Ted Patrick Jailed in New Abductions
Los Angeles Times (1886-Current File); Oct 17, 1981; ProQuest Historical Newspapers Los Angeles Times (1881 - 1986) pg. SD_Al
Ted Patrick Jailed in New Abductions
Deprogrammer's Bail Is Revoked After Judge Hears of Ohio Case
By MARK FORSTER, Times Staff Writer
Cult deprogrammer Ted Patrick was jailed Friday after a Judge was told that Patrick helped an Ohio couple abduct their daughter in hopes of ending a lesbian affair. San Diego Superior Court Judge Norbert Ehrenfreund agreed with prosecutors that Patrick's alleged activities violated a 14-month-old court order against the deprogrammer engaging in anything but voluntary, court-approved counseling.
Ehrenfreund then revoked the $20,000 bail that had kept Patrick out of fail pending appeal of his conviction last year on charges he helped in a kidnaping of a 25-yearold Tucson waitress.
"He promised me in a courtroom not to be involved in any deprogramming," Ehrenfreund said in ordering Patrick to start serving a one-year jail term that had been part of the sentence for the 1980 conviction. "People, like this (Ohio) girl, have a right to be free,"
Faces 4-Year Term
The San Diego County district attorney's office also said it will try to have Patrick's five years of probation revoked. If the probation is rescinded, the deprogrammer could spend up to four years in state prison for the August, 1980 conviction.
The 4th District Court of Appeal has scheduled a Nov. 18 hearing on Patrick's appeal of his conviction for taking part in the kidnaping of Roberta McElfish, a 26-year-old Tucson waitress whose family members seized her to bring to Patrick for deprogramming.
Patrick, 50, and his attorney, Charles Sevilla, insisted in court that Patrick never took part in the Ohio kidnaping.
Despite the claim by a witness that he saw Patrick in Norwood, Ohio, a suburb of Cincinnati, a day before the Oct. 5 kidnaping there, Sevilla said his client was taping a television show in Florida or in San Diego immediately prior to the kidnaping.
Ehrenfreund scheduled an Oct. 30 hearing to give Patrick a chance to demonstrate that he didn't take part in the kidnaping.
During Friday's court hearing, chief Deputy Dist. Atty. Richard D. Huffman presented evidence that Patrick had received and cashed an $8,000 cashier's check sent to him by Marita and William Reithmiller for payment in helping to kidnap their daughter, Stephanie.
According to Huffman, Manila Reithmiller has been indicted in Ohio for the kidnaping and her husband was named as an unindicted co-conspirator.
Mrs. Reithmiller was arrested last week in Alabama, where the deprogramming was to occur.
The prosecutor also indicated during the hearing that Ohio officials intend to indict Patrick in the kidnaping next week.
Most of the prosecution testimony came from Patrick Russell, a district attorney's investigator who interviewed Ohio law enforcement officials about the kidnaping and Patrick's alleged role in it.
According to Russell, the Reithmillers sought Patrick's help in September to kidnap their daughter and have her deprogrammed from a lesbian love affair.
Patrick allegedly told the Reithmillers he could not participate, but he would contact people who could help them, Russell testified.
But Russell said Ohio officials located a witness who saw Patrick and Marita Reithmiller together the day before the kidnaping on the Norwood street where the kidnaping occurred.
Huffman also called a San Diego bank teller who testified that Patrick cashed an $8,000 check sent by the Reithmillers.
Please see PATRICK, Page 3
PATRICK: Jail for Deprogrammer
Continued from First Page
Gayle Jones, the teller, said the bank knows Patrick and cashes his checks without question.
Sevilla, Patrick's attorney, attacked the prosecution's case, saying the evidence presented was "triple hearsay" involving law enforcement officials interviewing each other with no first-hand accounts of the alleged kidnaping.
In his own defense, Patrick told Ehrenfreund, "I'm innocent of the charge. Give me a chance to get the evidence. I guarantee you will get the truth."
During the hearing, Patrick's wife, Ruth, stood up in court and defended her husband.
"He's not a criminal," Mrs. Patrick said while fighting back tears.
Pointing toward Huffman, she said, "The people … I don't know what they're doing to him but they're trying to put him in jail."
Last December, Huffman sought Patrick's jailing and probation revocation when the deprogrammer appeared at the San Diego FBI office with a 23-year-old woman who reportedly insisted she came here from Kansas City voluntarily to talk to Patrick about quitting the Divine Light Mission sect.
But Huffman contended there were some "strange things" about the case, including three young men who visited the woman in Kansas City just before her trip to San Diego.
Retrial Coming Up
Patrick and two of his aides still face a retrial in January with the father and stepmother of Scientologist Paula Dain on several charges over which a jury deadlocked in a separate case in 1980.
In the McElfish case, the subject of Friday's hearing, Patrick was convicted by a San Diego jury of conspiracy, kidnaping and false imprisonment for directing the woman's family to seize her on a Tucson street.
It was the first time Patrick had been found guilty of a felony, although he has served jail time for misdemeanor false imprisonment convictions in Orange County and in Colorado.
Patrick never saw McElfish until the woman testified against him before Ehrenfreund. She claimed she was not a cult member but that she attended a Roman Catholic Church on a fairly regular basis. But during testimony, she could not recall the exact location of the church or the name of any priests there.
Members of her family, who were named as unindicted co-conspirators, testified that she linked up five years earlier with the large religiously oriented family of a man she regarded as God.
They testified they were bringing her to a Chula Vista motel so Patrick could deprogram her when McElfish grabbed a patron in an El Centro eatery and pleaded for help.