Patrick L. Ryan, “thought reform consultant” (TRC), a job more commonly called “cult deprogrammer,” recently lost a court appeal filed in Philadelphia. Ryan attempted to reverse a two thousand-dollar judgement awarded against him regarding an unearned deposit the TRC would not return to a potential client.
Ryan is closely associated with the International Cultic Studies Association (ICSA) previously known as the American Family Foundation (AFF).
CultNews reported details of Ryan’s first trial.
Another CultNews article reported the interest expressed by “Judge Judy” to televise that proceeding, but the plaintiffs passed on her offer.
On September 17th an appeals panel of the First Judicial District of Pennsylvania Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas ruled, “We find in favor of the plaintiffs and against the defendant [Patrick L. Ryan] in the amount of $2,447.00.”
Interestingly, the arbitration panel composed of three attorneys, increased the amount of the judgment against the TRC by about $400.00.
Nevertheless Ryan has decided to try again and the TRC filed yet another appeal on October 17th further forestalling payment of the money he owes.
Early last week just before Thanksgiving a courthouse conference was scheduled in downtown Philadelphia concerning Ryan’s latest motion.
Diehard legal maneuvering like this is typical of Scientology lawyers engaged in seemingly endless legal wrangling with a plaintiff they don’t want to pay.
But Mr. Ryan is a TRC, which is supposedly someone devoted to helping the victims of alleged “cults,” not working for one.
Ryan was represented by Robert A. Rosin, Esquire an attorney in the Philadelphia area.
The plaintiffs had no lawyer and represented themselves pro se; nevertheless they scored their second victory.
Patrick Ryan is the Webmaster for the ICSA, a member of its Cultic Studies Review Editorial Board and he also helps to facilitate the organization’s conferences.
Ryan, TRC Joseph F. Kelly and TRC/ICSA Bord of Directors member Carol Giambalvo essentially make up what is considered the TRC professional association. Their bios and papers appear on the ICSA Web site, which promotes them and is largely either directly and/or indirectly responsible for many of their client referrals.
This same trio was also largely responsible for putting together the TRC “Ethical Standards,” which were published by the ICSA and sold through its Web site.
But it seems Ryan violated one of those standards that states; “a subscribing consultant recognizes the importance of clear understandings on financial matters with clients. Arrangements for payments are settled at the beginning of the consultation relationship. Each consultant will provide a written and dated schedule of fees to potential clients.”
However, according to the facts as established in court and the rulings of one judge and subsequently an appellate panel Ryan had no “clear understandings on financial matters with [his] client.”
CultNews repeatedly attempted to contact ICSA President Alan Scheflin for comment concerning Mr. Ryan, but he never responded. Scheflin likewise did not respond to previous requests for comment before each of the other two reports were run about Ryan’s legal problems, despite the TRC’s close ties to ICSA and its programs.
It should also be noted that the TRC ethical standards Carol Giambalvo co-authored with Ryan state, “when information is possessed that raises doubt as to the ethical behavior of a professional colleague…the member should take action to attempt to rectify such a condition.”
However, TRC member Carol Giambalvo gave no response when asked by CultNews what “action” she has taken or plans to take in an “attempt to rectify” Ryan’s behavior.
Ms. Giambalvo has personally and professionally recommended Ryan, including an endorsement to the would-be client that now holds a judgment against him.
However, Ryan’s fellow TRC member has failed to resolve this professional dilemma.
The only TRC that has taken action specifically related to Patrick Ryan’s legal problems is Joseph Kelly.
Kelly offered testimony in court on his domestic partner/professional associate Ryan’s behalf in an attempt to keep the unearned deposit.
When asked to support his professional standing at the September appeal hearing Patrick Ryan presented certificates to the court issued to him by the ICSA.
ICSA states at its Web site that it is “known for its professionalism and capacity to respond effectively to families.”
But how is Ryan’s behavior coupled with the deafening silence of both ICSA President Alan Scheflin and its board member Ms. Giambalvo a reflection of that claim?
Alan Scheflin certainly cannot say he doesn’t understand the weight and significance of two court rulings against Ryan. After all Scheflin is a lawyer with a LL.M. from Harvard Law School and he teaches law at Santa Clara University.
CultNews also contacted Steve K. D. Eichel, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist in Pennsylvania who has been associated with both ICSA and Patrick Ryan for some time.
Ryan cited Eichel during his testimony in court as a mental health professional that would work with him.
Dr. Eichel responded through a prepared written statement.
The psychologist said that he is “greatly pained by what has happened” and has “deep empathy and respect for the travails and tribulations of the client” that sued Ryan.
He also says that “most professional associations have mandated consequences when a member of that association breaches its ethics code” and that “an ethics code without some means of enforcement…is of educational value and little more.” Eichel added, that a “meaningful venue for enforcing an ethics code” is required or a “‘code of ethics’ is simply a set of aspirations that has no bearing on actual behavior.”
No “consequences” appear likely for Patrick Ryan due to his “breaches” through either ICSA or the TRC professional association. The only meaningful “venue” for any of Ryan’s injured or potential clients with grievances appears to be before a judge in court.
Dr. Eichel also observed that perhaps the “ethical standards put together by Ryan and Giambalvo and published by the ICSA” may be little more than “a political platform.”
This is an interesting point.
The TRC “ethical standards” can be seen as politics or advertising. And the TRC professional association essentially uses ICSA as its “platform” for business purposes.
Eichel concludes that Ryan’s current situation may “clearly demonstrate the need for some form of accountability.”
But based upon the history of this situation don’t expect any “accountability” at ICSA, the TRC group or from Patrick L. Ryan outside of a courtroom.
Update 2006: After losing a second time in court Ryan filed yet another appeal again. But this time his former clients decided that they were done with the seemingly endless and time consuming litigation process, so they did not appear in court. The case was then dismissed due to the plaintiff’s “failure to appear” (May 2006). Despite the fact that Ryan had lost twice in court, he managed to abuse the appeals process to quite literally wear his victims out, and in this way avoided paying the judgment recorded against him.
Nothing was every done to enforce the TRC ethical standards. And there was nothing done by ICSA concerning Ryan’s conduct, despite repeated court rulings against him and pleas from his former clients.