Priority resources are bolded. If you want to talk to experts in the field, contact ICSA. See coming ICSA events
A Comparison of Different Countries’ Approaches to Cult-Related Issues. Michael Kropveld. ICSA e-Newsletter, 7(1), 2008.
Academic Disputes and Dialogue Collection: Preface. Michael D. Langone, Ph.D. ICSA E-Newsletter, 4(3), 2005.
Are Cultic Environments Psychologically Harmful? Jodi Aronoff McKibben, M.S.; Steven Jay Lynn, Ph.D.; Peter Malinoski, Ph.D. Cultic Studies Review, 1(3), 2002.
Attacks on Peripheral versus Central Elements of Self and the Impact of Thought Reforming Techniques. Richard Ofshe, PhD & Margaret Thaler Singer, PhD Cultic Studies Journal, 3(1), 1986, 4-18.
Beyond Belief: The Debate Over Religious Tolerance - Christopher Shea
Can Scholars Be Deceived? Empirical Evidence from Social Psychology and History. Steve K. Dubrow Eichel, Ph.D. Cultic Studies Review, 1(1), 2002, 51-64
Child Custody and Cults. Michael D. Langone, Ph.D. Cult Observer, 1995, 12(2).
Child Fatalities from Religion-Motivated Neglect. Seth M. Asser, M.D. & Rita Swan, Ph.D. Cultic Studies Journal, 17, 2000, 1-14.
Child Protection in an Authoritarian Community: Culture Clash and Systemic Weakness. Livia Bardin, M.S.W.Cultic Studies Review, 4(3), 2005, 233-267.
Children and Cults. Michael D. Langone & Gary Eisenberg. In Michael D. Langone (Ed). Recovery From Cults: Help for Victims of Psychological and Spiritual Abuse. Norton, 1993.
Clinical Update on Cults. Michael Langone. Psychiatric Times, July 1996.
Coercive Persuasion As a Specific Type of Violence in Criminal Law. Carlos Bardavío Antón. Abstract PDF of Article
Cult Formation. Robert Jay Lifton, M.D. Cultic Studies Journal, 8(1), 1991, 1-6.
Cultic Crimes in North America (Power Point Presentation). Michael Langone.
Cultic Issues and Religious Freedom - Willy Fautre, I.T. 5.1, 2014 (11-15)
Cults and the Law - Phil Elberg, ICSA Today, 12(2), 9-15
Cults, Freedom of Belief, and Freedom of Religion. Judge Denis Barthelemy CSJ, 18.0, 2001 (32-35)
Cults in American Society: A Legal Analysis of Undue Influence, Fraud, and Misrepresentation. David Hominek. Cultic Studies Journal, 12(1), 1995, 1-48.
Cults in Court. Sarah Van Hoey. Cultic Studies Journal, 8(1), 1991, 61-79.
Cults in Japan: Legal Issues. Hiroshi Yamaguchi, Attorney at Law CSJ, 18.0, 2001 (43-68)
Cults, Religion, and China: Policy Frameworks for the Regulation of Religious and Quasireligious Groups. Stephen Mutch (1-15)
Current Status of Federal Law Concerning Violent Crimes Against Women and Children. Robin Boyle, JD.Cultic Studies Review, 1(1), 2000, 65-89.
Employing Trafficking Laws to Capture Elusive Leaders of Destructive Cults. Robin Boyle Laisure (1-30)
Free Speech and Cultic Litigation: Interview with Attorney Peter Skolnick. Esther Friedman. ICSA Today, 8(1), 2-5.
Fundamental Human Rights in ISKCON. Radha Devi Dasi. ISKCON Communications Journal, 6(2), 1998, 7-14.
Governments and Cults. Michael Kropveld. ICSA E-Newsletter, 7(2), 2008
House of Judah, the Northeast Kingdom Community, and the Jonestown Problem: Downplaying Child Physical Abuses and Ignoring Serious Evidence.Stephen A. Kent. International Journal of Cultic Studies, 1, 2010, 27-48.
How Children in Cults May Use Emancipation Laws to Free Themselves. Robin A. Boyle. Cultic Studies Journal, 16(1), 1999, 1-32.
How the United States Marine Corps Differs from Cults. Margaret Thaler Singer, Ph.D., Janja Lalich, M.A.
