Here comes the Marines

Here comes the Marines

by Paul Morantz
(C) November 2011

More happened in 1977 than perhaps any other year. Dederich’s need to be controversial in the media, his desire to lower costs by thinning the population, the shortened time between new notions, the pressure to make money, all resulted in too many changes too fast. One moment the wind blew one way, then another and still another. The definition of a good Synanon person kept changing. One thing remained constant—you hop on board or you got out. CED loved you when you complied and hated you if you were “stupid” enough not to. It didn’t matter how long you were there or how loyal you had been, disobey and you were not only tossed out but labeled an enemy who should be taught a lesson.

In l977 childliness pressures continued. Bill Crawford’s year end report stated: “and 80 vasectomies were performed this year, with the promise of more to follow. Sharpen up those scalpels.”

This squeeze was joined by more new notions– to give up love relationships, get money into the elite’s private hands, control the nation’s charities and to accept a mafia identity and approach towards the media and perceived enemies. And a new problem surfaced. In Los Angeles, a young lawyer—me—entered the picture. At first it was just getting a woman in a psychotic state back to her husband, then a lawsuit, but my investigation went far beyond that case because Dederich kept screaming about me on the wire which had the affect of telling splitees I was the one to go to with tells of horror. I began to put together the big picture– A very violent picture. Worse, Synanon knew I would. Worse still, I knew Synanon would figure out I would eventually know too much—a realization that did not exactly make me feel very safe


The vasectomy craze spun into a frenzy. A father came in holding his two sons, aged 18 and 19 to have the operation together. Those still resisting were put into a 70 hour long Stew. Dederich told Bobby Kohl, his longtime personal assistant, “character disordered people should not breed.” Kohl left.

Ron Cook in August wrote Skip Ferderber to be sure to state in PR releases vasectomies are not a “rule” but a “religious position.” Apparently Bernie Kolb gave an interview and slipped by calling it a rule. Gung ho teenager Lance Kenton was first to volunteer for vasectomy in 1977. Phil Ritter, on the other hand, ran to the authorities about forced vasectomies but was not listened to by lawmen still enamored by Synanon.

On January 25, 1977,Howard Garfield wrote Judge Francis Mayer of the juvenile division at the San Francisco Superior Court in response to his concern that the court cannot make placements juvenile in unlicensed institutions. Garfield argued it could if placed with “some reputable person of good moral character or similar association. Garfield made no mention of Synanon’s use of coproal punishment. Good old State Sen. Nicholas Petrissent a copy of a similar Garfield lettersent to James Callahan of the Alameda County Probation Departmentto the legislative counsel, Bion Gregory seeking assistancein getting placements of juvenile delinquents in unlicensed facilities (Synanon in particular).

On Feb 3, a17 year old cadet working as a clerk in the San Francisco police auto theft detail, along with 2 friends, stole a car from police chief’s motor pool. The car wound up smashed into an embankment a mile and half north of Point Reyes Station. Local sheriffs began a manhunt in the fields and marshes. Two hours later came a call. One of Synanon’s search parties had found the suspects. Law enforcement was thankful but had no idea yet Synanon search parties went out also after their own suspects and then delivered the punishment on the spot or back on the property in front of a general meeting.

The childliness rule finally hit the courts. In February of 1977 a civil suit for stress and damages was filed by Jack and Marianne Tolchin who left rather than give in and abort.

Howard Garfield, the Harvard legal genius, filed a declaration re Synanon’s conversion to a religion claiming Synanon acted within its religious rights. He said Dederich was highest spiritual authority and may terminate residency with or without cause. Only board members were members of church.

Garfield declared Synanon avows to a set of beliefs, not necessarily referring to supernatural powers, “includes a cult,” an association expressing a system of moral practice resulting from their adherence to the belief in “an organization within the cult designed to observe the tenants of belief.” The purpose of Synanon religion was to attain unity and completion of an “incomplete human personality” and a system of beliefs and practices which arises among the disciples of Charles Dederich who Synanon residents believe has attained a “satisfying measure of success in his endeavors to unify and complete his personality…” The key Garfield wrote, in what was arguably oxy-moron speak, was obtaining of “self-reliance,” through cooperation with others.” The principal vehicle for pursuit of the goal is a Synanon game where each must confess to the other. Followers must abstain from sugar, take a vow of childlessness and males with five years residency are required to have a vasectomy as “irrevocable” commitment (back to being a rule). They also clip their hair to one-quarter inch in length. Holidays include “Thickened Light day,” “Cop Out day,” and “bald head day.” In describing Synanon’s hierarchy he declared that the fifth and highest level, even above the Board, is the founder, Charles Dederich, who is the court of last resort of all disputes and who can promulgate the religious laws and disciplines of the group. Garfield did not know his last paragraph would be used a year later by me to force Dederich to deposition even after he allegedly resigned from the board in order to avoid it.

