Steven Hassan has a quarter century history of violence, both directly and through his support of deprogrammers who kidnap and abduct individuals out of their religions.
By demonizing their beliefs through false accusations, Hassan creates a climate of fear and divisiveness within families which he then uses to his financial advantage, charging exorbitant sums to kidnap and physically abuse his targets.
One of Hassan’s deprogramming victims, AR, signed affidavits detailing the severe mental and physical abuse Hassan subjected him to during a deprogramming. AR was forcibly kidnapped, imprisoned, bound by his hands and feet, and deprived of sleep for days at a time. He was not allowed to shave or wash and was denied all privacy, even the simple dignity of urinating in private. Until AR’s escape seven days later, Hassan subjected AR to methods which AR later described as brainwashing and mind control techniques, even threatening to inject AR with a series of shots if AR did not recant his religious beliefs.
[imgleft]http://www.religiousfreedomwatch.org/false_exp/images/tied.jpg[/imgleft]Another of Hassan’s victims, CK, signed an affidavit swearing that she was also held against her will by Hassan and his associates who confined her to a room without doorknobs and posted a guard to ensure that she could not escape.
Hassan participated in the attempted deprogramming of another victim, LS. Three men forced their way into a motel room where LS was visiting her sister, physically threw LS from the bed and threatened to break her leg if she called for help or attempted to escape. She was then forced into a car and taken to an isolated house in New Hampshire where, for eight days, her abductors tried to force her to read and listen to materials critical and abusive of her religious beliefs. Like AR, she was consistently harassed and ridiculed by her captors. After nine days of imprisonment, when the attempts of the first team of deprogrammers failed, Hassan was brought in to take over the attempt at faithbreaking. After three days of further harassment from Hassan, LS was finally able to negotiate her release.
Hassan falsely presents himself as an “expert” on religions, basing his theories on the work of psychologist Margaret Singer whose theories have been rejected as unscientific by the American Psychological Association and by numerous U.S. Courts. In March of 1996, in the case of Kendall v. Kendall, the United States District Court for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts also rejected Hassan as an expert witness. Hassan’s testimony in this case shows that he was charging $200 per hour for preparation and $1,500 per day for his “expert testimony” on new religions, yet he had never testified in court before and his only qualification was a night school degree in an unrelated field.
Hassan has allied himself with various organizations which engage in violent anti-religious activities. He was an advisor to the old Cult Awareness Network (CAN) which voluntarily declared bankruptcy after having been hit with a multimillion dollar judgment in 1995 for its part in the violent deprogramming of a Pentecostal Church member.
Hassan tries to make nothing of CAN’s crimes in his book published in 2000. The trial judge, however, criticized CAN’s “seeming incapability of appreciating the maliciousness of their conduct” and Hassan is similarly incapable.
Hassan continues to be an advocate for individuals such as Ted Patrick, a convicted criminal deprogrammer, despite Patrick’s convictions for violent criminal acts. Hassan states that the “involuntary deprogramming” originated by Patrick was “the only effective method” of bringing people out of “cults.” He even goes so far as to describe Patrick’s brutality as “help.”
Far from being an “expert” and a “help” to families, Hassan’s goal is to destroy religion for profit.
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