The family of the 18-year-old Northcliff teenager who married into an American cult were dealt another blow this week when a magazine threatened to publish statements allegedly made by their daughter against her father.
Meanwhile, a former Johannesburg policeman has claimed that he rescued another South African teen from the Living Love Fellowship (LLF) two years ago – with the help of an officer from the United States.
You magazine contacted Diane McMillan’s father, Ian, and told him it had interviewed Diane over the Internet. The outraged parent contacted a lawyer who deterred the magazine from publishing his daughter’s statements which, he believes, would have “damaged the family’s reputation”.
“It was obviously defamatory. We do not even think that it was Diane they had the interview with. The article would have been absolutely damaging.”
Diane ran away from home and married a self-styled mystical cult leader called Amadon in March. Though she had made no contact with her loved ones for two months, Diane maintained contact with Saturday Star via e-mail. But she finally called her parents from the US last week after this newspaper e-mailed her, suggesting she do so.
“She sounded subdued but said she was OK,” said Ian. “It was a short conversation. But it was almost as if someone was standing next to her, listening to what she was saying. We are just glad to have heard from her.”
A former policeman, who identified himself only as Andre’, told Saturday Star how he had helped rescue a Warmbaths girl who was 16 when she ran away.
“Her family approached me for help after SA Interpol and the US Embassy apparently refused to help them,” Andre’ claimed. “This girl was also lured over the Internet by Amadon and ran away.
“I made contact with a cop in the States who helped me. We went straight to a farm in Oregon where the Living Love Fellowship is based. When we arrived there, Amadon did not want us to see the girl. We had to threaten him. We told him we were going to arrest him for possession of pornography.
“It was only then that we were allowed to go see her in her room. She was definitely there against her will because, when we told her that she had to come with us, she did not argue. Amadon gave us her passport, which he had kept.”
Andre’ claimed the girl did not speak “two words” on the flight back home.
“She had to have extensive counselling. We found out that she had been working on the farm and had been sexually abused. Her family do not want any publicity about this because she has just started getting her life back in order. “
He said he could not divulge more details of the rescue as it would “hamper another rescue” if Ian McMillan agreed to attempt one.
Luke Lamprecht, a cult expert and corporate manager of the Teddy Bear Clinic, a centre for sexually abused children, has helped to infiltrate many a cult in South Africa and, by virtue of his experience, painted a bleak picture of the LLF.
“Cults must have a leader – someone who is evangelical yet charismatic. This person will incorporate his beliefs into the cult and convince his followers of its truths.
They are destructive people but would provide simple answers to life’s complicated questions asked by a teenager. Cults remove themselves from society and normal laws do not apply to them.”
Lamprecht describes the teachings of the LLF as “idle ramblings” that could appeal to teenage angst.
“The girls who are lured would be white, achievers at school, very religious and exceptionally bright – people looking for the meaning of life and love. This guy [Amadon] provides it.”
Diane fits this description. In assessing Amadon, Lamprecht said the cult leader was an achiever in his field. Amadon “probably did have some sort of interest in psychology, but failed and copped out.
“His teachings on the website are nothing but airy-fairy bullshit. It’s the words of an unhealthy man. Secrecy, with a cult, is everything. And that is bad.
“Diane has given her freedom and power to Amadon by marrying him. It means he can control her. She is probably not even his only wife: he may have many more in the wings.”
Police confirm that Diane and Amadon have broken SA law. The law states that Diane could not have entered into a contract of marriage without the consent of both her parents as she is under 21. The case is currently being investigated by the SA International Police. But Lamprecht says “not enough” is being done by US authorities.
“They have such a big problem with trafficking and Diane was most certainly trafficked. These leaders of the world need to put their money where their mouths are.
“I am meeting various organisations in the next couple of weeks to discuss how we are going to handle this case. We are going to use it as a test case – to openly challenge this cult as well as the US – because crimes are being committed against our citizens.”