Judgment by the Fukuoka (Japan) District Court on the Unification Church. CSJ, 12.1, 1995 (72-102)
Legal Analysis of Intent as a Continuum Emphasizing Social Context of Volition. Herbert L. Rosedale, Esq. CSJ, 6.1, 1989 (25-31)
Legal Considerations: Regaining Independence and Initiative. Herbert L. Rosedale. Excerpted from Recovery From Cults, Help For Victims of Psychological and Spiritual Abuse. Herbert Rosedale.
Litigating Child Custody with Religious Cults. Ford Greene, Esq. Cultic Studies Journal, 6(1), 1987, 69-75.
Litigating the Cult-Related Child Custody Case. Randy Francis Kandel, Esq. Cultic Studies Journal, 4(2)/5(1), 1987/88, 122-131.
Lying in Court and Religion: An Analysis of the Theocratic Warfare Doctrine of the Jehovah's Witnesses. Jerry Bergman, Ph.D.
Mind Control: Psychological Reality or Mindless Rhetoric. Philip Zimbardo. Cultic Studies Review, 1(3), 2003, 1-3.
Opinion Column: Jehovah’s Witnesses Lose Court Battle to Suppress Freedom of Speech. William Bowen. E-news, 6.2, 2007.
Policy Implications of Cultic Studies Research. Michael Langone
Prevalence. Michael Langone
Preventing Predatory Alienation by High-Control Groups: The Application of Human Trafficking Laws to Groups Popularly Known as Cults, & Proposed Changes to Laws Regarding Federal Immigration, State Child Marriage, & Undue Influence. Robin Boyle-Laisure. Abstract PDF of Article
Prosecuting an Ex-Cult Member's Undue Influence Suit. Lawrence Levy, JD. Cultic Studies Journal, 7(1), 1990, 15-25.
Prosecuting Child Sexual Abuse in Alternative Religions. Andrea Willey, Stephen A. Kent. International Journal of Cultic Studies, 8, 2017, 16-36.
Religious Cults, Human Rights, and Public Policy: The Secular Perspective. Stephen Mutch (15-27)
Religious Exemptions From Child Abuse Statutes. American Academy of Pediatrics. Pediatrics, 81(1), January 1988.
Research: a brief overview of the attitudes of Western European states towards new religious movements. Jean-Francois Mayer, PhD
Research on Destructive Cults. Michael D. Langone, Ph.D.
Sister Wives: An Illustration of Why Polygamy is, and Should be, Illegal - Marci Hamilton
Some Rigors of Our Times: The First Amendment and Real Life and Death. One ACLU Member Looks at Guyana, Nazis, and Pornography. Fay Stender, Esq. Cultic Studies Journal, 4(1), 1-17. Comments on Stender Article. George Driesen, Peter N. Georgiades.(18-24)
State Intervention Against The Baptist Church of Windsor: From Law-Abiding Citizens
Supporting Human Rights by Testifying Against Human Wrongs. Alan Scheflin, JD, LLM. International Journal of Cultic Studies, 6, 2015, 69-82.
Suppression of Free Speech: Report on a Survey. Michael Langone. ICSA Today, 8(1), 2017, 6-7.
The Coercion of Trafficked Workers (Kathleen Kim). This legal studies 2010-53 paper from Loyola Law School, Los Angeles discusses the legal basis of coercion without overt physical force
The Crimes and Teachings of Aum Shinrikyo. Hiroshi Hirata, Attorney at Law. CSJ, 18.0, 2001(36-42)
The Relevance of Bad Faith to Fair Use Analysis. Kai B. Falkenberg. Communications Lawyer, The Journal of Media, Information and Communications Law, 24(2), 2006.
Thought Reform Exists: Organized, Programmatic Influence. Margaret Thaler Singer, Ph.D. The Cult Observer 11(6), 1994.
Undue Influence and Written Documents: Psychological Aspects. Margaret Thaler Singer, PhD. Cultic Studies Journal, 10(1), 1993, 19-32.
Undue Influence in Contract and Probate Law. Abraham Nievod, PhD, JD. Cultic Studies Journal, 10(1), 1993, 1-18.
