New York Times Published: December 2, 1983
Jury Fines Opponent of Cults $50,000 in Civil Rights Case
Published: December 2, 1983
Ted Patrick, who has been retained by parents to help get their children away from religious societies, was convicted by a Federal jury Wednesday of violating a man's civil rights. Mr. Patrick was ordered to pay $50,000 in punitive and compensatory damages.
The jury took less than three hours to find Mr. Patrick guilty of conspiring to violate the civil rights of Richard Cooper of Brookline, Mass., 31 years old, a member of the Divine Light Mission.
The jury in the three-day trial also convicted Mr. Patrick of asssault and battery and imprisonment.
Mr. Cooper said Mr. Patrick imprisoned him for 19 days in 1979 in an attempt to pull him away from the Divine Light Mission.
The jury ordered Mr. Patrick to pay $40,000 in punitive damages and $10,000 in compensatory damages. The lawyers for Mr. Patrick, who has been involved in other suits as a result of his activities in trying to take people away from cults, said it was the first time their client had been ordered to pay punitive damages.
But Mr. Patrick said years of litigation had left him unable to pay. "I don't have a down payment on a free meal," Mr. Patrick said.