Cult Awareness Network
The Cult Awareness Network (CAN) was "a renowned nonprofit cult information and assistance network, with prominent and experienced board members and staff, who received a multitude of calls each day from people seeking cult-related information and assistance. CAN was sued over 40 times by an extremely wealthy cult, Scientology, until finally collapsing in bankruptcy [mid-1996]. The organization was subsequently auctioned to the highest bidder, which turned out to be Scientology. Scientology now runs a very different CAN."
"The Cult Awareness Network was a clearing house for information about cults, run by volunteers on a shoestring budget. Its main mission was to educate the public about the effects of mind control as used by destructive cults, and to provide support to victims of cults and their families. The fact that the organization (and its officers) were harassed and sued over many years -- by more than one cult -- is a testament to its effectiveness in the fight against abusive cults.
"CAN was finally forced to close its doors in mid-1996 as a result of a lawsuit brought against it by cult member Jason Scott with the help of Scientology lawyer Kendrick Moxon. It is believed that Scientology is attempting to obtain the numerous files that CAN has amassed on cults and victims, donor lists and so on. The purpose of this exercise is open to interpretation.
"CAN's official internet account will soon expire together with its Web site -- so here, without permission, I am pleased to present a mirror of the CAN site. Other mirrors are likely to appear soon.
"On October 23, 1996 the Cult Awareness Network, Inc.'s servicemark and trademark rights, including rights to the use of the CAN stylized logo, were sold as part of a $20,000.00 purchase of CAN assets in the federal bankruptcy court. Steven Hayes, of the law firm of Bowles & Hayes, bought the assets. (Bowles is Timothy Bowles, formerly of Bowles and Moxon, the Scientology law firm that litigated heavily against CAN in the 90's.) The purchase became final on October 30, 1996.
"In a dramatic turn of events Jason Scott fired Kendrick Moxon -- thus severing his relations with the Church of Scientology -- and hired Graham Berry, a lawyer known to be sympathetic to CAN, in his place. Scott also settled with Ross for $5000 and 200 hours of counselling from Ross. The agreement was signed on 02 December 1996.
"On 11 January 1997, the Scientology-appointed Trustee Philip V. Martino filed a Notice of Intended Abandonment, i.e. his intention to return the CAN library, 'computer memory', video and audio tapes, files on cults, phone records and financial records to the original board of CAN. His reason for so doing was that:
- "a. There was little or no commercial value.
- "b. He had been 'assured' that he would be sued if he sold the material, which consisted mostly of confidential files, even if sensitive information was removed prior to the sale.
"On 30 January 1997, in the hearing on CAN's bankruptcy case, the judge ruled that CAN's documents were to be abandoned to CAN, and that he would issue an order in a few days. Moxon & Bartilson announced they would appeal the order."
[This (1997) is the last entry.]