What Messages are Behind Today's Cults? Philip G. Zimbardo, Ph.D. Monitor of the American Psychological Association, May 1997, 14.
When the Cult Leader Hoists a White Flag: The Shinsekai Case - Masaki Kito & Takashi Yamaguchi. I.T. 5.2, 2014 (18-21)
Women and Cults: A Lawyer's Perspective. Herbert Rosedale, Esq. CSJ, 12.2, 1995 (187-194)
Women, the Law, and Cults: Three Avenues of Legal Recourse—New Rape Laws, Violence Against Women Act, and Antistalking Laws. Robin A. Boyle, JD. Cultic Studies Journal, 15(1), 1998, 1-32.
Links to Organizational Resources
100 Key Ethics & Media Law Resources for Journalists
The legal and ethical issues every journalist will face are growing thornier as technological advances blur the lines of what constitutes journalism, and what is or is not allowed to be published. In an era of classified document leaks, government data dumps, and increasingly antagonistic relationships between law enforcement and the media, it is important for journalists to know their rights and to understand the legal and ethical implications of their actions. This goes beyond journalism though. People in any media-related career need to be wary about what they publish online and say through social media. With increasingly powerful communication and reporting tools comes a much greater need to know the law, and understand where you stand with it.
American Civil Liberties Union
For almost 100 years, the ACLU has worked to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed by the Constitution and laws of the United States
Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law
The mission of the Judge David L. Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law is to protect and advance the rights of adults and children who have mental disabilities. The Bazelon Center envisions an America where people who have mental illnesses or developmental disabilities exercise their own life choices and have access to the resources that enable them to participate fully in their communities.
Berkman Center for Internet and Society
The Berkman Center at Harvard University was founded to explore cyberspace, share in its study, and help pioneer its development. The Center investigates the real and possible boundaries in cyberspace between open and closed systems of code, of commerce, of governance, and of education, and the relationship of law to each. Its faculty, fellows, students, and affiliates engage with a wide spectrum of Net issues, including governance, privacy, intellectual property, antitrust, content control, and electronic commerce. As part of Its active research mission, the Center builds, uses, and freely shares open software platforms for free online lectures and discussions and sponsors gatherings, ranging from informal lunches to international conferences.
Chilling Effects Clearing House
Chilling Effects aims to help you understand the protections that the First Amendment and intellectual property laws give to your online activities. The site is a joint project of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Harvard, Stanford, Berkeley, University of San Francisco, University of Maine, George Washington School of Law, and Santa Clara University School of Law clinics
Columbia Human Rights Law Review
(HRLR) is one of the oldest and the most recognized human rights journals in the world. Established in 1967, the HRLR is run by students at Columbia University School of Law. The HRLR is dedicated to the analysis and discussion of human rights and civil liberties under both domestic and international law.
Electronic Frontier Foundation
The Electronic Frontier Foundation is the leading nonprofit organization defending civil liberties in the digital world. Founded in 1990, EFF champions user privacy, free expression, and innovation through impact litigation, policy analysis, grassroots activism, and technology development. We work to ensure that rights and freedoms are enhanced and protected as our use of technology grows.
First Amendment Law Review (University of North Carolina)
The First Amendment Law Review (FALR) is a student-edited legal journal that seeks to promote and protect the rights and freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment through publishing scholarly writings on, and promoting discussion of, issues related to the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. FALR publishes professional and student articles for the benefit of scholars and practitioners. Professional contributions are composed of scholarly articles, symposium papers, and novel, interesting essays on a variety of issues touching the First Amendment. Student contributions are composed of scholarly examinations of discrete First Amendment topics and recent developments in First Amendment law.
First Amendment Project is a nonprofit organization providing free and low-cost legal services on public interest free speech and free press matters. FAP provides these services to its core constituency of activists, journalists and artists who seek to vindicate important First Amendment rights, but do not have the financial resources to hire private counsel. FAP represents these clients by defending them when they are sued for what they say or write, by contesting governmental non-compliance with open records and meetings laws and in challenging laws, practices and policies that infringe on First Amendment rights. FAP is the only nonprofit organization in the country dedicated to providing free legal representation exclusively on free speech and free press issues.
