Ford Greene

Ford Greene

Infobox Person
name = Ford Greene

image_size = 120px
caption = Aylsworth Crawford Greene III
birth_date = Birth date and age|1952|12|21|mf=y
birth_place = United States flagicon|USA
death_date =
death_place =
occupation = Attorney,
Specialty: Cult litigation
spouse =

Aylsworth Crawford Greene III (born December 21, 1952) is an American attorney from San Anselmo, California, noted for having successfully conducted litigation against alleged cults. He is an elected San Anselmo Town Councilman.


Ford Greene began studying law at the New College of California Law School in 1978. He was admitted to The State Bar of California in 1983.

Unification Church membership

He joined the Unification Church in 1974 after his sister Catherine had joined, and walked out in July 1975 after eight months.

Deprogramming activities

From 1976 to 1978, he deprogrammed about 130 [ [ Cult Busters] , Deutschlandfunk, June 19, 2007] members of the Unification Church (or "Moonies"), including the Prince of Tahiti. He failed to deprogram his own sister, who is still in the organisation.

The "deprogrammer" character in the film Ticket to Heaven was based on his work. [ [ Who Is Rev. Moon? 'Returning Lord,' 'Messiah,' Publisher of the Washington Times] , AlterNet, March 15, 2008, by John Gorenfeld]

Litigating against cults

In Molko v. Holy Spirit Assn., [ [ Molko v. Holy Spirit Assn.] ] Greene represented two former members of the Unification Church, David Molko and Tracy Leal. Ruling on appeal, the California Supreme Court found that religious organizations may be sued for fraud if they use deception to recruit members - the members of the Unification Church who recruited Molko had lied when he asked if their community had a religious affiliation. The Supreme Court declined to review, and the case was settled.

In State of Colorado v. Whelan and Brandyberry, Greene successfully used a "choice of evils" defense in a criminal prosecution of a "deprogrammer" against charges of kidnapping and false imprisonment.

Greene has represented a number of clients against Scientology. [cite web | first = Lucy | last = Morgan | title = Hardball: When Scientology goes to court, it likes to play rough -- very rough. | url = | work = | publisher = St. Petersburg Times | date = 1998-01-28 | accessdate = 2007-10-27 ] In Wollersheim v. Church of Scientology of California, he was part of a team (with Charles B. O’Reilly of Marina Del Rey, Daniel A. Leipold of Santa Ana, and Craig J. Stein of Los Angeles) that represented former Scientologist Lawrence A. Wollersheim and successfully sued for emotional distress. It resulted in a $2.5 million judgement that grew into a $8.7 million payout due to accumulated interest after over 20 years of litigation. [cite web | first = Richard | last = Leiby | title = Ex-Scientologist Collects $8.7 Million In 22-Year-Old Case | url = | work = | publisher = Washington Post | date = 2002-05-10 | accessdate = 2007-10-27 ]

In Bertolucci v. Ananda Church of Self Realization, he won a $1.625 million jury verdict for fraud, coercion and sexual exploitation.

Free speech activism

Greene has been in a controversy about a sign with liberal messages next to his law office. After San Anselmo police pulled down his sign in 2003, Greene sued the city. After a new sign ordinance was passed limiting the size of signs to 6 square feet, Greene put up 16 small signs together to form a large one. A court declined to stop this, deciding that the town could only limit the size, not the number of signs. Greene later settled the dispute, by agreeing to use only half the space for messages. cite web | first = Ron | last = Russell | title = Sign of the Cult-Buster | url = | work = SF Weekly | publisher = Village Voice Media | date = 2005-10-05 | accessdate = 2007-10-27 ] [ [ Town, lawyer settle sign dispute] , Marin Independent Journal, October 20, 2005]


Greene has been elected to the San Anselmo Town Council in November 2007. [ [ Greene, Thornton win San Anselmo race] , The Marin Independent Journal, November 11, 2007] It is his second attempt; in 2005, he came 300 votes short of being elected. [ [ Sparks fly as town picks new council member] , Marin Independent Journal, October 19, 2006]



* Finalist, [ Trial Lawyer of the Year award] , 2003 (by the organization Trial Lawyers for Public Justice) for his success in the Wollersheim case, lost to Tony Serra.



* [ Litigating Child Custody with Religious Cults] , "Cultic Studies Journal", Vol. 6, No. 1, 1989

External links

* [ Official Ford Greene Home Page]
* [ Ford Greene page by Gerald Armstrong]
* [ Ford Greene profile at ICSA]
* [ Ford Greene: attorney at odds] Article by the Marin Independent Journal
* [ State Bar of California about license status]

ee also

*List of cult and new religious movement researchers
*List of anti-cult organizations and individuals

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