Denver policeman, parents indicted in cult kidnap
DENVER (AP) -The alleged kidnapping of a young follower of Guru Maharaj Ji, a religious cult leader, has led to the indictment of the 22-year-old's parents, a Denver policeman and seven others on charges of kidnapping and conspiracy.
Policeman Mark Gerard Roggeman, a 10-year veteran of the force, was indicted by a Denver grand jury Thursday on charges of second-degree kidnapping and conspiracy stemming from the April 8 abduction of Emily Deitz, a former employee of the guru's Divine Light Mission in Denver.
Also indicted in the alleged kidnapping scheme were the victim's parents, Dr Leonard and Esther Leah Deitz, of Silver Spring, Md, and Joseph Phillips Alexander Jr , whom Denver District Attorney Dale Tooley described as a nationally known "deprogrammer" of cult members.
"Deprogramming" is the process whereby a cult member "unlearns" what he or she has been taught while in the cult.
Alexander, the alleged leader of the abduction, was charged with second-degree kidnapping, conspiracy and false imprisonment and apparently was assisted by four people from out of state and two Colorado Springs women, according to the indictment.
The victim, Miss Deitz, eventually escaped her captors by jumping from a second-story window at night and hitchhiking to a truck stop.
According to the indictment, Dr. and Mrs. Deitz contacted Roggeman late last summer and asked him to locate their daughter. Roggeman met with Dr. Deitz last February and Roggeman was told Deitz had "hired some people to come and pick up Emily Delta," the indictment continued.
On April 8, witnesses said, Miss Deitz was walking down a Denver street when she was seized and thrown - screaming and fighting - into a van by three men. The victim later identified the three men as Alexander, Danny Edwin Hurst and Russell Allen Bennett, according to police.
She said her father also was in the van, and identified the driver as Marilyn L. Crown and the driver of a backup vehicle as Tom Gibeon. The indictment states Roggeman observed the abduction and followed the vans to the Colorado Springs home of Jackie Lynn Jones and Sandra Jeanne Jones, allegedly for deprogramming.
Miss Deitz has said she was kept under guard in the home for a week and later taken to Akron, Ohio, where she was held for six days before making her escape.
Deitz, Hurst, Bennett and Crown were charged with second-degree kidnapping, conspiracy and false imprisonment. Deitz's wife was charged with conspiracy, and Gibeon was charged with kidnapping and conspiracy. The Colorado Springs women face charges of false imprisonment.