One of Ross’ claims to fame and legitimacy is that he has acted as a source for the media in stories about “cults” or groups that he wishes to label as such. For example, Ross claims to have acted as a behind-the-scenes “consultant” for the FBI in the Branch Davidian tragedy at Waco, Texas. Nancy T. Ammerman, a visiting scholar at Princeton University’s Center for the Study of American Religion, was one of the outside experts assigned by the Justice Department to evaluate the BATF’s (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms) and FBI’s handling of the Branch Davidians. In her September 3, 1993, report on the tragedy to the Justice and Treasury Departments, Dr. Ammerman was particularly critical of the government’s consultation of Rick Ross and the now defunct Cult Awareness Network.
Ammerman stated, In their attempt to build a case against the Branch Davidians, BATF did interview persons who were former members of the group and at least one person who had ‘deprogrammed’ a group member. Mr. Rick Ross, who often works in conjunction with the Cult Awareness Network (CAN), has been quoted as saying that he was ‘consulted’ by the BATF. … The Network and Mr. Ross have a direct ideological (and financial) interest in arousing suspicion and antagonism against what they call ‘cults.’ These same persons seem to have been major sources for the series of stories run by the Waco newspaper, beginning February 27. It seems clear that people within the ‘anti-cult’ community had targeted the Branch Davidians for attention. Although these people often call themselves ‘cult experts,’ they are certainly not recognized as such by the academic community.
The activities of the CAN are seen by the National Council of Churches (among others)
“as a danger to religious liberty, and deprogramming tactics have been increasingly found to fall outside the law.”
Thus, instead of providing factual data and constructive advice, which might have defused the situation and saved lives, CAN and Ross exploited tensions to further their own anti-religious agenda. In the end, dozens of men, women and children died unnecessarily.
Yet, Rick Ross continues to attempt to profit from spreading lies and hatred against new religions and continues to hold himself forth to the press and public as an “expert.” Anyone contacted by Ross or contemplating contacting him for any reason is encouraged to get fully informed regarding Ross’ true intentions and background to avoid being taken in by his lies and thus unwittingly furthering his operation.