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Sunday, April 8, 2007

PBS & Director Nelson Claim Jim Jones Cult's Ukiah Years Filled With "Social Advocacy"--While Covering Up Reported Killing & Terror

As you watch "Jonestown: Life and Death of People's Temple" on TV tomorrow night, or later on DVD, please keep in mind this caveat from American Heritage reviewer Allen Barra:

".....One in fact yearns for more information than we're given. We're never really told the infrastructure of Jones's organizations, or how the California and Guyana settlements were financed and built...."

Indeed. So many unanswered questions. But then again, director Stanley Nelson was swamped with all the "making up" he and Mrs. Nelson (script writer Marcia Smith) had to do.

People's Temple scholars: Prepare for landing on Leftest Planet PBS....On your mark, get set--FIND THOSE FICTION NUGGETS!

Jim Jones stands next to Tim Stoen with Grace Stoen and an unknown man holding John Victor Stoen, whom Jones claimed was his own son. image source


Wednesday, September 20, 1972
San Francisco Examiner
Page 1


By Rev. Lester Kinsolving
Examiner Religion Writer

The State Attorney General's Office has been asked to investigate the People's Temple Christian (Disciples) Church in Redwood Valley - as well as the conduct of the church's attorney, Timothy O. Stoen, who is also assistant district attorney of Mendocino County.

The written request was made by the Rev. Richard G. Taylor, who served as pastor of Ukiah's First Baptist Church for six years prior to his appointment in July as South Coastal Area minister for the American Baptist Churches of the West.

In his letter to Attorney General Evelle J. Younger the Rev. Mr. Taylor noted:

"In March of 1972, I requested that Sheriff Reno Bartolomie ask the Attorney General's Office to investigate the People's Temple and in particular the conduct of Timothy O. Stoen, attorney for The People's Temple and assistant district attorney of Mendocino County."

"Prior to that, I asked Mendocino County District Attorney Duncan James about Stoen's conduct with Maxine Harpe, a suicide whose funeral service I conducted."

"I knew that Mrs Harpe had been connected with the People's Temple Christian Church of Redwood Valley (near Ukiah). I had been informed by Mr. Stoen that prior to her suicide she had been engaged in counseling at the People's Temple, in which counseling Mr. Stoen had participated."

"Following Mrs. Harpe's death, her sister informed me that unidentifiable persons from People's Temple had occupied her sister's house and ransacked it."

"District Attorney James informed me that he had discussed this matter with Stoen, but no action was taken other than requesting Stoen to refrain from any further misuse of his office."

A spokesperson for the Attorney General's Office in San Francisco said that the requested investigation would be considered.

In Ukiah, District Attorney James confirmed the Rev. Taylor's statement that no action had been taken - but he otherwise declined to comment.

Mendocino Sheriff Bartolomie was not available for comment.

But Undersheriff Tim Shae firmly denied the claim of another of the People's Temple's three attorneys - that the Temple has armed guards at the sheriff's request.

Redwood Valley attorney Eugene B. Chalkin wrote the Examiner before any story on the People's Temple was published - as did 54 other Temple members. In his letter, dated September 11 - and hand delivered by Sharon Bradshaw of the Mendocino County Probation Department, Chalkin wrote:

"Our local law enforcement agency has requested that we have trained persons carry firearms, and we have reluctantly acquiesced to the sheriff's request."

But when this letter was quoted to Shea, the undersheriff replied:

"That is an absolutely untrue statement. We never requested this."

When informed that armed guards (three pistols and a shotgun) were spotted outside the People's Temple on Sunday morning September 10, Shea explained:

"That is private property and people may carry firearms on private property provided the weapons are not concealed."

Shea did not comment upon the letter of the Rev. Mr. Taylor who, while he was ministering in Eureka, served on the Mendocino County Planning Commission, the Community Center Committee, and as president of the Ukiah Ministerial Association in 1970.

In his letter, the Rev. Mr. Taylor also informed the Attorney General:

"What is of utmost concern is the atmosphere of terror created in the community by so large and aggressive a group, which effect is implemented by Stoen's civil office."

"The People's Temple, I understand, employs armed guards, contending that their pastor, the Rev. Jim Jones, has been threatened."

"From my experience, I seriously wonder if they have ever been threatened and whether instead they have not contrived such reports in order to justify armed guards at their services which attract crowds in excess of one thousand people."

"I have counseled with one paroled inmate of a California correctional institution who was sponsored on parole by People's Temple, but after he lived for some time in Redwood Valley, he planned to move away. Here again, a group of men from People's Temple held him incommunicado for four hours - leaving him terrified."

"For these reasons and because I sincerely believe more questionable activity is going on, I do request that your office conduct an investigation."



In the "Special Features" section on the PBS "Jonestown" film website are the video accounts of eight ex-Temple members, each clip separated by a dramatic "TURNING POINT" section in which they sensed something was "amiss" in what the director Nelson has described as a "social-activist experiment".

