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Anderson Cooper 360

from Vixin - Tuesday, December 04, 2007
accessed 888 times

Ricky Rodriguez

To those of you that do not already know, please be advised that there is a show on Anderson Cooper 360 regarding the Family International, specifically, Karen Zerby's involvment in the murder of Angela Smith and Ricky's subsequent death.

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from Haunted
Wednesday, December 05, 2007 - 05:49


COOPER: Now cults in America, they prey on the young, the old, anyone, really. Tonight, we're going to take you inside one. It's a haunting up-close journey, and it will stay with you.

CNN's Randi Kaye reports.


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): You're watching a man unravel. RICKY RODRIGUEZ, CULT MEMBER: I'm just loading some of my mags here. I hope you guys don't mind if I do that while I talk.

KAYE: Ricky Rodriguez had belonged to a sect that called itself The Family International. He made this chilling tape two years ago.

RODRIGUEZ: This is my weapon of choice, the K-bar knife.

KAYE: Just days after this taping, two people will die. Ricky is planning to murder his own mother.

RODRIGUEZ: She's going to pay dearly, one way or another.

KAYE: His mother, Karen Zerby, had become leader of the sect in 1994 after its founder, David Berg, died.

The group, shown here in this documentary, called "The Love Prophet," was once called the Children of God. It sprang up in the 1960s communal free love era.

Berg was a charismatic, self-proclaimed prophet. Former cult members tell us both Berg and Ricky's mom, who Berg called his queen, encouraged adult/child sex. In fact, they wrote about it.

A manifesto they called "The Story of Davidito" was the foundation of their perverted beliefs, according to many former members, Berg's how-to guide for raising sexual children. The Family International now says all "questionable publications were officially renounced and expunged between the late 1980s and early 1990s."

These photos show Ricky's nanny, even his mother, were his sexual teachers.

DON LATTIN, AUTHOR, "JESUS FREAKS": It was an experiment in this strange kind of twisted child-rearing philosophy of David Berg.

KAYE: Don Lattin's just-released book "Jesus Freaks" talks of Berg's cult.

LATTIN: He wanted his child to embrace sexuality, to be a sexual being as an infant growing up.

KAYE: This woman, Davida Kelley, grew up with Ricky in the cult.

(on camera) What was David Berg like?

DAVIDA KELLEY, FORMER MEMBER, THE FAMILY INTERNATIONAL: He was a sick (EXPLETIVE DELETED) pedophile. He was just a sick (EXPLETIVE DELETED) pervert. He interpreted, like, the law of love and the Bible and religion into a sick, perverted way, and that meant being able to violate and abuse anyone and everyone.

KAYE (voice-over): Including her, she says, when she was just 5.

KELLEY: You were only required to have actual intimate intercourse with David Berg once you were, like, the mature age of, like, 12.

KAYE: Davida says Ricky was forced to have sex with dozens of adult women, including his own mother.

KELLEY: I actually witnessed Karen Zerby having intercourse with her own son, Rick Rodriguez, at age 11.

KAYE: Berg was apparently so obsessed with sex he used it to grow his group around the world. Former members say Berg sent women out to seduce men to lure them in to accept his gospel of Jesus.

LATTIN: Berg was God's pimp.

KAYE: The Family International refused an interview with CNN, but in a statement acknowledges Berg taught sexual liberty without instituting safeguards for the protection of minors, but it says, that was corrected in 1986, and any infractions are an excommunicable offense.

The group also told us all of Davida's allegations are false and that Karen Zerby never abused her son Ricky.

Ricky would later escape from the group and marry and try to establish a new life.

ELIXCIA MUNUMEL, RICKY RODRIGUEZ' WIDOW: He wanted the memory of his childhood to be gone.

KAYE: But he had been too deeply scarred. He wanted revenge against his mother, which brings us back to his murder plan.

RODRIGUEZ: Maybe fate will smile on me, the God of war, the God of revenge. Maybe they will grant me happy hunting.


COOPER: Coming up next, the final chapter. Ricky Rodriguez turned his rage on the two women who raised him and he says betrayed him. Part two of Randi Kaye's report, up close, right after this.



RODRIGUEZ: This is my weapon of choice, the K-bar knife.

She's going to pay dearly. One way or another.


COOPER: He is a troubled young man named Ricky Rodriguez. By the time he made that video, he was trying to break away from the cult that had raised him and start again. But it ended up in tragedy.

Once again, up close, CNN's Randi Kaye.


KAYE (voice-over): David Berg referred to himself as Moses and was known as the Love Prophet. He encouraged free love and open sex between adults and children.

In some bizarre logic, he concluded the Bible called for raising a sexually enlightened child. Berg anointed this boy, Ricky Rodriguez, as his spiritual successor, but the sex abuse would take its toll on him as a man.

RODRIGUEZ: It's a need for revenge. It's a need for justice. Because I can't go on like this.

KAYE: Within hours of taping this in 2005, Ricky contacted his childhood nanny.

KELLEY: She was one of the many female adults that had intercourse with Rick Rodriguez.

KAYE: This is a picture of the two of them.

RODRIGUEZ: I don't think there's going to be much time to feel anything. Might hurt for a split second.

KAYE: In his first bloody act of revenge, Ricky murdered his nanny. He cut her throat, then left her body in his Arizona apartment. But he was not done. He was still looking for his mother.

