Fargoan says deprogrammer helped strengthen her faith

By Betsy Gerboth

Jill Hutchinson, whose "deprogramming" ended before its scheduled completion date this week, doesn't think the efforts of her deprogrammer were in vain.

"The MasterPath is the only thing that got me through this," Hutchinson, 23, of Fargo, said Friday. "While it was going on, I realized that they can't take it away from me. That made the whole thing a learning experience for me in understanding myself."

Hutchinson is back home with her 23-year-old boyfriend, Andy Haugh, another MasterPath follower.

Hutchinson, who knew about the earlier deprogramming of to former MasterPath followers, suspected she was being taken to a deprogrammer July 6 when she was put into a car with family members: "I thought, 'Fine, I'll go in and talk to the guy, hear what he has to say, and then I'll leave.'"

But it didn't take long to realize that she wouldn't be going anywhere soon. "I noticed that the fridge was stocked with food, and there was a suitcase full of new clothes that they'd bought for me," she said. "The windows had screws in the top and couldn't be opened, and they told me there was an alarm system in the house. They unhooked the receiver from the phone and kept it with them.

"I asked them 'How long do I have to be here?' And (deprogrammer) Rick Ross said, 'Until we know you're thinking right.'"

By Tuesday, security had gotten more lax, and Hutchinson found herself in the kitchen with a telephone, complete with receiver. She called and left a brief message for Haugh - "1337 8th Street. Get the police" - and waited for help to arrive.

When two officers rang the doorbell shortly after noon, Hutchinson says, Ross turned to her and said, "Now you've done it."

Discussions unsued, and Hutchinson went onto the front porch, where she found Hague. When a police sergeant and Lt. Pete Mariner arrived, Hutchinson's father had a discussion with them, after which the police asked Haugh to leave.

"My father said, 'We're going back inside and talk about it.'" Hutchinson said. "I said, 'No, Dad, it's over. I'm going.' He started to force me into the house; I braced both my arms against the door frame, and I screamed at the police, 'Are you going to let them do this?' Then my father picked me up, kicking and screaming, and hauled me boldly into the house."

Hutchinson's father, A.G. Hutchinson, said earlier this week that he told the police he was discussing a difficult subject with his daughter, and that they turned the matter over to him. He said he pushed Jill back into the house "with a little bit of excessive force."

Hutchinson was released about two hours after the police left. She has been home with Hague since then.

Although she bears no ill will toward her parents for what they did, she believes their deprogramming attempt was unwarranted.

"I feel no malice toward my parents," she said. "I understand what they did out of fear, but I don't agree with it. I think it stunk. They showed a complete disregard for me and for themselves.

"I'm not negating their perspective of their understanding of love, but I have my own. I think what they did was childish and selfish."

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