No one outside of Synanon and me was putting together the puzzle of Synanon’s growing violence despite all the big pieces that were out in public view; Synanon was still receiving juveniles from county probations, mostly out-of-state who were less familiar and thus more vulnerable to the hype. The majority was still sent by parents. Michigan when asked to send juveniles to Synanon, it had the brains to inquire as to nature of Synanon’s license. Synanon promptly withdrew the request.


Synanon now had net assets of $33 million and was far away the largest corporation headquartered in West Marin. CED raised his salary to $100,000 and threw in a $500,000 pre-retirement bonus. Its squadron of planes reached 14 with 20 boats– 17 in Tomales Bay. Dederich selected a Varga Kachina aircraft to “swoop.” Ronald V. Cook, an accountant, became president. 57 percent of population were character disorder, 26 % squares, with 75 dependent children. 100 more youngsters were in the punk squad. 900 were in Marin, 300 in Santa Monica, San Franciso had 70, Oakland 100, while 50 soaked in Roman Hot tubs in Visalia. 29% of residents were there more than 5 years, 68% over two years and 78% over one year.

Adgap now produced at least 80% of the cash flow and marketed over a 1,000 items– Shaffer and parker Pens and full line of premiums. Telephone sales and re-orders by phone were emphasized. Each account was called three to four times a year, hundreds of calls each day starting at 6 a.m. PST. The “dead accounts” were turned over to the best salesmen. The taking in of “punks” was added to the sales pitch. Photos were shown of delinquents from urban cities now working as healthy Cowboys on a rural ranch and attending the Synanon flight school.

Synanon contributors numbered more than 20,000, including one out five of Fortune 500. 40% of its income came from Reliable Mortgage, 20 % from contributions.

Dederich directed more money be distributed to residents to buy more stock for Synanon investment groups. On May 16, 1977 the Board authorized bonuses to residents by lottery on a weekly basis. The Board selected the names and prizes, with Dan Garrett announcing the winners on the Sorkin Show on the wire. On May 16, 1977 $51,853 was distributed. Additional cash was provided to recipients in order to pay the income tax on it. Eighteen persons were selected to participate in the lottery including Izzy Cohen (baker) Buddy Jones (security), Bernie Kolb (old timer), Chris Benton, Matt Rand and Chris Haberman, the last 3 being Synanon legal investigators.

In May of 77 Synanon expressed interest in acquiring Hamilton Air Force Base.

Dederich bragged 3,000 communes of 60’s had perished because they lacked a businessman at the head. “Synanon is no place for a bare-footed Pope with begging bowls, it is run by rich people. We are in American phenomena, just like City of Hope, even though some of our dingbats don’t know that yet.”

16,000 character disordered had now gone though. Per Synanon Fact Sheet “The Pople Business” had by August 1,300 members, 2,400 rehab spin-offs and claimed drug addicts entering in l975 and 1976 produced 190,715 clean man days, saving society an estimated $20,000,000–all despite Synanon’s other documents saying during same time period taking in addicts was de-emphasized and what they had were to be put to use as servants in Badger. This Fact
sheet states they have accepted over 800 youngsters sent by parents or juvenile system who now receive conditional love only. They get 6 months of “housebreaking” before responsibility as members and eligible for apprenticeships. 130 currently resided, some as young as 9.

The Fact Sheet further noted a Warehouse in SF with 90,000 sq feet was donated by the generosity of the American business community. Dederich, it says “has emerged as one of America’s most original social philosophers.” New Synanon intake centers were at 740 Livernois Avenue, Ferndale Mi (Detroit), 159 Oyster Point and 2240-24th street, Synanon International 1 Berlin 36 Oranienstrasse, 175 West Germany and a 9 Janlan Hang Tuah Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia.

An outpost was established in Manila, not as a residential facility but a base for teaching locals the game, headed by 56-year old Eric Mentha, a former Swiss diplomat who served with consular corps in India and other nations for 20 years. Now a Philippines businessman Mentha had been impressed with the game following recent visits to Synanon. He had represented Switzerland in United Nations committee for Technical Cooperation with Developing Countries and lectured at University Institute of Advanced International Studies in Geneva.

On July 12 Dede wrote new intake procedures. It was to make clear whatever is donated will never be returned if anyone splits and they are to be made aware Synanon will not stand for stealing, drugs or violent behavior and will respond with force. “I’ve read some of our Connect Logs and Night Logs and get the feeling that we’re being too gentle and too reasonable with some of our nuts…Let’s make our position very clear from the very beginning.”


Maybe the most significant event in Synanon history started in March of 1977. Having left the Public Defender’s Office and been on my own since l973, so I could free lance write, the success of my nursing home/kidnapping case (See escape from Golden State Manor) lead me to conclude I might have more to give as a lawyer and so I went to work for Law Offices of Don Cohen, a small office in Beverly Hills.

