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Suit against Krishnas is settled after 16 years

(ran NT LT CT HT editions)

A 16-year-old lawsuit against a Hare Krishna temple in Laguna Beach, Calif., has been settled, with the religious organization's agreeing to pay an undisclosed amount to a woman who claims she was brainwashed and to her mother who joined the suit.

In a case that has gone from Superior Court in California to the U.S. Supreme Court and back again, the woman, Robin George Westcamp, 33, alleged she was brainwashed into joining the Krishna temple when she was 14 and that leaders of the group took her from temple to temple in San Diego, New Orleans and Canada to keep her away from her family.

Her 74-year-old mother, Marica George, contended the search for her daughter caused her emotional distress and led to the heart attack that killed Westcamp's father, Jim George.

In 1983 an Orange County Superior Court awarded $32.5-million to the Georges in actual and punitive damages _ an amount that the attorney for the Krishna Society, David Liberman, said would have bankrupt the society.

Appeals reduced actual damages to about $1-million, and a new state trial was scheduled to decide on punitive damages.

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