This fourth expose, about a desperate minister's attempt to stop Jim Jones IN 1972, was an unquestioned "Turning Point", that would bear incalculable ramifications. It would be the last published true investigation for nearly five years, thanks to the cowards on the Examiner's editorial board who caved into threats of a law suit by Tim Stoen.

All the rest of the local media, the San Francisco Chronicle, Oakland Tribune, San Jose Mercury, as well as TV and radio stations, slithered beneath their news desks as well over the thought of standing up to Jim Jones. Some of them, like the late, famed Chronicle columnist Herb Caine, in spite of the Temple revelations, unforgivably promoted the lethal cult, all the way up to the slaughter in 1978.

And what does our "informative" Nelson documentary tell us about this critical episode, when the media turned ran away at the critical hour, when there was still time to stop Jones from morphing into a political Frankenstein?

Carefully stay tuned Monday night. Record it. Listen to every word, watch every scene.

You'll find nothing.

But MISSING information isn't the only thing ailing this production. Lying outright is the biggest epidemic. And the reason for much of that is the "research team" that put together all "facts" for Stanley, which you'll find in the credits, consists of Denise Stephenson--a college roommate of Becky Moore; Stephenson, you see, controls the Temple Archives at the California Historical Society. Our other sage is "Mac" McGhee, Moore's husband, who runs the cult apologist "Jonestown Institute". Together, they are a truly mind-numbing, maybe even--shudder--brain-washing fountain of ideas.

Of course, Nelson made the final decision to buy this conterfeit load of goods and mass market it. And PBS? Well, here's the "in-depth" story they offer about this cult's impact on Ukiah, as presented in their Jonestown site's "People & Events" section:

"Indiana minister Jim Jones moved his growing family and his Peoples Temple there in 1965. In California, the Peoples Temple continued to grow and develop into a political and social advocacy group. There were still religious services, but longtime members understood that those were a means to an end: social justice and racial equality."

And, pray tell, what did PBS say in its site about this media-turning-and-running-away point in its site? Did our Jonestown Institute Of Orwellian History get 'em like they did Nelson??

In a word, yeah. Actually it was an entire sentence.

"When local reporters suggested investigating Jones and the secrecy surrounding many aspects of the Peoples Temple, their editors or publishers would discourage them."


Somebody really ought to contact PBS and suggest they stick this one in their site's "Teacher's Guide". The "ethics" section, perhaps?

One other addition they might consider. That is that HAD those craven editors at the Examiner not surrendered to Jim Jones and allowed the investigation to continue, the "rest of the story" would have seen daylight and over 900 could have had a chance. Here is one full accounting [from] of the Harpe episode that my father was on to, that has drawn from a number of post-Jonestown sources, including the book "The Cult That Died":

Maxine Bernice Harpe
Died: March 28, 1970
Hung by the neck

Maxine Harpe grew up in the small Northern California town
of Willits where she married her high school sweetheart, had
three children and settled down to a quiet life in Talmadge,
that is until 1969, when Jim Jones targeted her for
assassination. In a little more than a year, Jones and his
aides would destroy Maxine's marriage, family, career, and
love affair. They would steal her children and her life
savings and drive her to the brink of suicide.

Temple strongarm man and Mendocino County Welfare worker,
Jim Randolph, initiated a love affair with Maxine intended
to break up her marriage and bring her into the
congregation. Every relationship pursued by Jim Randolph, or
any other Temple member, required the prior approval of the
Temple's Relationship Committee and Jim Jones, who not only
issued binding judgments on proposed relationships, but also
proposed many himself. Maxine quickly fell in love with
Randolph; attesting to Jones' ability to pair villain with
victim. Spurred by Randolph's encouragement, Maxine left her
husband and moved into a Temple communal house with her
three children and Temple member Mary Candoo. During this
difficult transition period, Maxine was counseled and
encouraged by her welfare caseworker, Linda Sharon Amos, a
high ranking Temple aide who claimed to have once been a
member of Charles Manson 's gang. Amos helped Maxine secure a
job as a dental assistant at the Mendocino State Mental Hospital in

Linda Amos and Jim Randolph were only two of the estimated
fifty Temple members who had infiltrated government agencies
in Mendocino County, but their function in the Welfare
Department was one of particular importance to Jim Jones.
Together with their colleagues, Amos and Randolph were able
to license several Temple operated foster care homes and
protect several additional homes that were unlicensed and

Jones convinced his congregation that their children would
have a richer life experience living apart from their
parents. Families were disbanded and a the children, who
were now eligible for welfare assistance, were placed in
Temple foster homes. The children's welfare support checks
were signed over to the Temple and provided a substantial
portion of Jones' government subsidy. The Temple welfare
activities were not restricted to simple fraud; many Black
children were taken from the ghettos of San Francisco and
Oakland using tactics that bordered on kidnapping.