Soon I met a woman with 2 kids that I planned to marry, and the CBS TV movie production of my story on surf singers Jan and Dean seemed to cement my other career as a writer. The American dream seemed a touch away. Happily I went to the movies in 77, rooting for Rocky, Luke Skywalker and learning disco dancing from John Travolta. As the Bee Gees sang More Than a Woman I was sure they were singing about the person next to me.

Then I got a call from Ted Raines (not real name) in June about Synanon having his wife and he was not allowed to see or speak to her. Suddenly middle class success seemed less important; somehow I knew the time had arrived—I was about to embark on the event that everything in my life had led me to. That I would find an answer to a burning question—who was I? (See escape from Synanon 1). I was excited; law had in reality bored me. What I couldn’t see was that I was about to jeopardize everything I loved, even my life.

I got his wife out…she was like a zombie and had to be hospitalized. When she recovered I filed the first ever lawsuit for damages for “attempted brainwashing.” Almost immediately Dederich fingered me for eventual retribution.

And while this was happening to Raines and me, on June 13, 1977 George Nevin wrote of Synanon’s new religion quoting CED: “There is nothing wrong with lying a bit to make yourself feel good. Our religion permits lying, like other religions…I think man creates his god, of course. I don’t think that God created man.” Synanon is a religion of irreverence, rather than a religion of reverence. “I’m getting into lot more of a guru image.”

During the interview the term “Holy War,” crept into the Synanon vocabulary and applied against those who would deny Synanon use of its airstrip. Synanon had now filed suit against Tulare County for its refusal to allow it use. Dederich talked with Nevin of the “quest to space,” saying NASA will need Synanon people in future as to stay locked together in a capsule so long the astronauts need the ability to play the Synanon game. Some of 1,400 Nevin wrote, think of Chuck as God and he does little to discourage it, the Old Man saying he is like Mohammed and Gandhi.

On July 15, l977, knowing nothing of Terri Rains ordeal or anything else of matter, the Department of Health Education and Welfare assigned the Foundation the Oyster Point Warehouse located in South San Franicsco– Market value $850,000–to be used for 30 years for educational purposes. A School district acquired the other half to store equipment. Located at 159 Oyster Point Blvd., it had been a surplus government property. Synanon built a divider wall and called their part Oysterdome.


In April of l977 Betty, 55, died from lung cancer after 4 months of illness. Dederich, always the before-the-time innovator, smoked marijuana with her to ease her pain. After she died, a pecial expanded Synanon magazine issued on Betty D. under Kathy Lewbel’s direction. Macy Burke held a telephone survey to find out what Synanon residents wanted in it.

Earlier, in March, the California state senate honored Betty for her works and Mayor Bradley declared April 19 a day in her honor. While Betty was dying, she received a call from Senator Alan Sieroty which was broadcast through the wire. He read a Senate Rules Committee resolution praising Betty as a “living symbol of a personal conversion possible at Synanon” and her marriage to Dederich an example of racial harmony. These officials who saluted her did not know before her death she attended Imperial Marines training camp and knew exactly what was being planned. Memorials were held at all synanon communities.

Before Betty’s death, a special game was held with Cesar Chavez and some UFW staff, with Betty participating.

By 1977 former Synanon resident John Maher, 36, who ran numbers at age10, shot heroine at 12, later a small time stick up man and burglar, who was rehabbed in Synanon from 1963 to 1971, now had 360 residents in his DeLancy Street Foundation in San Franciso. A Synanon clone, it’s “family” had moved into Pacific Heights mansion, starting businesses including a restaurant, a moving company, auto repair and construction co. Sometimes labor was exchanged to schools for education programs. Synanon degradation tools— shaved heads, etc. were applied. Their version of the game was called “circus” lead by a ringmaster who was to remake people by first taking them apart.

Time Magazine, March 4, 77 noted an American Psychiatric Association study of Synanon and other therapeutic communities wherein 5 experts wondered if drug addiction is the result of low self esteem whether the appropriate treatment is to persuade the person he is worthless? Unlike Synanon, Delancy St., however, was a 2 year program and 12 had graduated and were said to be drug free after 2 to 6 months in the outside world. Prisons were admitting residents to screen recruits and some courts were putting them there on probation. One supporter was Sheriff Richard Hongisto, who had been a fan of Synanon. Maher said he split Synanon because he felt it was withdrawing from society. Mayor George Moscone wanted to put Maher on a government board.

On April 24 l977 the 52-year-old full story Athens athletic club was demolished into 20,000 tons of rubel. At 9:30 a.m. ten explosive charges planted alongside its steel beams and concrete supports knocked it down in order to build a shopping mall as part of $170 million City Center Redevelopment Project. Erected in 1925 at a cost of 2 million it was once the center of the East Bay social whirl. Mary Pickford and Gene Harlow danced there and Amelia Earhart spoke at dinner there before her last flight. It had a lobby ceiling image copied from fifteenth century Spanish Castle, an Olympic size pool, lounges, courts and dining rooms. In 1968 it sold to Synanon for around $50,000. The city condemned it 1976.

