Group set up to help defectors of Island Pond sect

Source: Factnet archives via Xenu directory
6 January 1983
Prompted by a controversial religious sect in Island Pond, a statewide group
has been formed to provide support and assistance to people trying to flee cults
that use alleged mind control techniques on their members.

    Spokesman Alan Bouffard of Winooski said this week the organization - dubbed
The Individual Freedom Association -- is intended to help would-be defectors of
groups such as the fundamentalist Northeast Kingdom Community Church in Island

    Bouffard, who Tuesday was elected president of the association, said its
activities will not be limited to the Island Pond sect, however.

    He said he nearly joined the communal religious group in 1979, but turned
away "by the grace of God" when church elders refused to answer his questions
about discipline of children and church finances.

    Suzanne Cloutier of Orleans has been named director of the group.

    Ms. Cloutier last fall began organizing opposition to the Island Pond church
after a former member, during the course of a child custody case, charged the
sect routinely uses abusive methods to discipline its children.

    The charges received widespread publicity, and gunshots were fired into a
church-owned restaurant last month shortly after an emotional meeting organized
by Ms. Cloutier.

    The church and its roughly 300 Island Pond members, meanwhile, have drawn a
curtain of silence around themselves -- quietly operating their businesses,
declining interviews and refusing to respond directly to charges by their

    Other officers of the new organization include Rene Berard of South
Burlington, vice president: Dan Lynch of St. Albans, secretary and legal
counsel; Sally Boutin of Williston, vice-secretary; and Frank Hammond of
Wolchester, [town name uncertain] treasurer.

    Bouffard said the association will be formally incorporated with the
Secretary of State's office later this week.

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