(AP) - A young man taken from his home by religious "deprogrammers",
who tried to persuade him to leave the United Pentecostal Church was
awarded nearly $5 million in damages Friday by a federal court jury.
Jason Scott, now 23, had sued nationally known cult opponent Rick Ross, Ross' associates and the Cult Awareness Network, a Chicago-based group that monitors cults.
The U.S. District Court jury deliberated eight hours before finding the defendants deprived Scott of his civil rights to freedom of religion.
The award included $875,000 in damages and $4 million in punitive damages.
Judge John Coughenour termed the verdic "quite reasonable."
Scott's mother, Kathy Tonkin, contacted the Cult Awareness Network in 1991 when she became worried about her son's membership in Bellevue's Life Tabernacle Church, affiliated with the United Pentecostal Church.