette Allen.

Hi. I first left Scientology back in 2011 when my then husband and I got wind of the St.Pete Times articles - The Truth Rundown. We were shocked to say the least of the stories of former sea org members and their accounts of abuse. We stayed under the radar for a year to try and come up with an exit strategy as we were entrenched in the Clearwater Scientology community - I had a thriving business and my then husband worked for a Scientology company, our kids went to Scientology private schools etc. We attended a bbq where Mike Rinder, Marty Rathbun and many other former sea org and Scientologists (out and under radar) were gathering, we wanted to hear the stories straight from the horses mouth. Needless to say, a picture was taken with the entire group at the BBQ and it made it's way back to the "church" and from that point on my then husband got fired from his job, I lost all my accounts, 90% of my clients were Scientologists, our lifelong "friends" disconnected from us -  overnight our entire lives were turned upside down and we were financially distraught. We supported this exodus of leaving Scientology and withdrawing our allegiance to this group that we thought was doing so much good for the world.


We donated money to the Marc and Claire Headley fund for their attorney fees for their lawsuit, we donated money to Debbie Cook and supported her through her trial. I made it a point to go and visit with Debbie Cook in San Antonio - having never met her before, I was appalled of her claims of abuse and again wanted to hear it from the "horses mouth" and she agreed to meet with me, where I urged her to come forward with all that she knew. Months later, I attended her court hearing and listened to her account of abuse for 2 days in San Antonio, TX.


I have supported the ex Sea Org members through the majority of this exodus and expose of abuses since 2011 when I left, it was to the detriment of my own family and finances. I didn't have to, nor did anyone have to, many including myself, could have just stayed under the radar, not supporting the "church" but not speaking out either and all the while our lives would have been better off as a result, maintaining family, friends, finances etc.

It takes a while for a person to come full circle on what happened / happens in these cult communities. It has taken me many years to make sense of it all - all the while dealing with my own struggles financially, emotionally etc. 

Within the last year I've witnessed some very shocking things occur. I've witnesses a young Scientologist (one of my child's best friends growing up, who used to live with us off and on) do a segment on the Aftermath show (I will not name names for confidentiality reasons), lose her family, friends and entire community as a result of doing the segment, only in the end it not make it to air for "legal reasons". Grown adults, who manage a non-profit and run a TV show - knowing the consequences this young girl will face for doing a segment on the show, still went ahead and wanted to film her story and let her face the "Aftermath" and consequences for doing so. If these grown adults, who have much more resources than this child has, had her back and her best interest at heart they would have responsibly advised her to stay under the radar, keep her family support system continue to focus on herself, get some counseling and just withdraw quietly from the community without being declared an sp etc. But instead, they wanted to run with her story, to sell more TV. They didn't need her story and in the end didn't run it anyways for "legal reasons" and her life is upside down and in shambles as a result.

She deactivated her social media accounts as the drama was overwhelming to her last summer. I supported her in that. She then told me that "Aaron Smith-Levin asked her to reactivate her facebook account and make her fundraiser for the Aftermath Foundation live again as it was gaining "traction and funds". She complied. I was in shock. This 24 year old young girl, who was going through a major crisis, just lost her family, was not stable in the least - and Aaron had the audacity to ask her to publicize her fundraiser. There is more but I will leave it at that!

Another shocker - I have personal lifelong friends who are stuck financially to a job with a Scientologist owned company. The husband used to be sea org at the International Base, the wife worked at a Scientology Mission for 10 years. The wife is under the radar because of her job, the husband not so much and may have been declared, and they are raising and homeschooling their child all the while on the road working endlessly. Financially they are stuck and ruined living paycheck to paycheck. I reached out to the Aftermath Foundation on their behalf to ask for 3 months of relief and help for them so they can quit their job with the Scientologist as it causes a lot of stress for them. The relief funds would have gone to pay 3 months worth of rent and living expenses so they could finally get off the road and get a stable apt and look for work outside of the Scientology community and pay expenses for 3 months while getting back on their feet (they traveled full time for work, were technically homeless - lost their home while in Clearwater as a result of debt from high pressured donations etc) living at hotels and in their car at times while traveling for this job. On top of all of this, the wife recently got diagnosed with cancer and needs to be in a stress free environment as her life depends on it. What was the Aftermath Foundations response to their "application" for help ?

"February 23, 2019

Dear XXXXX, Thank you for submitting an application for aid.

The purpose and mission of The Aftermath Foundation is a narrow one: “To help those who have recently left Scientology or the Sea Org, or those who want to leave, but lack a system of support to rely on while getting on their feet in the outside world.” Upon a close examination of all the data you provided to us, the board finds that you unfortunately do not qualify for aid from The Aftermath Foundation. Your current situation, as painful and heartbreaking as it is, is not related to having recently left or needing help to “get on your feet.” You left the Sea Org in 1998. You were declared 6 years ago. Our suggestion is that you apply for aid to one of the numerous foundations that assists cancer patients. Therefore your application for financial aid cannot be approved. The board however is eager and able to help you in creating a current resume and maybe even in finding a new job through our volunteer network. You can write a specific request for this help if you desire it, and it will be forwarded to all pertinent volunteers.