On May 24th 1977 internally, Dederich confessed, the “character disorder” population was dropping to nothing. “We don’t have any dope fiends … that is the joke… So we don’t do anything with delinquency. As far as a dope fiend business goes, we are a fraud, we’re just a fraud. We have all of these people living on the fat of the land, a great big enormous top-heavy organization, a lot of easy jobs and the whole business and were not performing our function.

“You see, here we … with the benefits of the tax-exempt situation working half time, sitting in great luxury… And we’re not performing our function. We don’t have any punks to speak of and we don’t have any newcomers and we don’t want to hold them.”

Kaiser wrote Nevin on 9-9 saying his article on Liz Missakian was first rate and urged him to do a story on the Synanon’s distribution of goods (discussed below). Kaiser also sent a letter to IJ editor Erik Ingram on Nevin’s work and looked forward to seeing the Father Principle in print. After IJ published it on 9-14 Kaiser wrote Ingram he was pleased with father principle article. Kaiser sent along materials on Synanon conflict with government agencies such as Health Dept. and Marin probation to get into to print.

The Visalia Delta Times got sued for writing challenging pieces. SCRAP launced a “Taxpayer’s investigation of Tulare corruption.” Among questions it said it wanted answered was what officials had “hired the punks from Dinuba and Exerter to drive up to Synanon property and cause trouble?” Synanon was diverting attention from its brutal beatings of these kids (see true story of Synanon violence.)


My first shock in June of l977 was that Synanon had no license and the Health Department was not allowed in. Yet Synanon believed it could take in people showing psychotic features. I knew this was not right and begin to make inquires and push the Health Department which was already indebted to me for uncovering the skid-row nursing home scandal.

Who was I? That’s no an easy question to answer, even by me. I was a kid who had a lot of fun in high school and college chasing girls, playing and watching sports and grew up with writer, not lawyer dreams. I was affected by my heroes on the big screen, like Davey Crockett, Serpico, a prosecutor in “Z,” Mighty Mouse and Crusader Rabbit. Writing was turning out to be a success as I did major pieces for many magazines including the story of the surf singers Jan and Dean for Rolling Stone. The magazine liked it so much they flew me up for a party in my honor. I had optioned 3 stories for film but only Jan and Dean was made. But the long, hard and successful litigation against the nursing homes, allegedly with mafia connections, that paid $125 a head for delivery of skid row alcoholics who would be maintained by dosages of Thorazine, while the state was charge for their care, led me to also be a lawyer and not just a writer.

I wasn’t looking for another cause case, or so I thought. I found a woman I definitely wanted to marry, the kind who loved Christmas and somehow made you a better person than you were. She had 2 young kids who took to me and at age 31 I was enjoying having my own family. But once Synanon entered the picture, I saw them mainly on the weekends, maybe a week day tossed in.

I knew something was wrong and received a rush in knowing that I was about to embark on some legal adventure that would far exceed the nursing home case in importance.
I spoke to Al Bauman, Jerry Newmark, Izzy Cohen and several long time former residents who explained the once idealist Synanon had become something evil. One woman with a still fresh bald head told me about trained Imperial Marines, who went on violent missions, who reported through a chain of command to the top. I thought she was crazy.

And as I was getting Terri Raines out, Dederich decided it was time to squeeze out bums. He wanted it done faster than the old perpetual schools and academy attacks. He made a “squeeze list” and on June 4 1977 they were placed in an “internment camp” called the Andersonville or Slug. Jady ‘s name for it finally stuck– a Slug Camp. Imperial Marine Jim Troiano was placed in charge of this camp at the Strip. Consisting of men and women, at Jady’s directions, they were given only simple meals, worked 12 hours a day and subjected to Synanon study discussions every night. They get up the early, huff and puff and, work all day and play games and study Synanon at night. Some were sent set out to work in Santa Monica. Punitive measures are only useful for short time, but the camp should trace and be cleansing plus identify who is dedicated or not. Dederich said 45 percent of the population had been there over many years and he wanted to get rid of about 200 of them.

On June 20 it was discussed that the Imperial Marines would help teach doctors martial arts.


I filed a lawsuit against Synanon for kidnapping and attempted brainwashing.

Meanwhile, George Nevin did another puff piece on Liz Missakian for the Independent Journal, the Frenso Bee wrote on the Distribution program and the Independent journal printed Dederich’s Fathers Principle written by Synanon publicist Mike Kaiser in September, the latter re-printed by Synanon– Mothers give unconditional love and spoil the child. Synanon works on Father model– respect and love is earned. On Sept. 17, CED’s essay called “The Father Principal” was published in San Rafael Independent Journal. Dederich’s opening was intended to shock the reader and it did:

“I think the time is coming when we may have to kill our children.

