A “cult” victim received a $6.5 million dollar personal injury settlement Tuesday from insurance carriers for 13 years of abuse, experienced through a group called “Kids” reported The New Jersey Law Journal.

Lulu Corter was sent to Kids of North Jersey Inc. in Hackensack by her parents in 1984 at the age of 13. She escaped in 1997, after enduring more than a decade of what other victims call a “living hell.”

Kids was dominated and defined by its charismatic leader Miller Newton now bankrupt, according to victim advocate and activist Wes Fager.

Kids is a spin-off of Straight, another controversial rehab program eventually shut down by litigation and bad press.

Melvin Sembler founded Straight, a wealthy businessman closely associated with the Bush family.

George W. Bush appointed Sembler Ambassador to Italy.

Straight’s roots are in The Seed, a drug rehab program in Florida that lost funding amidst allegations of mind control.

The Seed was itself based upon Synanon; a rehab program turned “cult” founded by Charles Dederich Sr.

Dederich now deceased plead no contest in 1980 to conspiracy, regarding a murder plot to kill a California lawyer litigating against the group. A rattlesnake was placed in his mailbox, but attorney Paul Morantz, survived.

A rattlesnake didn’t bite Corter’s attorney Phil Elberg, but he did manage to take quite a bite out of Miller Newton and his associates through their insurers, not to mention the ebbing credibility of such programs and related supporters like Sembler.

It seems the many incarnations of Synanon’s treatment model once called “the game,” live on and on and on. And it may take more lawsuits to finally slay this many-headed hydra.

Note: The Third International Conference on Adolescent Treatment Abuse will take place this month July 26th and 27th in St. Petersburg, Florida. Contact SAFETY for further information and details.


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