Sincerely, The Board of Directors The Aftermath Foundation"

According to The Aftermath Foundation website their Mission Statement is as follows:

"The Aftermath Foundation exists to help those who want to leave Scientology and the Sea Organization, but lack a system of support they can rely on while getting on their feet in the outside world.

Former Sea Org members tend to be industrious workers but many have no employment history nor family outside of Scientology. Further, many have no formal education, bank account, driver’s license or credit history.

The challenges one encounters when leaving Scientology and the Sea Org are many. The Aftermath Foundation is devoted to providing resources, support, and advocacy to those who leave so they can gain their independence and make their way in the world. The Aftermath Foundation is also dedicated to raising public awareness of the abusive practices of the Church of Scientology."

http://theaftermathfoundation.org/

Nowhere on their website does it state "Recently want to leave Scientology or the Sea Org".

Their Aftermath promotional cards state the following - the picture is straight from their social media page:


I'd like to say this - I'm extremely disappointed in the Aftermath Foundation and all the people who are on the Board of Directors. There are a lot of people who are / were in desperate situations that you have denied help to - people who supported all of you ex sea org only years later to be silenced, censored, blocked, used and their stories, questions, voices and circumstances disregarded on your "Fans of Leah Remini Scientology & The Aftermath facebook group, on other platforms and in general.

To act by your actions as if you all are the "elite" bringing Scientology abuses to the forefront and most everyone else treated as if they are nobody yet once again (like people were treated by many of the sea org while In Scientolgy). You're lack of compassion, empathy and "status happy ego's Shine through. Specifically to Rinder, Rathbun, Cook and the rest of the ex-sea org members & others - Profiting off of book deals, TV shows, backdoor legal settlements, bobbleheads, youtube channels, "fame/status", blogs etc etc - while there is still abuse occurring on both sides of this war - I'm ashamed I ever supported any of you - you are not the kind of people I once thought you were.

If any of YOU - Rinder, Rathbun, Cook, Miscaviage Sr. etc have information that can help in unsolved criminal cases - YOU HAVE A MORAL OBLIGATION TO DO SO - even if that means incriminating yourselves and doing a little bit of time. Someone Take one for the team and shut this war down!

I'm happy to be FREE from this toxic, social mofia like war that the lot of you former top executives Created. I hope you can sleep as good as I do at night - I know my conscious is Clean!

Peace,
Janette

Disclaimer: The above statement is not the view of F.A.C.T. Inc, we are merely providing a platform for former cult members to speak their truth and stories, free of censorship.

Thank you,
The FACT Team

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Leah Remini's Scientology & the Aftermath Show - A Dog & Pony Show?

Considering we here at F.A.C.T. talk to many former members of church/cult groups, former parishioners as well as former executives / elders within the "core clergy" of various "church" groups, we feel it is important to keep in mind that churches are made up of individuals whether in the core clergy or as public parishioners.

The Constitution ensures Americans the right to our Religious Freedom - to believe or worship as we see fit. Church policies would not be applicable or enforced if individuals did not choose to accept and apply them - Free Will. Brainwashing/mind control/undue influence are theories to consider without a doubt, however when it comes to real crimes and harm against others - Individual Responsibility and Accountability is a must! When laws are broken, when lives are lost, when crimes are committed, when people are taken advantage of, tricked, deceived, financially abused etc there must be personal individual accountability for ones action(s). In many Ex-Communities, former members point the fault and blame for abuse, shunning etc all on the leader(s) and church policies as to their experiences, what they did or didn't do as a result of participation and membership in their particular group / church. It boils down to individuals and we've talked to many people over the years who were in these type of executive or leadership positions in churches/cults and made their choice not to follow policies or take harmful actions against others regardless of being instructed to do so. We've talked to former members who were on the verge of losing their children from shunning / disconnection policies. Some decided to stay under the radar to avoid such devastation in their relationships and lives. Some left their groups only to rejoin years later and do the steps necessary to "repent" and get in good standing with their group again so they can have relationships with their children and or stay in long enough to get through to their children to leave with them. In other words there are many ways to maneuver depending on what ones agenda, priorities and circumstances are.  

We've been hearing about a perspective surface in recent months about some of the crew on A & E's Scientology & the Aftermath Show that we feel is important to share. Stories of former Scientologists who have a bad taste in their mouth about information control tactics and treatment by some of the Ex-Scientology community as they are receiving similar treatment that was done while in the Scientology culture. One example is being censored on support groups such as the main facebook group "Supporters of Leah Remini Scientology & the Aftermath".

