The prosecution has decided not to pursue kidnapping and forcible confinement charges against a family doctor and his teacher wife who abducted their daughter three years ago because they believed she was being brainwashed by a religious cult.
Deputy Crown attorney Katherine Livingstone told Superior Court Justice James Turnbull she was staying all charges against Dr. Renato Brun del Re and his wife Lucie Brun del Re, both 57, their son, Giancarlo Brun del Re, 29. Livingstone told court she was halting the prosecution in the best interests of the public and the alleged victim of the kidnapping, Mirella Brun del Re, now 26.
Mirella Brun del Re recently met with police and prosecutors to say she had no wish to see her family tried on such serious charges and potentially facing significant prison terms.
At the centre of the bizarre kidnapping plot is a charismatic church leader known as Pastor Peter Rigo, who founded the evangelical Dominion Christian Centre Canada, now known as One Community Church, on Park Street North in Hamilton.
The victim’s family saw the abduction as an intervention and hired a U.S.-based consultant who has overseen scores of anti-cult interventions to talk to their daughter.
The U.S.-based consultant in this case was cult expert Mary Alice Chrnalogar, author of Twisted Scriptures: A Path to Freedom from Abusive Churches.
In an August 2006 phone interview with The Hamilton Spectator, Chrnalogar said, “I didn’t come up there to take part in anything, I did come up there and talked to the family.”
She says she spoke with the family about intervention strategies, and even spoke with the woman at the centre of the alleged abduction, but she insists that she has nothing to do with involuntary deprogramming attempts, the National Post wrote in September that year.
Guidelines for selecting a cult expert
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