Couple pleads guilty in daughter's abduction
DENVER (AP)-A Maryland couple has pleaded guilty to a charge of false imprisonment to the abduction and "deprogramming" of their 23-year-old daughter, a member of a religious group in Denver.
Dr. Leonard Deitz, 55, and Esther Deitz, 48, of Silver Spring, Md., entered the pleas Friday in Denver District Court. Judge Edward Carelli sentenced them to two years' probation for the kidnapping of their daughter, Emily Deitz, a member of the Divine Light Mission.
As a condition of their probation, the couple was ordered to make no further attempts to "interfere with the lifestyle" of Ms. Deitz whom they claim they have not seen since she escaped from her parents last April.
According to court records, the April 8 abduction of Ms. Deitz from a Denver alley was the third time the couple had attempted to sever their daughter's ties with the mission.
Mrs. Deitz, who lectures on what she perceives as the destructive influence of cults on young people, told Carelli she and her husband "stood by helplessly and watched as our beloved child became mesmerised and sank deeper into the world of cultlsm."
"Emily was rescued in her own best interest," Mrs. Deitz contended. "We were not motivated by a desire to control our daughter but to set her free."
Ms. Deitz, a former straight-A student who dropped out of college after joining the followers of Guru Maharaj Ji, was living in Denver last winter when her parents located her and made arrangements for her abduction.