Why are former Scientologists being censored from sharing their experiences, views, opinions and questions and blocked on a support group aimed at exposing scientology abuses?

We've gotten permission from the authors of the below posts to publish on our platform.

Sam Freeman - who was a long time Scientologist in the "elite" sea org for a while as well as a public paying Scientologist. In a support group on facebook called Scientology Death and Disconnection - The Description of the group: "Giving the victims of Scientology a voice. No politics or grandstanding. Just facts."  San Freeman writes the following post:

"FLYING UNDER THE RADAR"

"Is a term Scientologists use to describe a situation whereby they pretend they support the cult but are secretly in disagreement with its abusive practices. On that note, if anyone remains in any doubt in regards to my position on Mike Rinder and Leah Remini I’m going to clarify it here for the sake of posterity:

Mike Rinder (co-host of the show Leah Reminid Scientology & the Aftermath show) and Marty Rathbun are completely and EQUALLY responsible for every single atrocity and cover-up perpetrated on the victims of Scientology both past and present. Leah Remini is fully aware of this inconvenient truth but has never allowed it to stand in the way of her own personal ambition to milk her position as the unelected celebrity spokesperson for the cult’s victims to the max. ‘Scientology and the Aftermath’ was a study in elitist nepotism at best, and at worst a convenient way for Mike Rinder to cleverly circumvent any real inquiry into the true circumstances of those victims who were carefully buried and silenced by David Miscavige and his two henchmen Mike Rinder and Marty Rathbun.

While I remain fully supportive of the many brave ex Scientologists who came forward and told their stories on the Aftermath’, it is my own personal considered opinion that they were simply used by Tony Ortega, Mike Rinder and Leah Remini to forward their own personal agendas. My opinion may be unpopular. I don’t care. I am as tired of ‘flying under the radar’ now within the larger ex Scientology Community as I was prior to taking a stand against the elitist liars in the cult only to find the same situation repeated outside.

I’m not asking anyone to ‘take sides’ or show support or lack thereof for this post. I just feel the need to unburden myself from any fake friendships or alliances where I will find it necessarily to take up a position in the future in order to ensure that Mike Rinder and Marty Rathbun receive the exact same punishments for their crimes as David Miscavige himself when the ‘chips’ finally do ‘fall’ as the general nature of karmic justice demands.

On that note I will leave just one small measure of the mountain of evidence of David Miscavige’s numerous lies and the collusion of such by Mike Rinder, Marty Rathbun and Ron Miscavige (Leader of Scientology David Miscaviges ownfather) (Tom Cruise and John Travolta notwithstanding) here so those who have not seen it before can decide for themselves whether Mike Rinder and Ron Miscavige deserve the drooling adoration of ignorant Remini fans, or the sneering derision of small handful of ex Scientologists who understand that Mike Rinder and Ron Miscavige COULD in fact bring about the end of the cult they helped to create if they truly wanted to simply by telling the WHOLE truth (although God forbid we should stand in the way of the more vitally important mission of selling Tee Shirts and bobble heads).

I expect we may lose a handful of members as a result of this post. But those who may find my stance ‘offensive’ probably never belonged here in the first place. For the rest - thank you ALL for being here and supporting us. No one can take on the cult alone and win regardless of rank and file position on the totem pole and I only hope you have found some small measure of peace in return."

Here's a couple of media links and some history on Sam Freeman (Damingo).
https://www.thesun.co.uk/archives/news/629153/scientology-cult-ordered-me-to-have-an-abortion/?fbclid=IwAR3utv8U24wA76i-iT_j8z8ooR8XYPdmTyk_aASLv-PVVYhjfd_uai1iz4E

Inside Scientology and Escaping the Witnesses Documentary: https://youtu.be/b3k__0NGM2s

Another very compelling account from AlanzosBlog.com regarding the "Where's Shelly Campaign".

First a bit about Alonzo straight from his blog: "Alanzo is an Ex-Scientologist who sees the same tribalism he escaped in Scientology rising up in Anti-Scientology.

Out of all the lessons he learned by escaping Scientology, he learned one lesson harder than any other: Never let your tribe do your thinking for you.

Alanzo thinks critically in the war between Scientology & Anti-Scientology. Alanzo was involved in Scientology for 16 years".

Is Mike Rinder's and Leah Remini's "Where's Shelly" campaign a Hoax?  Here's a conversation Alonzo says he had with Aaron Smith Levin - You Decide.

"Aaron runs the 16,000 member “Fans of Leah Remini Scientology and the Aftermath” Facebook group. Aaron is also on the board of the Aftermath Foundation. Aaron told his powerful story in Scientology on Season 1.

