The Mirror: Death of Family man

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TV IRELAND: Death of Family man - PICK OF THE DAY CUTTING EDGE: CULT KILLER C4, 9pm

The Mirror/2006-08-21

by Maeve Quigley

The notorious religious and sexual cult The Children of God, otherwise known as The Family, ruined the lives of thousands of youngsters born to its members around the globe.

Accusations of incest and institutionalised paedophilia filtered out from time to time - all denied by The Family. But in January last year, the world was finally made to sit up and take notice... when the leader's son killed his former nanny before taking his own life.

From childhood, Rick Rodriguez had been groomed to become The Family's next leader by his mother and the cult's founder David Berg, who adopted him as a son. It was a role he didn't want and, after escaping The Family, Rodriguez felt compelled to became a leader for those ex-members who had suffered abuse as he had done.

Before he died aged 29, Rodriguez made a video in which he calmly - but with overwhelming bitterness - explains what had driven him to this point. "Anger doesn't begin to describe how I feel about these people and what they've done."

As his wife and other former cult members describe their own perverted upbringings, this lengthy suicide note is one of the most disturbing elements of a well-researched and explicit exposé.