Children of God Suit Ended
The Washington Post/1973-08-03
Religious News Service
DALLAS—A 21-month-old suit filed by the Children of God here against a group of parents of members of the radical fundamentalist sect has been dismissed by the court at the request of the Children of God.
Judge Dee Brown Walker of the 162nd District Court in Dallas dismissed the $1.25 million libel and slander suit at the sect's request when its officials declined to obey a court order to produce all their financial records for use as evidence.
The order also required the Children of God to produce their Dallas membership records, names and addresses of all members of the sect, and leadership charts to be used for "discovery of evidence" by the parents to support their allegations against the sect.
In October, 1971, a group of parents who were members of the Parents' Committee to Free Our Sons and Daughters from the Children of God (FREECOG) picketed in front of the Federal Building in Dallas to protest the Children's activities.
Among other things, FREE-COG pickets had charged that the sect was a subversive group out to overthrow the government and "organized religion." They also accused the Children of kidnaping and dragging young converts, using hypnosis on them, and "being part of a $1 million racket to extort money from converts."
A press release issued by the Children, which described the group as "a voluntary, nonprofit association," attributed the dropping of the suit to "plaintiffs' firm belief that defendants' allegations have proven to be only a reproach upon themselves." The Children's statements also held that "defendants' efforts to discredit the Children of God were futile (as) has been evidenced by the fact that the Children of God continue to grow and prosper in their work."
William Rambur, Ted Patrick, and Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence Cooke, all of California, and Mr. and Mrs. John Moody, of Manhasset, N.Y., were specifically named in the lawsuit. All are members of FREE-COG.
Patrick is currently on trial in New York on charges of helping to kidnap a member of another fundamentalist sect.
At the time of the 1971 incident, Dallas was considered to be the international headquarters of the Children. They have since moved their world headquarters to London, but continue to base their U.S. work in the Dallas colony.