Last year, Aaron and I had about 5 or 6 phone calls, most lasting for an hour or more, where we discussed all kinds of issues about being an Ex-Scientologist, the show, my blog, his Youtube Show, other Exes, etc. During these conversations I made the point to Aaron that Mike Rinder was working with David Miscavige at Int Base the last time Shelly and David Miscavige were seen together. As the head of the Office of Special Affairs, Rinder would have known all about their decision to end their marriage, and to separate.

Public Relations-Wise, this would be a delicate issue: the Ecclesiastical Leader of the Scientology Religion simply does not have failed anythings – especially marriages.

So I asked Aaron: “Mike Rinder knows Shelly’s not missing, right?”Aaron said, “Of course.”

Read the full blog article here: https://alanzosblog.com/why-mike-rinder-leah-reminis-wheres-shelly-campaign-is-a-hoax/

Another fact we'd like to point out - in the below picture Mike Rinder and Marty Rathbun were once best buddy's in this anti-Scientology movement. It seems Marty Rathbun has come out with several videos claiming Mike Rinder and Leah Remini are running a "cult" outside of the cult.





Marty Rathbun Youtube video

There is a war going on - Scientology vs Anti Scientology. Many of the former top executives who ran the Church of Scientology have been out for years now, all over the media with their stories of abuse. There is no doubt abuse has occurred to many many people involved in Scientology, we hear stories all the time - Exposing is great, we applaud those efforts!

However, it is note worthy to point out that there is a lot of money and status to be made in a war. Anti-Scientology movement - book deals, tv shows, product sales, legal settlements? etc. The Scientology movement in an effort to counter attack the Aftermath show recently put up the below billboard. Many thousands and probably millions of dollars was gouged out of active members of the church for this counter attack campaign - more people being victimized financially in this war.


Does Mike Rinder, Marty Rathbun, Ron Miscavige (David Miscavige's father) and or other former  executives of the church have vital information and evidence that could take down David Miscavige and put an end to this??

We thought these opinions, views and accounts were extremely important to publish.

We will post in the following days other compelling views, opinions and experiences that you may not hear much about. You decide for yourself. 


Disclaimer: The above accounts and stories are not the view of F.A.C.T. Inc, we are merely providing a platform for former cult members to speak their truth and stories, free of censorship.

Thank you.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

A Mother's Day Wish

A long time activist who was victim to many years of harassment and black operations from the Office of Special Affairs in the Church of Scientology sent us an in kind donation in Honor of all Mother's. In addition to many years of harassment and "fair gaming" from the top Sea Organization members in the cult, also lost his marriage of 13 years to his then wife and mother of his children who disconnected from him.

Here is his message:

"Mother's Day wishes to all moms who have experienced family disconnection and other unsavory cult practices."

Thank you for your very thoughtful message and donation, it is greatly appreciated! We are very sorry you experienced so much pain and struggle from the that group - Big hugs to you sir!

We at FACT would also like to wish all Mother's a Very Happy Mother's Day, Thank you for all you do!





Sincerely,
The F.A.C.T. Team

Friday, April 26, 2019

Complaint Filed Against - Gratitude Training

Recent Complaint Against - Gratitude Training https://www.gratitudetraining.com/

"Name of Group or Church:   Gratitude Training

Where: Mooresville, NC

Leader(s): XXXX

Please describe the cult activity:

The training comes under the guise of gratitude. When attending indoctrination begins almost immediately. There are activities which encourage increased blind trust and social pressure to illuminate any previous on trusting attitudes or behaviors you may express. You are forced to give your word to a number of agreements and the first day of training in a social setting by standing for agreement and sitting for non-agreement. No one would disagree due to social pressure, even though we knew that many of the agreements were impossible to keep.

Once the stage was set that we would keep our word and would increase our level of trust for unknown individuals, the next three days this group worked on our brains. They used damn lighting and staring into another’s eyes to cause altered consciousness. They brought on extremely Traumatic memories and even encouraged members to act out behaviors done to them by abusive parents. In my research since leaving I’ve seen the methods used referred to as trauma bonding and love bombing. We gave our word that we would not share the nature of the activities we were involved in so we didn’t ruin the training for future participants. This was actually an effort to keep us from sharing the nature of our experience with those closest to us. Outside society was called the drift, we were to oppose the drift.

We participated in an activity where we were told the most attractive and least attractive things about ourselves by other members of the training. Once we got a firm grasp on what was wrong with us we were informed that we could have a breakthrough and fix these things and part two of training, which turns out to be $1200. This part of training was just discovery. And of course there is a part three, which also requires payment and recruiting of new trainees and a large devotion of unpaid time. We were basically psychologically manipulated to convince us that something was wrong with us and we needed gratitude training to fix it, that this was the only way we would have an extraordinary life, and that we would need to depend on them to be our community and provide that extraordinary life. It was incredibly disturbing and I’m still having physical and psychological stress responses more than a week after participation.