Human Rights Watch defends the rights of people worldwide. We scrupulously investigate abuses, expose the facts widely, and pressure those with power to respect rights and secure justice. Human Rights Watch is an independent, international organization that works as part of a vibrant movement to uphold human dignity and advance the cause of human rights for all.
Human Rights Without Frontiers
Advocacy of democracy, the rule of law, social justice, and human rights.
Info-Cult is a non-profit charitable organization founded in 1980 based in Montreal (Quebec, Canada) that offers help and information about cults, new religious movements and related groups and subjects.
Info-Secte est un organisme sans but lucratif de bienfaisance fondé en 1980 situé à Montréal (Québec, Canada) qui offre de l'aide et de l'information sur les sectes, les nouveaux mouvements religieux et les groupes ou sujets connexes.
"The MEDIA LAW RESOURCE CENTER, INC. (MLRC) is a non-profit membership association for content providers in all media, and for their defense lawyers, providing a wide range of resources on media and content law and policy issues. These include news and analysis of legal, legislative and regulatory developments; litigation resources and practice guides; and national and international media law conferences and meetings. MLRC also works with its membership to respond to legislative and policy proposals, and speaks to the press and public on media law and First Amendment issues."
Michigan State University. Criminal Justice Resources: Hate Crime and Cult, Hate, Fringe, or Militia Groups
A hate crime (bias crime), loosely defined, is a crime committed because of the perpetrator's prejudices. This is a controversial political issue within the US. The US Congress (HR 4797 - 1992) defined a hate crime as: "[a crime in which] the defendant's conduct was motivated by hatred, bias, or prejudice, based on the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation or gender identity of another individual or group of individuals." In 1994, the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act added disabilities to the above list. Visit the Hate Crime entry from the Wikipedia for more information.
"The Public Participation Project works to protect citizens from Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPPs) through the enactment of legislation in Congress and the states. Check out the video to the right and please donate if you can. Thanks! " [legal]
Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press
For more than 40 years, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press has provided free legal advice, resources, support and advocacy to protect the First Amendment and Freedom of Information rights of journalists working in areas where U.S. law applies, regardless of the medium in which their work appears.
In particular, see the First Amendment Handbook.
Also, see libel articles in The News Media and the Law, Summer 2011
WashLaw Legal Resources on the Web (Washington University)
WashLaw Web provides users with links to law-related materials on the Internet. Generally speaking, the information is arranged alphabetically, by subject, and by geographic location. All links on WashLaw Web are maintained by staff members of the Washburn University School of Law Library.
Books and Book Reviews
Book Review: Justice Denied, What America Must Do to Protect Its Children (Marci Hamilton) – Andrea Moore Emmett; Reviewer CSR, 7.2, 2008 (167-168)
Book Review: Memory, Trauma Treatment, and the Law. (Daniel Brown, Alan Scheflin, D. Corydon Hammond) – Helen L. McGonigle; Reviewer CSJ, 16.1, 1999 (70-73)
Book Review: Weapons of Fraud: A Source Book for Fraud Fighters (Anthony Pratkanis & Doug Shadel) – Colleen Russell; Reviewer CSR, 7.1, 2008 (73-78)
Legal Cases, New Religious Movements, and Minority Faiths. Edited by James T. Richardson, François Bellanger. © 2014 – Routledge
See ICSA YouTube Channe, especially the legal playlist.
ICSA members have access to additional videos from conferences and virtual events.
Why Attorneys do not Accept Cult-Related Litigation. Peter Georgiades, Esq.
Human Trafficking as a Commercial Cult Mind-Control Phenomenon. Steven Hassan, MEd, LMHC, NCC; Christine Katas, MBA, MA; Kimberlyn Meyer,PCC-S, LICDC-CS; Rachel Thomas; Halleh Seddighzadeh, PhD
Updating The Legal Concept of Undue Influence in the 21st Century. Alan Scheflin, JD, LLM
A Practical Approach for Law Enforcement When Dealing With Cultic Groups. Mark Roggeman.
Talk to an ICSA Volunteer
The ICSA Membership Support Committee members are available to answer any questions you may have, whether you are an ICSA member, considering membership, looking for help, or simply exploring our resources.
To get started, tell us a bit about yourself by completing the form below. We will contact you as soon as we can.
In the meantime, please become a member and explore the links on this page to readings, videos, and events.