“It is coming to that,” he said, referring to the public’s reaction to the current wave of roving gangs, teenage killers, etc., predicting one day someone would get angry and wipe out 400 street gang kids “and I don’t believe there will be too many mourners.”

Chuck explained society breakdown came from the way children were raised. He stated the society was a generation of character disorders which he defined as a “character that does not work as well as it should.” They have, he said, insufficient moral values to withstand temptation. While arguably predicting society some 30 years later, his theory, of course, was blamed on the events of his own childhood, the constant unconditional love of the mother, and the need as one gets older to get the love of the man of the house which is conditional, as “he wanted something for his money.”

The solution was simple: good boys and girls get good things; bad boys and bad girls get bad things. “We can do it by the simple expedient of knocking these little monkeys on their asses two or three times. They love it. Really. Then they have an anchor to hold onto. Their parameters and perimeters are sketched for them. They have boundaries; small animals are looking for boundaries.”

On one side there was good food, some friends, a girlfriend, a steady job and a comfortable bed and on other side a penitentiary, a rock pile and the “almost certain knowledge that he would get homosexually raped by some big, hairy son of a bitch…”

No one suspected, however, was that Dederich was also talking about what he was already implementing at Synanon, rewards and punishments now aimed at those outside of Synanon as well as in.


Flying Magzine did a Synanon piece and Skip Ferdeber did a story for Industry Week. Runners World slated an article for December. Big demand existed for booking Synanon outside speaking engagements with press coverage. D.D. Harvey ran workshops for speakers with the Thoreau title “Citizen’s revolt” They were looking into direct mail for monetary solicitations.

CED shed 100 pounds. Synanon members now involved in “mendicancy” (begging for donations) in order to save the world.”

“Why can’t a corporation make people happy, just as well as it can build a car.? Companies get taken over by a “Son-of-a-bitch” like me…I want things run as done at Gulf Oil so my life’s work doesn’t go ‘belly-up.’”

On August 1, 1977 Phil Bourdettewrote Judge Wilson of the Marin County Court about my failed warrant cases the previous month stating Judge Feinerman said the proper court was Marin County. Actually as to Moncharsh he said we had to go file in the divorce case. Bourdette asked for the court to warn them at 5 filed any actions at all.

Each day, summaries of Dederich’s think table topic speeches were now posted on bulletin boards at the facilities. A month later 400 pages of CED statements in court were transcribed for the CED book project

On Sept. 24 the Chair directed Steve Simon to report directly to this office on compiling CED publications (all speeches) and provide monthly progress reports. Synanon produced a pamphlet of suggested tapes and articles, called “How to Become a Synanon Fanatic.” The “disciple” notion was emerging. One becomes a disciple by studying CED wisdom. Ted Dibble was instructed at court to cease relating to Dede and relate only to Chuck.

I went back to court against Synanon that summer in an attempt to pull out a child and an 18 year old. I attached a series of declarations detailing child abuse in Synanon. The effort failed. The court would not hold a hearing for the adult and said the issue re the minor belonged in family court. But on October 6 Narda Zucchino did a story on Synanon probes that were resulting from the evidence I presented of child abuse and printed Julie Moncharsh’s declaration re beatings and punishments such as picking up pig feces with carrot sticks (See Fall from Synanon 11). When the Santa Monica Evening Outlook did the same and wire services carried the stories, Synanon claimed the stories were stopping counties and other states from sending juveniles to Synanon. Something good, I concluded, had come from the hearing after all.


On September 8, Ellen Delgado wrote Jady that older kids in the game are hesitant to speak the truth fearing they will be shouted down for being negative. “Many of the high school kids wonder what is like outside of Synanon and has secret thoughts of leaving. The girls want to buy nice clothing and feel helpless in getting what they need.” Upper school kids feel that speaking criticism in the game was just bring punishment. Field trips were not outside a Synanon, but were of Oyster Point and the Strip.

On September 15th 1977 Mike Pomerantz made it to a ranch. He was taken to the sheriff’s department but the sheriff refused to help him because he was 18. So Gambonini and another rancher chipped in and sent him home to Portland.


By 1977 the Synanon legal staff had nine lawyers and 30 support personnel. It did $100,000 of outside business in 1976 and claimed it turned down $200,000 in additional business offers. Dederich directed 50 new lawyers should be recruited into Synanon as there would be plenty of work for them to do. Dederich said there was good money in prosecuting libel suits with free lawyers.


Earlier in the year Department of Health having been advised state of Michigan wanted to send children to Synanon for care, raised the issue if Synanon should be licensed. Synanon responded that it would not take the Michigan children. But since June of l977 I was advising Dept. of Health Synanon should be licensed given it had minors and apparently was taking in people with serious medical issues other than drug addiction which was their only exemption. As I had uncovered the kidnapping of skid row alcoholics by nursing homes in order to bill Medicare, etc, I was being listened to.