Involvement with group:

I was recruited by a friend who was recruited by friend. They use a referral network to get people into the training. That way they have somebody who can speak to you when you tried to leave and encourage you to go back in. They also connect you with the coach while you are in there who begins a series of calls while you are in the training and after you leave the training to keep you connected to the group and in the mind frame that they want you to be in. The individual who referred me is very involved in the group, and I have learned since leaving that connections with family and previous friends have been severed in favor of this group.

Impact from group:

Yes! I had to go see my therapist who believes that quite a bit of work towards emotional recovery from trauma has been undone in this short span of four days. I can’t eat, I haven’t been able to in a week. My stomach is in knots. I’m fearful, suspicious, I can’t access certain parts of my brain. I feel like I have been a participant in a scary psychological study from World War II Nazi Germany. That’s the best way I can describe it. It was incredibly disturbing and I feel incredibly disturbed. I am even nervous posting this in your contact form because I don’t want the information to get back to the individuals who hold this training before being able to report them in someway and limit their damage in my community moving forward. While part of me as aware that this level of suspicion is larger than the situation merits, it is there nonetheless.

Is there anything else that we should know or you would like to tell us:

They require an extensive series of signatures releasing them from damage before going into the training. The email they send before you go has highlighted in bold the words “based on what you tell us” and then follows that you may need a doctors note to participate. Due to the fact that it was the day before the training and I didn’t have time to go to the doctor, I took their bolded and highlighted cue and did not tell them that I had any condition requiring a doctors note. I do though, I’ve previously suffered from anxiety and depression, which have been successfully treated, and believe they would merely use this information to discredit my complaints against them."

From a recent article on Truthdig.com : https://www.truthdig.com/articles/an-alienated-culture-grooms-women-for-cults/

"Rachel Bernstein, a marriage and family therapist in Encino, Calif., warns that group awareness trainings can be damaging and even dangerous.


“They often have you sign a thick stack of documents,” she says. “You basically sign away your rights to sue if something goes very wrong. They will present them to you and give you no time to read them. While possibly not as dangerous as some other cultlike circumstances, some attendees have ended up in psych wards.”

Some groups pick names that imply association with a legitimate business or a university. The first session will usually not be expensive, but participants will be aggressively invited to sign up for the “advantages” they can get at the next level. The crowd is often peppered with people who work for the cult and claim the training is the best thing that has ever happened to them. When they break the crowd up into small groups, they expose participants to “manufactured closeness.” Participants may be pushed to publicly share their deepest fears or most traumatic experiences with people who are not mental health professionals. Bernstein says these confessions help establish a commonality of experience and identity, and are used as hooks."

The FACT Team

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Heartbroken father wins wrongful death lawsuit against Japanese 'death dance cult leader'

Here is the most recent media coverage on the Sharoni Stern story and wrongful death suit against Kan.

EXCLUSIVE: Heartbroken father wins wrongful death lawsuit against Japanese 'death dance cult leader' who made 32-year-old daughter his 'sex slave and plied her with mind-bending drugs' that drove her to suicide 

"A heartbroken father spent six years and $500,000 in an international court battle to prove that his daughter's Japanese guru, a master of the 'dance of darkness,' turned her into a sex slave, plied her with drugs and was responsible for her suicide.

Tibor Stern filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Katsura Kan, who was teaching Butoh, a form of dance in which students were told to 'wallow in the darkness of their soul,' at a college in Boulder, Colorado, according to the lawsuit.

Kan, whose real name is Terugoshi Kotoura and is believed to be aged 71, was found liable last month for the suicide of his student, Sharon Stern, by a Florida circuit court. A trial will take place in a few months to determine the damages.

Tibor Stern, 70, of Hollywood, Florida, described his victory as 'bittersweet.'

'I thought it would bring much more closure,' he told DailyMailTV. 'I had no doubt we were going to win; the evidence was overwhelming. But I didn't jump for joy.'

'Our daughter is not coming back. But hopefully our effort will save some lives. That was the whole idea.'

Katsura Kan did not respond to requests from DailyMailTV for comment.

Sharon Stern, whom her family affectionately called 'Sharoni,' was beautiful and talented, with a lifelong interest in dance and performance, Tibor said.

After graduating from the University of Miami in 2001, Sharon performed as an actress and comedienne, taught yoga and was an avid swing and blues dancer.

Sharon married Todd Siegel, a software engineer, in May 2007. The couple moved to Boulder, Colorado, where Sharon enrolled in the master of fine arts program at Naropa University.

That's where Sharon encountered Katsura Kan, a Japanese citizen and guest artist who taught Butoh, the 'dance of darkness.'

This avant garde dance style features slow, controlled movements and is traditionally performed in white body makeup. Butoh dances often portray grotesque imagery or absurd environments, and explore taboo themes such as homosexuality and pedophilia.

