cult settlements

Insurers of newage* health care programs beware!
*newage, one word rendition of New Age. It rhymes with sewage.

In the waning moments of a three week trial Reverend Doctor Doctor Virgil Miller Newton AKA Father Cassian (photo) and his team settled with former client Lulu Corter for $6.5 million for the abuses she sustained at his drug treatment cult Kids of North Jersey. In 1999 Newton and team settled with Rebecca Erlich for $ 4.5 million (see Closure for a Quack Victim in the New Jersey Law Journal). Both Corter and Erlich were represented by Newark attorney Phil Elberg. In 1996 Reverend Newton agreed to reimburse the federal government $45,000 in return for not being prosecuted for 254 counts of insurance fraud. Thus a total of $11,545,000 in settlements. [That figure does not include a $721,000 judgement against Straight, Inc. in Florida, where he was formerly the national clinical director, for throwing Karen Norton against a wall and a $220,000 judgement against Straight in Virginia for Straight falsely imprisoning Fred Collins. Nor does it include countless other suits against Straight ending favorably for the plaintiffs.] Three KIDS' counselors were convicted of assault in 1996. Another was convicted in 2000.

[SAFE] fits my model of a destructive, mind-control cult.
Steve Hassan, world renowned expert on cults, commenting on SAFE in Orlando which was formed out of Straight-Orlando

Straight was founded by Melvin Sembler, AO, the current US Ambassador to Italy. Newton left Straight in the 1980s on the heals of criminal investigations and civil suits of Straight to set up his own Straight-based treatment horror he called KIDS. Ambassador Sembler suggests that it was he (Sembler) who got Straight-backer Nancy Reagan interested in teen drug addiction. Here is Nancy Reagan promoting books by Dr. Newton and by former Drug Czar Robert DuPont, a paid Straight consultant. And here is George Bush promoting Straight, Inc.

Straight represents one of the worst excesses created by the drug war environment, where 'anything goes' kind of intolerance toward drug users prevails. It is a cult. plain and simple, of people who seize on parent's frustrations with their youngsters and then subject the kids to torture and brainwashing to make them obedient and drug-free.
Dr. Arnold Trebach, attorney, author and professor emeritus of law and social justice at American University