Synanon Calls Sex Tapes "Liturgy" - Group Claims Constitute Protects Wife-Swap Records

San Diego Union/November 2, 1979

San Francisco - Synanon Foundations claims tape recordings detailing wife-swapping are part of the organization's "religious liturgy," the San Francisco Chronicle says, quoting court documents.

Synanon, a controversial drug and alcohol rehabilitation program, is making the claim in an effort to keep the state attorney general from examining Synanon tapes and documents held by Time Inc., a Chronicle story said. A Synanon attorney said the Chronicle story was false and libelous.

It was in 1977 that Synanon founder Dederich decreed that members of the commune should enjoy a new marital experience and switch partners, the Chronicle store said.

Portions of the tapes and other documents were turned over to the court in connection with the attorney general's attempt to get Time's files on Synanon.

The documents, containing excerpts from Synanon tapes and documents, were filed by Joseph Remcho and Paul Lamphere, attorneys retained by Synanon. Included are details on much of what Time had learned about Synanon to support its defense of the libel charges.

In the suit, Synanon claims that all explicit references to the switching, extracted from 400 hours of tapes and numerous documents, are part of the sacraments or confessionals sacred to the Synanon religion.

Deputy Attorney General Charles Just told Judge Koninger in an August affidavit that the state wanted Time's files on Synanon because it was investigating "violence and assaults by Synanon officers and members." He also said his office was investigating whether Synanon had respected state laws governing tax-exempt organizations.

Kroninger ruled that the state could subpoena all of Time's evidence except that dealing with sex. Synanon is appealing the decision in the appellate court and U.S. District Court in Sacramento. Synanon attorneys argue that if the subpoena is enforced, "the Synanon church will have its religious rights laid bare to the state."

Synanon Foundation is offering to sell a 62-acre parcel of land in Marin County for $6.75 million and another parcel for $1.5 million in San Francisco. The foundation seeks to achieve "a better cash Position" - "only a small portion of real estate holdings are being sold.

To see more documents/articles regarding this group/organization/subject click here.