'Under the guise of molding Sharon into a Butoh artist,' Tibor's lawsuit stated, Kan 'intentionally and/or recklessly inflicted emotional pain and suffering on Sharon continuously from the day he met her until the day she died.'

'We sent a totally happy girl, a pillar of the community, to college,' Tibor said. 'When she went to school, she respected teachers, respected authority. She wanted to excel in theater, and wanted to be a director. She was extremely talented. But she went to the wrong university and got the wrong teacher.'

After graduating in 2009, Sharon continued to work for Kan, organizing Butoh performances and festivals all around the world.

Kan, who was married and had a child, 'systematically stripped away Sharon's dignity, free will and self-respect,' the lawsuit claimed. He 'seduced Sharon, abused her physically and mentally, humiliated her, insulted her, and manipulated her.'

Throughout her involvement with him, Kan solicited money from Sharon to use in his Butoh dance business, the lawsuit claimed.

'He told her to steal things and give him the money,' Tibor said. 'This honest girl who could not tell a white lie — she felt compelled to steal so she could give him the money.'

By 2010, Tibor began to suspect that Sharon was in a cult. Kan's group performed in Israel, where Tibor has family. His sisters-in-law went to see Sharon and noticed a total change in her.

'She told them she needed to take care of Kan. He was the guru,' Tibor said. Sharon cooked for Kan, massaged his feet and toes, and paid for a three-hour massage for him. At a train station, Sharon carried three suitcases while Kan walked ahead.

That's when Tibor became fearful. 'My daughter was going to die. I knew it,' Tibor said. 'I felt she was going to die.'

On August 6, 2011, Tibor received a terrifying call from the United States Embassy in Copenhagen, Denmark — Sharon had disappeared.

It turned out that Kan brought his dancers to the Christiana section of Copenhagen, a large commune well known for drugs and prostitution, where they squatted in a rat-infested abandoned building. By the time Tibor and his family arrived, Sharon had been found in a mental hospital.

'I believe he gave her some kind of drugs,' Tibor said. 'She was complaining about losing her memory. She doesn't remember the past.'

After five days, doctors released Sharon, but told Tibor that she needed immediate treatment.

Tibor brought Sharon home to Florida and made arrangements for her to enter a treatment facility on September 16, 2011. But before she could do that, Kan lured her away again, according to the lawsuit.

Kan 'disregarded Sharon's health and safety, and her parents' pleas to leave Sharon alone, and convinced Sharon to fly out of the country to be with him,' the lawsuit claimed.

'My wife and I — we never slept,' Tibor said. At night, they stood outside Sharon's door, listening. 'She's Skyping with the guy. He's telling her not to believe me, to come back to him.'

'He's the god,' Tibor said. 'She wrote, he's the god.'

Kan sent Sharon an email on September 14, 2011, right before she was supposed to enter the hospital, which was submitted to the court. He wanted her to meet him in Chiang Mai, Thailand, and said he would be her 'personal psychotherapist.'

Sharon snuck out of her parents' home in the middle of the night, Tibor said, so she could fly to Thailand, using a ticket that Kan sent her.

'He found out she was sick when she arrived,' Tibor said. 'He wrote us emails saying why did you let her go? I don't want her.'

This happened multiple times. Tibor and his family got Sharon back, and then she left again to be with Kan. In San Francisco she had psychotic breakdowns. In Boulder, Colorado, she attempted suicide twice. In Tel Aviv she broke down crying.

By 2012, Sharon had divorced her husband and was living in her parents' home in Florida. But on January 4, 2012, Kan told her in an email that she was no longer his 'priority,' and if Sharon did not obey him, then the relationship was over, according to the lawsuit.

Heartbroken, Sharon sent Kan a disturbing email, which was submitted to the court as evidence. She wrote in the third person and called herself a 'fat, ugly, stupid girl.'

A few weeks later, according to the lawsuit, Sharon wrote an email to Kan, in which she said her brother would give her $250, but she needed more to follow Kan and help him. Sharon also wrote, 'I'm tired of life - no one helps me to help them. So now you please tell me how … please. need a way to DIE. really.'

In February 2012, Sharon reluctantly started seeing a psychologist, Dr. Eli Levy, whom she had spoken to when she was 19 or 20 years old.

'She was not the beautiful woman I had known,' Levy testified in a deposition. 'She was somewhat physically neglected. She was very sad, upset, angry. She felt in a way that her life was taking the wrong turn.'

Sharon had 14 counseling sessions with Dr. Levy, but could not let Kan go. She wanted to go a Butoh workshop to Brazil, hoping to see Kan.

Tibor, as her father, couldn't stop her; she was an adult and made her own decisions. But Sharon promised Dr. Levy that she would continue her counseling sessions via Skype.

Sharon flew to Brazil. Kan did not show up.

After Sharon returned to Florida, on April 23, 2012, she sent Kan a goodbye email, according to the lawsuit. She wrote, 'love you. that's all. thank you for all your important lessons … good life to you. wish i knew what else to do. u were my angel.'

