Paul Morantz is a Los Angeles-based lawyer who has specialized in cult and brainwashing cases for over 30 years, specializing (perhaps the only attorney to do so) in litigating against cults and self-help groups raising the issue of brainwashing. He also specialized in suing psychotherapists and religious leaders for dual relationship violations and undue influence and was a co-founder of priniciple that psychotherapists are absolutely liable to patients they have sex with. In addition to practicing law, he is an author of numerous screenplays, books and magazine articles.
Graduated USC school of journalism (Sports Editor) and then went on to the USC School of law.
In 1974 Morantz uncovered a criminal conspiracy to kidnap skid row alcoholics and sell them to nursing homes where they were kept sedated while Medicare was billed. Morantz then testified on nursing home abuses at public hearings and aided setting up district attorney task force on nursing home crimes.
In 1977 Morantz began a battle to expose Synanon for civil liability for brainwashing and other torts and for criminal conspiracy to commit terrorism against its enemies. In 1978 Synanon tried to kill Morantz by placing a 4 rattlesnake is his mailbox. Investigations led to the arrest of Charles Dederich and two Synanon Imperial Marines. Morantz then assisted state wide prosecution and became a consultant to the United States Department of Justice in a tax case against Synanon that eventually shut the organization down.
In l978, at the request of Los Angeles Policed Intelligence Division the thwarted a plan by est founder Werner Erhard to train the entire Police Department.
For over the next 30 years following Synanon Morantz specialized (perhaps the only attorney to do so) in litigating against cults and self-help groups raising the issue of brainwashing. He also specialized in suing psychotherapists and religious leaders for dual relationship violations and undue influence, particular sex with their clients/followers.
He has had cases against Church of Scientology, People’s Temple, Moonies, Krishnas, Rajneesh and Center for Feeling Therapy (therapeutic community run by doctors who beat their patients, had sex with them and controlled their lives–has been considered the worst psychotherapy scandal in United States History and resulted in year long license removal hearings). He twice over two decades went after a psychologist/minister, John Gottuso, who sexually abused his female followers. The second time (after he lost his license) victims included the daughters of followers placed in his church run school in which he was principal and taught bible class. In another case Morantz went after a psychotherapist who converted his patients to Hasidic Jews so he could become their rabbi and control their lives.
One of his most important cases involved serving as pro bono appellate counsel in Molko vs Unification Church in 1988 wherein the California Supreme Court recognized the existence of brainwashing and the right for victims of it to sue for damages. From this he argues today, if we recognize the victimization why are we not applying it in consideration when such victimization is the encouragement of criminal acts by the victims.
Morantz has lectured publicly and counseled law enforcement on the mindset of crusading terrorists. He taught class at USC on the subject. Showtime had a film project on Morantz but shelved it..
Morantz has consulted with the United States Department of Justice, LAPD SWAT, Los Angeles District Attorney, and has lectured other law agencies. He helped write the current California law on right to sue churches for punitive damages and his crusade against John Gottuso caused California to pass a law safeguarding against private teachers with similar pasts.
He also was a freelance writer (Rolling Stone, L.A. Magazine, Coast, a CBS TV Movie of the Week). The latter, “Deadman’s Curve” the story of surf-rock stars Jan and Dean is ironically referred to by many as a “cult” classic. Following 9/11 he wrote a piece giving a different perspective on the John Walker Lindh issues from a psychological and historical view with comments on past public responses to crusading terrorist who may themselves have been victims of those prey on those in search for life’s answers.