KELLEY: He realized that he wasn't going to bring his mother to justice the way he wished he could have brought her to in a court of law.

LATTIN: Most of this abuse went on, like, 20 years ago, so the statute of limitations expired. Most of it happened outside the U.S., so it's very difficult to prosecute.

KAYE: A spokesperson for The Family told us its policy for the protection of minors was adopted in 1986. "We regret that, prior to the adoption of this policy, cases occurred where minors were exposed to sexually inappropriate behavior between 1978 and 1986."

Davida Kelley and others, who were children then, are still haunted.

(on camera) Tell me what's going on up here and in here.

KELLEY: Up here it's like -- up here it's like I'm so not OK. I'm not OK.

KAYE (voice-over): This Web site, set up by people who were children in the cult then says at least 30 of them have committed suicide, though CNN has no way of verifying that.

As for Ricky Rodriguez, he never found his mother, a failure, Ricky's wife says, he couldn't live with.

MUNUMEL: He's like, "Baby, you love me."

And I said, "Yes, I love you. You know I love you more than anything else in the world."

And he said, "Then come and die with me."

KAYE: On a deserted road, Ricky Rodriguez died alone, a single shot to the head four years after he fled the cult.

As for his mother...

KELLEY: She's still the leader of The Family, and she needs to be brought to justice.

KAYE: But first, she must be found. Until then, she'll remain in hiding.


COOPER: I had no idea, Randi, that this group is still out there. In fact, his mother is the leader of it. Are there any charges against her anywhere?

KAYE: Not as of now. All we know is that these crimes happened decades ago. The statute of limitations, as you heard, has run out.

So these people have different aliases. The crimes happened around the world. They've changed their name dozens of times. And this makes it very difficult for the prosecutors and the investigators to go after them.

There were some raids on compounds years ago. There were trials. No convictions. But Anderson, that's one of the reasons why Ricky Rodriguez went on his own, seeking justice after his mother.

COOPER: And they call themselves Jesus freaks, right?

KAYE: They do. And that's part of the...

COOPER: What this has to do with Jesus, I can't understand.

KAYE: Well, everything that David Berg and everything that Karen Zerby now does is really in the name of Jesus. They believe that they can get away with all of this because it's in the name of Jesus.

COOPER: Unbelievable that it's still out there. Randi Kaye, appreciate it. Thanks very much, Randi.

The raw data on the cults is eye-opening. There are an estimated 3,000 to 5,000 in the U.S. they say. Each year they recruit an estimated 180,000 new members and up to seven million in America have once belonged to a cult at one time or another in their lives.
(reply to this comment)

from PopNFresh
Tuesday, December 04, 2007 - 20:27

Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5(Agree/Disagree?)

It was short and only covered the sexual abuses. I'm still very glad that it got some media attention after what... 2 years? I saw they mentioned this site, so I'm guessing that's why it's moving so slow right now.

I do hope that anyone who visits from watching the show will review Haunted's "dare to be counted" post:

The reason I call that one out is because while many of us on this site endured sexual abuses, the other points of abuse are still going on within the cult. The 1986 rules they supposedly put in place were more about teaching us to shut up about the sexual abuse than actually preventing it. Most of my abuses occured after 1986, and those who did it are still under the protective wing of the cult, not to mention being lead by the ultimate example of abuse; Zerby.
(reply to this comment)

From cheeks
Thursday, December 06, 2007, 06:30

Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5(Agree/Disagree?)

I agree. Some of my abuse happened well after 86. I do wish they would talk more about the mental and physical abuse. Not that the sexual abuse is not important, I think what they did to us in the Victor programs, and with silence restriction and all the other things that was done to you while you were in those programs are far more damaging and take so much longer to get over. Months after months of living in fear wondering when the next ax is going to fall, when your next public humiliation is going to come. I also wish they would cover the years of menial labor that we did instead of going to school. Berg said over and over again that all we needed was a sixth grade education and I think the reason for that is obvious, it would make it so much harder for us to leave we would be dependant on them for the rest of our lives.(reply to this comment

From PopNFresh
Tuesday, December 04, 2007, 20:55

Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5(Agree/Disagree?)

One more thing I'd like to add for the administrators of this site. Is there a "What can you do?" section that we can blast on the front page so that when we get media attention, it directs people to ways to stop allowing this cult to feed off our society? A few things I'd like listed are:

  • A list of their major corporate sponsors so that people can write letters of protest or possibly boycott them.

  • A list of their foundations as we know them, and their sources of funds so that people won't donate to them.

  • A direct link to where people can view the actual publications that promoted sexual liberties with children. Some nice undisputable evidence for those that might actually take the cult's statements seriously.

  • A list of countries where the cult has government supporters.

  • A list of countries where abuses occured.

Maybe there is already such a thing, but it would be nice to see it first thing for those who don't want to dig around when they come to this site for information.(reply to this comment

From neez
Tuesday, December 04, 2007, 23:24

Fucking great idea!(reply to this comment
from Haunted
Tuesday, December 04, 2007 - 20:16

Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5(Agree/Disagree?)

The show was absolutely FANTASTIC!! Thanks to Anderson Cooper and all involved in bringing this story to life.
(reply to this comment)

From Just watched it
Tuesday, December 04, 2007, 20:29

Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5(

I thought it was good too, Davida did a great job of just telling it how it was.

It was a little strange seeing screenshots of MovingOn on CNN.(reply to this comment

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