And Narda’s reporting of my claims of child abuse, particularly the declarations of Michelle Silver and Julie Moncharash lead Marin grand jury on October 5th to state it would look into Synanon. Forenman Charles Weer said they were going to find out if anything is wrong. October 5, 1977 the child abuse allegations launched the Marin County grand jury to look into the allegations of child abuse. Dec. of appeared in LA times.

That same month, the Health Department then issued inspection warrants but Synanon would not allow the inspectors on the property. Dederich and Garrett held a press conference on Oct. 7th and appeared before the press with holstered guns, per Sheriff Montanos permts. Dederich took his out and played with it.

Dederich said they would look into who had joined conspiracy with attorneys and members of press, claiming the Dept. was scaring off state agencies even though “we get better results.” Dederich said if inspectors returned “we will surround them, each one of them, with guys twice their size within 1 foot of them and say, ‘All right, inspect, punk.’ Like that…were going to put them under his investigation they don’t dream of… I’m going to find out how many of those—- are practicing sodomy, how many of them are fucking sheep and everything else.” he said they would be put under a magnifying glass, “like, my God, they never dreamed of… They want to investigate?will show them how to investigate. That’s the way it is.” Dederich said would turn Synanon over to the dope fiends before he allowed state licensing.

Health apartment spokesman Robert Nance replied such remarks were comparable to those made by the late Sen. Joseph McCarthy and that Dederich threatened investigation was “strongly reminiscent of Nazi Germany.” Synanon responded by suing Nance and the health apartment for $34.7 million for claims of slander and flexion of emotional distress.

Tulare County was also not immune, as Synanon sued 17 officials for challenging Synanon’s use of airstrip, filing a $15 million civil rights action which also named the local newspaper and its publisher as co-defendants.

As to recently getting a $500,000 retirement bonus, Dederich said “I like to be paid for what I do, like any other American (a press onference). I’m not a monk. I’m an American businessman.”

Mike Kaiser said if a kids sasses they knock him on his ass. Dan Garrett admitted beating up Dinuba Punks and telling them “this is just said case what’s going to happen next time, because if you come back, or your friends come back
, it’s going to be worse.”. Also admitted in Tomales.that they captured people and shave their heads and while that may save shocking, “but nobody bothers us up up there anymore.

Dederich put it more bluntly, saying that Synanon’s prior no violence policy was “just a position. We can change positions meantime we want to.” Synanon would now parole on welcome visitors off Synanon property, saying:

“This is my Castle, anybody who wants to calm and live in it the way I do, respect me – – you get on my side, Marlys. If you misbehave in my house. All have you God damn beat up or something you see? Literally. What the Hells the matter with that? We think is great.”

Dederich also told a press of his love of guns, which were like beautiful sculptures. He said he likes to play with them on his desk or sit with empty 357 and shoot the television set one is watching TV…” I like to feel it and look at it… I throw one in the love compartment of an automobilein case you know, I am 65, I get a flat tire some punks come up and start with me or something. I’d shoot one of them in the kneecap and I’d make the other one change my tire. That’s what I would do.


Elswhere in Oct l977, the Talisman Press released the Razor’s edge, created by New Yorker Bob Fitzgerald. The magazine for fetishists was to specialize on articles and pictures illustrating the “bald headed female in America.” The project started when Fitzgerald bought a collection of photos showing female members of Synanon getting their head shaved during an initiation ceremony. Fitzgerald offered photo reproductions to a few porn papers and was floored by the staggering number of responses.

Oct 28 and 29 the Calif. Youth Authority and other agencies took a tour. They sat around the fireplace at Walker Creed Shed for 2 hour talking about corporal punishment and their lawsuits. David Chambers was impressed and took a lot of pictures to show other counselors to remove “misconceptions”. He wanted to cut through all the tape and get kids there. Then Synanon had the agency representatives play a game and they all started shouting at each other.


Dederich’s newest brainstorm was the Distribution Network. Synanon contacted major manufactures to donate slightly defected goods to Synanon which in turn would distribute the goods to charities. Matt Rand was in charge. The companies could take a write-off. After building the service up, Dederich planned to charge the donators who were getting the write off for taking the items, then charge the charities a fee for the goods– Profit the old America way.

The Distribution Network was quickly distributing millions of pounds of packaged food, frozen and fresh vegetables and fruit, baby goods, shoes, supplies and other items, even a hardwood floor gymnasium to help build handball courts. One delivery was to the city of Detroit Neighborhood Service’s Program, 110,000 pounds of frozen potatoes moved by Synanon trucks and trucking firms who donate their services. An Arkansas firm donated quantities of Turkeys not selling for tax deductions. Synanon had use of WATS line and a computer to track its network. Recipients, so Synanon would have control over who got what, had to agree not to sell or trade the goods.