In his reply, according to the lawsuit, Kan wrote, 'continue your research who you are in another world can be more deep than USA.'

On April 25, 2012, Sharon Stern, at age 32, committed suicide.

A year later, on April 30, 2013, Tibor Stern, heartbroken, filed the wrongful death lawsuit in Broward County, Florida. It said, 'Stern was reduced to a mere pawn in the hands of Kan who mentally and physically abused her, manipulated her, stripped her of even a modicum of free will, and utilized Stern as his mere instrumentality and his sexual and physical slave to the extent that Stern's entire existence became committed to gratify Kan's every wish and desire.'

'Kan deliberately and knowingly isolated Stern from her husband, causing Stern to divorce him and from her loving parents and brother, causing her to become estranged from her family,' the lawsuit said.

Kan, traveling the world, avoided service of the lawsuit for a year. Tibor's attorneys finally hired a top international investigation company, which located Kan and served him in Thailand.

Then Kan argued that, because he was a citizen of Japan and had never been to Florida, he could not be sued in Florida courts. But the judge ruled that Kan's email and Skype communications with Sharon, while she was in Florida, made him subject to the state's laws. Kan appealed the decision, and it took almost four years for the issue to be settled — that Kan could be sued in Florida.

In the meantime, Tibor Stern hoped to help other families who were trying to save loved ones from controlling individuals and groups. He founded Families Against Cult Teachings (FACT), a nonprofit dedicated to raising awareness about destructive, high-control, high-demand groups, and to provide victim services.

FACT has shut down 10 cults and provided information to law enforcement that lead to the indictments of five cult leaders, Tibor said. But that doesn't mean the cult leaders quit.

'They get indicted, but they will continue their activities,' Tibor said. 'It's a cancer. They go somewhere else and reopen. They reinvent themselves.'

So FACT is changing direction — instead of trying to shut cults down, the organization will focus on prevention.

'We came to the conclusion that it's like fighting cancer with a Band-aid, going after cult leaders,' Tibor said. 'My answer is education, bringing awareness and changing laws.'

While he was building FACT, Tibor's lawsuit dragged on. At one point Kan offered Tibor $1,000 to settle the case. Then Kan filed a counter-claim against Tibor, saying the wrongful death lawsuit was 'a misguided campaign' to damage his life and career.

In court documents, Kan said that Sharon showed up at his performances uninvited, and that he advised her to stay home with her family to rest and recover. He denied almost every allegation in Tibor's lawsuit and claimed they were unfounded.

But Ben Murphey, Tibor's attorney, sought the testimony of Dr. Eli Levy, Sharon's psychologist. Levy testified that while Kan had some positive effects on Sharon — he got her to believe in herself — mostly the effects were negative.

Reviewing Kan's emails, Levy said he believed Kan was a 'pathological narcissist.'

Kan was 'extremely controlling and manipulative, threatening to withdraw love and affection and mentoring, unless she's compliant and totally obedient to his dictates,' Levy testified.

'In my opinion,' Levy said, 'he breached a professional relationship between a mentor and teacher and a student. He took advantage of his position. I believe he abused her emotionally, physically, economically and sexually. I believe he misused his power and put her in a position of submissiveness, that she essentially had to surrender who she is and what she is, for the sake of getting his love, approval and recognition.'

'Reading through their emails,' Levy continued, 'I think that he essentially wanted to strip her and make her emotionally naked, and totally disconnect her from anybody else in a very insidious, in my opinion, power driven, control driven effort on his part.'

Levy testified that he believed Kan lost interest in Sharon and began to look for other women. But Sharon, he said, 'had given up everybody, including her husband, including her family. She had alienated everybody who loved her. She would not listen to anybody. And ending up essentially feeling that all her sacrifices were in vain.'

Ben Murphey, Tibor's attorney, said Katsura Kan was notified about Levy's deposition and had a year to present admissible evidence that he was not the cause of Sharon's death, but he never did.

Murphey filed a motion for a summary judgment on Kan's liability for Sharon's death. Kan could have attended the hearing on March 18, 2019, by telephone, but he did not show up. The motion was granted, which meant Kan was held responsible for Sharon's death.

Afterwards, Kan filed a response with the court, protesting that he tried to call the court but there was no answer. Writing that he was in an unfair situation, Kan said, 'Japanese Pro-se Defendant without Attorney and no proper technical knowledge of the trial still seeking the Fairness and JUSTICE.'

A trial will take place in a few months and the court will decide how much money to award Tibor in damages. But Tibor doesn't care about the money. 'The guy doesn't have five dollars,' he said.

What kept Tibor going through this expensive, six-year battle was his desire for justice. He did it so others will not endure the heartache of losing a loved one.

