Mar 17, 2023

CultNEWS101 Articles: 3/17/2023 (International Churches of Christ, Legal, Women, Corporal-punishment, Abuse-sexual, Canada, Jarry Ahlowalia, ADHD, Neurodivergence)

International Churches of Christ, Legal, Women, Corporal-punishment, Abuse-sexual, Canada, Jarry Ahlowalia, ADHD, Neurodivergence

"FIVE WOMEN IN California have sued a network of organizations associated with the International Churches of Christ and two of its leaders, claiming they are victims of childhood sexual abuse and a financial pyramid scheme perpetrated by a "cult." The federal claim, filed Friday night in the Central District of California and obtained by Rolling Stone, comes amid a flood of litigation in the state's final days of a three-year window that gave adults additional time to sue over childhood sexual abuse.

The plaintiffs allege the ICOC and its affiliated organizations — Hope Worldwide; Mercyworldwild; and a splinter group known as the International Christian Church along with its Los Angeles headquarters, the City of Angels International Christian Church — "indoctrinated" members into a "rigid" belief system that isolated them from the outside world, then "facilitated and actively concealed" incidents of sexual abuse and trafficking while they were minors. The suit also names church founder Kip McKean and the estate of another leader, the late Charles "Chuck" Lucas, as defendants. Additionally, the women claim, the churches and their leaders created a "system of exploitation that extracts any and all value it can from members," straining members financially, while silencing any dissenters.

Founded in 1979 in Boston by the evangelist McKean, the International Churches of Christ — then known as the Boston Movement — soon became one of the fastest-growing Christian movements of its time. Today, the ICOC, by its own estimates, has more than 120,000 members across 144 countries, according to the complaint. The plaintiffs claim Lucas co-led the church from its founding. "It is commonly understood that McKean was acutely aware of the physical, psychological, and sexual abuses Lucas and other church members wrought upon both children and adult parishioners of the church," the lawsuit reads.

The ICOC, ICC, City of Angels ICC, Hope Worldwide, and Mercyworldwide did not respond to Rolling Stone's requests for comment. Attempts to reach a rep of Lucas' estate were unsuccessful."

From director Sarah Polley, watch the official trailer for #WomenTalking now, starring Rooney Mara, Claire Foy, Jessie Buckley, Judith Ivey, Ben Whishaw, and Frances McDormand.

" ... They lived in a mansion. They prayed together. They cooked and ate and did chores together. They worked side by side and shared their earnings and expenses. They cared for one another's children and vacationed together.

Some insiders say it was a cult.

They called it The Family, and a former pizzeria owner and martial arts teacher named Mohan Jarry Ahlowalia was its unlikely charismatic leader.

For decades, the communal living arrangement seemed perfect. Ideal.

Until allegations of sexual and physical assault, death threats, human trafficking, extortion and gun violations tore the Burlington household apart. The ugly accusations pitted Ahlowalia's followers against each other."

" ... Details of The Family's strange life became evidence in a long, complicated criminal trial that had Ahlowalia fighting for his freedom.

Thirty charges were laid against him. For three years the case meandered through the justice system. Eventually 14 witnesses testified at a trial that took 57 days spread over a year.

The judge eviscerated the Crown's case.

Key witnesses, she said, were discreditable at best. At worst, some may have colluded to frame their former leader.

The judge even suspected guns were planted in Ahlowalia's bedroom and car.

'This case turns on the credibility of the witnesses," Ontario Court Justice Jaki Freeman wrote in her judgment.

The Family, a seeming hub of nurture and love, had turned on itself.'"
" ... Neurodivergent individuals are susceptible to emotional contagion (the tendency to absorb, catch, or be influenced by other people's feelings) and can distinguish very subtle cues that others would not. Professor Tony Attwood described this as a sixth sense and likened the experience to the analogy of a negative tone of voice infecting a neurotypical person at the strength of a cold. In contrast, a neurodivergent individual is infected at the strength of the flu. This can be an overwhelming experience that cannot be easily bypassed. Emotional dismissal can be crippling."

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