Covina Man Still Tied to Church Suit
NEW YORK (AP) - California and Texas leaders of "Children of God" groups remained unwilling defendants in a $3.8 million lawsuit by parents who allege alienation of their children by a commune chain.
Baptist minister J. Fred Jordan of Covina, Calif., failed to convince federal Judge Morris E. Lasker that "mistaken identity" aligned his Children of God Inc. with Children of God Inc. in Texas. The court refused to drop Jordan from the litigation. Similarly, last April, Lasker turned down a dismissal motion by Troy Holiman of Houston, Tex.
Both corporations are accused by New Jersey, Michigan and Virginia, parents of stirring enmity between the generations and usurping control of "worldly goods" of young people joining communes in the United States, Canada, Europe and South America.
The chain allegedly includes colonies at Troy, Binghamton and Staten Island in New York state. Jordan denies connection with the Texas COG. with "Jesus freaks" or with David (Moses) Berg and his wife, Jane (Eve) Berg, alleged overseers of the commune network. The Bergs are believed to be in England or elsewhere in Europe.
Judge Lasker in U.S. District Court, Manhattan, recalled that the state attorney general has issued a report which suggested that the California and Texas COG's "may be related."
Jordan conceded in a pretrial affidavit that his American Soul Clinic Inc. owned a ranch at Thurber, Tex., that was used by Berg and followers for 17 months.
"He claims that plaintiffs named him and COG of California as a result of confusion with COG of Texas, which he claims has "absolutely nothing to do' with his organization," Lasker wrote. "However, Jordan's own affidavit casts some doubt on this assertion."
Judge Lasker also commented that COG had refused to reveal its locations and membership, while a Texas COG publication listed a colony in Los Angeles as part of an intercontinental chain.