'When this ordeal happened, I didn't sleep more than an hour a night,' Tibor said. 'I was thinking about the factory worker who couldn't afford this. Why am I doing this? For them. I did it for all the parents.'

'I'm a very loving father and she was my best friend,' he continued. 'I know who she was. I know what she became. The man needed to be found guilty.'

'I did it for my daughter, did it for my family, did it for society.'

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6883685/Father-wins-civil-suit-against-dance-cult-leader-drove-daughter-suicide.html?fbclid=IwAR26K_bsALU0DyyGn1Z254-Lskg7ldOepiRukcjDAqEfo7orzucCkJjWhXQ


Wednesday, March 20, 2019

The Verdict is In for the wrongful death of Sharoni Stern

After six long awaited and emotional years there has finally been some justice in the death of Sharoni Stern, daughter of Tibor Stern, Founder and President of F.A.C.T. (Families Against Cult Teachings and Abuses Inc). 

The verdict is in! Katsura Kan the ex-Naropa teacher has been found liable for the death of our beloved daughter Sharoni Stern in the 17th Judicial Circuit Court in Broward County, FL on March 18, 2019.

This will set a major precedence in all future cases. Let this be a loud and clear message to all predators and cult leaders - you will not get away with your evil, manipulative, predatory ways. Justice will be served!

We will further inform the public the connection between Naropa, an accredited University and all Naropa teachers that have been convicted and accused of all kinds of abuses. We will challenge Naropa's accreditation.

Sincerely,
Tibor Stern on behalf of Sharon Stern Estate
President of F.A.C.T.

If you would like to help support our preventative education and support efforts, it would be very appreciated and it helps to save lives - you can do so Here

Monday, March 18, 2019

Religious/Charitable Labor Trafficking Victims - Reach Out to Us


Specifically San Diego, Anchorage, AK and NY Labor Trafficking victims!

Most people are unsuspecting of Labor Trafficking in religious communities or more specifically Charitable 501c3 organizations - However our organization receives the bulk of support and complaint calls/emails from people who are, have been or know someone currently involved in these classifications of groups. Victims who are intertwined in "charitable" groups - signing a legal waiver of being a "volunteer" in exchange for a bed, 3"square meals" a day and most importantly the "opportunity" to "help mankind / save the planet and the people". Unfortunately and to their own detriment, often times this is not the case for these vulnerable, unsuspecting people who are only trying to do good work. 

"Everyone has the potential to discover a human trafficking situation. While the victims may sometimes be kept behind locked doors, they are often hidden right in front of us at, for example, construction sites, restaurants, elder care centers, nail salons, agricultural fields, and hotels. Traffickers’ use of coercion – such as threats of deportation and harm to the victim or their family members – is so powerful that even if you reach out to victims, they may be too fearful to accept your help. Knowing indicators of human trafficking and some follow up questions will help you act on your gut feeling that something is wrong and report it.
  • Living with employer
  • Poor living conditions
  • Multiple people in cramped space
  • Inability to speak to individual alone
  • Answers appear to be scripted and rehearsed
  • Employer is holding identity documents
  • Signs of physical abuse
  • Submissive or fearful
  • Unpaid or paid very little"
 In addition to the bullet points above - other Key Red Flags are:

  • Shipped off to another country  another part of the USA for their "important volunteer" position within the organization, away from family, friends and core support system
  • Your personal mail being opened and seen before you receive it, or you may not receive it at all
  • Going everywhere with a "teammate" (for the sake of "safety"), never having the freedom of being alone and on your own
  • Your personal phone calls monitored or being fearful of making personal phone calls   
  • Very little or No access to the internet, your own personal cell phone and connections to the "outside" world/ 
  • The organization doesn't pay you anything or much at all - leaving you with very little monetary resources to do anything - least of all leave if you needed or wanted. 
If you or someone you know have experienced these types of situations in the past or present - specifically in the San Diego, Ca, Anchorage, AK and NY areas - please reach out to us and tell us your story and experiences and please Share this with others.

Email us at Support@FamiliesAgainstCultTeachings.org or call and leave us a message with your contact information 1-877-360-FACT (3228).

Thank you,
The FACT Team

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Leaving Neverland

"After HBO aired the second part of the highly controversial Leaving Neverland Monday night, the cable network broadcast a one-hour discussion featuring Wade Robson and James Safechuck, whose abuse allegations regarding Michael Jackson were the documentary’s subjects. Also in attendance was Leaving Neverland director Dan Reed. Oprah Winfrey moderated the discussion in front of a live audience of over 100 child sexual abuse survivors."

"Discussing the insidiousness of the grooming process, Winfrey said, “I have said for years that if the abuser is any good, you won’t know it’s happened... If the abuser is any good, he or she is going to make you feel like you’re part of it."

Winfrey also said " In order for it to work, it has to be somebody you know, somebody you admire, somebody you respect and maybe even love"

Read the full article Here