“ The free enterprise system,” Dederich stated, contains within itself a system to distribute excess far more efficiently than the traditional welfare establishment…If we model our experiment in distribution of the free enterprise system, it will be more fun and more effective for everyone, including us.”

Regardless of whether Synanon was profiting, at first blush it seemed a good idea. Win-win-win for everyone. Synanon had a network of warehouses to store goods. Once it distributed 900,000 pounds of frozen vegetables throughout the nation from a farm in Idaho which had a freezer failure and the food was condemned for insurance purposes. They could not sell the potatoes and collect insurance. Synanon borrowed a freezer truck to hold the perishables and then delivered them. A carwash system from a dismantled service station was earmarked for the Boys Club to help raise funds. Food was also given to various prisons. This December Synanon delivered 40,000 bundles of frozen goods to 28 community groups and Allied Memorial Church. Rev. Cecil Williams stated it would feed 10,000 people at Christmas.

Synanon was doing a lot of work and aiding the poor. Unfortunately, Dederich saw more than charity for others and money for Synanon as fruit of this plan. Now in control of spread of charitable stressed goods, Dederich privately declared any charity that did not back Synanon publicly when they were in need would be cut off. He now had leverage on all charities. If you want goods, do as you are told.

And of course the charities didn’t know of the Imperial Marines and their “hits.”

Charles Smith, a former undersheriff, announced his running for sheriff as successor to sheriff Richard Hongisto saying it he was elected he would ask Delancy Street foundation and Synanon to supply rehabilitation programs for inmates.

And in Las Vegas, juvenile Probation officer Sandie Durgin, warned Synanon that other Las Vegas officials were inquiring into child abuse at Synanon. The memo, written by Mikey Black Synanon attorney Phil Bourdette referred to Sandie Durgin and JoAnne Bagger as “our friends in Las Vegas”who are out here to visit for the weekend a few weeks ago


On September 9, 1977 Rod Mullen issued a memorandum of procedures for taking in delinquent minors. It is to be made clear that parents are to have no contact with the minor residence for at least 6 months and there may be no visits for at least a year, and even then there is no guarantee. The parents did not accept these terms a minor is rejected. Parent should be asked for substantial financial contribution of about 1000 up front and $400-$500 a month. Synanon is not a welfare agency and they valued their work. In fact, Synanon is the “best in the world at straightening out the rats and parents were lucky enough to get the youngsters into Synanon should be appreciative.” The children are to be sold that if they split and they will most likely not be allowed back, they are given just one chance. They are to acknowledge the use of corporal punishment as “we had nothing to be ashamed of.” Any parent and by reason about punks are to go through his office. Mullen directed as to throwing a minor out, it was only to be done by his office and no one was to contact the parents prior.


Women added wearings earrings and jewelry to their bald head image.

On Dec. 15 Rod Mullen wrote to Jady re a Comuniversity Stew for children without adults, the purpose to create a commitment to Synanon. Mullen stated Jady was the role model for our “blessed childen” for them to become “soldiers.” The next Communiveisty Massive Doses, beginning Dec 18, 77 “will focus on the Holy War and will take place at the Strip. After each Dose, the group will return to Tomales and report on the experience, thus spreading the word on the Holy War.” It was copied to Liz Missakian, Synanon President.

On Dec 17 5th District Court of Appeals allowed Synanon use of airfield until final ruling made, removing a preliminary injunction issued by Superior court holding it a public nuisance. The Strip had a 4,500 foot runway.


In 1977 the drumbeat of Synanon’s new violent posture went up ten times in volume, Dederich bragged to the community of beatings they had done, young kids—the Dinuba punks, the S. F. punks, the Santa Monica Punks,the training of the Imperial Marines to attack in the future, and that he wanted the word out that you can be killed if you mess with Synanon, placing again the choice on members again to follow his notion or get out. They would be replaced by those looking for a militant, don’t turn the cheek, religion. Dederich wanted a streamlined population of dedicated individuals not exceeding 500 residents.

Those who leave are dead wood. He wanted Synanon fanatics. He would testify he never for a moment missed anyone who left. His dream had been put into a poem by Betty, before she died the High Priestess of the Synanon Religion, of “a really tight, totally committed, clipped haired, uniform wearing, total militaristic organization.”

So in November Doug Robson sent a squad at midnight to beat rancher Ron Eidson with rifle punts while Eidson’s family held at gun point watched. Eidson had gotten into an argument on the road with Stephen Granger and Rhonda Marks on November 2.

More guns were purchased and from all over the foundation individuals requested to carry firearms. The decision was to have Doug Robson make the recommendations of who would be authorized.

ThisCliff Zeppieri, a teenage diabetic, was beaten before a large gathering of residents in Tomales Bay that was broadcast live over the wire. (for full 77 violence See History of Synanon violence).

Also, in November, Atty. Andyy Weill informed Jady that children between the ages of 6 and 16 were required to attend public schools.his memo was ignored.

In December Dederich sent a mailgram to Pres. Carter saying he had read in Jack Andrerson’s column that the Presdient was taking on “obnoxious” federal agencies and advised the President that SCRAP was launching “citizens revolts” and full offensive at obtrusive state bureaucracies, as well, like the Dept. of Health, and was pleased to join Carter and “other decent tax payers” in restoring government . “God bless You.” It was cc’d to then and now California Gov. Brown, Sen Hayakaswa, Anthony Beilenson, Senator Nick Petris, Assemblyman Herschel Rosenthal, Mayors Thomas Bradley and George Moscone.

Dederich sent a full report to Gov. Brown. A “Don’t Tread on Me” flag over a coiled over rattlesnake (used in civil war) was now a Synanon emblem: “I will not live in a country that is run by bureaucrats anymore than I will live in a country run by children. They have gone beyond the pale. It’s a disease. “

Dederich said he personally donated $20,000 to SCRAP. Synanon then paid more salaries to members who then in turn donated to SCRAP.


In March of 1977 to youngsters from Dinuba lost control other car and had Synanon fencepost. When they came back the next day to retrieve their vehiclet hey found it moves inside Synanon property and when they entered the Gates shut and they were attacked and beaten (see true history of Synanon violence).
there was some talk in Synanon that this had been riot like in the needed to be more professional and their attacks.

Thus came the concept came of the Imperial Marines and the National Guard. Also in March of 1977 came Court or Think table where Dederich while having breakfast pontificated over the wire on what he wanted done, which was taped and replayed 18 hours a day with music combined; and heard on reserve channel on television sets available at all sleeping quarters. The Wheire operated eighteen hours a day during Synanon used in music

Gambonni saw human silhouettes on the Synanon rifle target range.


On January 11, 1977, Phil Ritter wrote to Diederich a long letter saying that Dederich on New Year’s Eve had convinced him that he had “finally taken complete leave of your senses when you stated that every adult Synanon mail would have to get sterilized or get out of Synanon.”

Further Ritter said he gamed and debated “this lunacy” for six days before I left.” Ritter stated that Dederich’s efforts to improve the lifestyle had resulted in a “see nothing — — do nothing ” and a “mindless acceptance of every utterance you make with no discrimination attempted between the trivial and the monumental.” Ritter said to make a man choose between sterilization and a certain loss of his family, friends and career shows “unconscionable lack of human concern” and further “marks the end of Synanon, the model community, and the birth of Synanon, the self serving fanatical religious sect.” Ritter said he could not believe that Dederich wanted only a tiny group of rich and healthy people who will consistently do his bidding without question and but one coward , himself, who would run to the district attorney before he would tell the truth “to your face.” Ritter explained that he went to law enforcement in hopes of minimizing the damage to Synanon with each additional sterilization under an edict. He did consider the news media but felt the long-term harm to Synanon might be too great regardless if it brought Dederich to his senses. So he went to the sheriff, the district attorney, the ACLU and a private attorney. He noted none would do anything saying there was no legal remedy so he ended his efforts and expressed sorrow if he damaged Synanon or Dederich personally.

Ritter said he walked away from Synanon happier and richer than when Dan Sorkin accepted him as a lifestyler in 1970 or when he first became employed in 1971. Ritter said he hopes some day to return the debt as he did not want to leave the best lifestyle he knew or give up the five-year marriage to one he loves. Nor did he want to give up his friends or the best career he had ever hoped for. Most of all he did not want to give up the certainty that his life would have more value and meaning in Synanon that he could ever achieve on his own. “Yet, my conscious dictates that I must make these sacrifices until human sterilization is returned to the domain of individual free choice outside the Synanon game. When that is done, with your support and approval, I will return to my home in Synanon.”

In a PS Ritter said he asked Dede for his personal longings and motorcycle he brought to Synanon which all had value of about $5000. There was no response so Ritter sent another note on April 8th asking if he was really had to get a court order to recover his things. He thought Dederich was taking “a pretty small lousy position to take with a guy who has put in as many late dirty nights for you as I have.”

Dederich’s response would come 20 months and 8 days later when he tried to have his Marines murder Phil Ritter.

Meanwhile Dederich started a new notion that finally got the media wondering if Synanon had turned kooky. The notion was called Changing Partners. And when Time Magazine, after its reporter was treated to a 70 hour dinner, and two hour Chuck Dederich interview,reported it accurately but with criticism, the Holy War exploded. Chuck expected to be on the cover of the magazine and possibly named man of the year, Doug’s Brew headline instead said, “LIFE AT SYNANON IS Swinging;A Once Respected Drug Program Becomes a Kooky Cult.””