The illegal use of the Mendocino County Welfare Department
appeared to escape the attention of the Department director
Dennis Denny. Though it was impossible to ignore the Temple
foster care homes and to ignore the the Temple welfare case
workers, Denny never seemed to make the connection. Carrie
Minkler was one of the few case workers in the Welfare
Department who was not a member of the Peoples Temple. Ms.
Minkler, now retired, recalls working with Amos, Randolph
and other Temple members:

"You didn't open your mouth. You didn't mention
the Peoples Temple in our department. Even the
walls had ears. There wasn't anything that went
on in our office that Jim Jones didn't know the
next day...Peoples Temple workers went through
other workers' case files. The CIA could have
used them. The atmosphere was really tense."

It didn't take long to surround Maxine. She had a Temple
lover, a Temple house with a Temple roommate, a Temple
social worker, a Temple job with Temple co-workers, even the
attorney representing her in the divorce case was Temple
attorney Tim Stoen. The Temple was also Maxine's religion
and recreation. By March of 1970, every aspect of her life
depended upon the Peoples Temple as Jim Jones pulled the
plug on her life support system.

Three weeks before her death, Maxine received a check for
$2,493.81; her share of the divorce settlement. She signed
the check over to Randolph, whe deposited $2,000.00 in his
personal checking account and $493.81 in his savings
account, as per Jones' instructions. Once her life savings
were safely in Temple hands, everything bad happened to
Maxine at once.

Jones ordered Randolph to end his relationship with Maxine
and she was heartbroken. She was fired from her job. She had
no means of support; Randolph had all her money and wouldn't
give it back. She went to Linda Amos for financial
assistance from the Welfare
Department, but Amos not only denied her request but, in
addition, judged her a "mental depressant" and threatened to
place her children in a Temple foster care home as she was
unfit to be a parent. Her roommate, Mary Candoo, would
certainly parrot Amos' accusations.

Maxine realized she was under siege by a well organized
attacker and sought help from her attorney, Tim Stoen, but,
of course, her protest fell on deaf ears. She then turned to
the one man who seemed to be at the center of her problem.
She confronted Jones the day before her death. Jones was
furious and thoroughly humiliated Maxine in front of
Randolph and other Temple members who remember him saying,
"Why don't you just kill yourself? Get it over with!.... At
least Judas had the guts to kill himself. Others recall
Jones predicting, "That bitch (Maxine) is going to die,"
just one day before she did.

Everywhere she turned, Maxine felt an ever increasing
hostility. After the March 27th confrontation with Jones,
she was so afraid the Temple would take a more physical
approach to their harassment that she made a special request
to bring home a houseful of Temple children, whose presence,
she hoped, would discourage a physical assault. She was

On March 28th at 1:30 AM, one of the children spending the
night at Maxine's house wandered into the garage to find
Maxine dead; hung by an electrical extension cord from the
roof rafters. A hastily scribbled suicide note on a torn
grocery bag instructed the children to phone the Temple in
Redwood Valley and wait in the house until they arrived.

Jim Jones, Jim Randolph, Patty Cartmell and Jack Beam
arrived at Maxine's house sometime before
dawn. Jones waited outside in the car while the others put
on surgical gloves and entered the house to remove any
evidence of Maxine's involvement with the People's Temple.
They untied the body, lowered it to the garage floor and
disrobed it to remove a red prayer cloth that belted the
waist. Temple members often wore these blessed prayer cloths
in concealed places on their person.

The body was then
redressed and rehung, carefully re-staging the scene for the
police investigator. The aides then ransacked the house to
locate and remove anything that might associate Maxine with
the Temple. They completed their work at approximately 8:30
AM, instructed the children to phone the police, and left.

Jones was safe in his Redwood Valley parsonage at 8:57 AM
when Deputy Sheriff-Coroner, Bruce Cochran, arrived at the
death scene in Talmadge. Twenty minutes later, Randolph,
Cartmell and Beam returned to the house and informed Deputy
Cochran that the children had phoned them but that they
really didn't know why as they had never met the dead woman.
Cartmell convinced Deputy Cochran that she should remove the
children from such a gruesome scene, and consequently, he
never got the opportunity to question the only eyewitnesses.
One of the children, nine year old Tommy Ijames, would later
recall the event:

"The children called the church before they
called the police, and they came very early in
the morning. They came in there and took all the
pictures of Jim Jones out. .. (prayer) cloths
they took from her, pulled her down
off the (rafter) and took them off her waist,
anything that had to do with the church... Jim
(Jones), he stayed in the car and didn't come
out... They pulled her down and they took the
clothes off her... They were taking all the...
little pamphlets of Jim Jones, and then (after
the coroner arrived) they acted like they didn't
know her...."

The Temple death squad had left Maxine's house twenty
minutes before the coroner arrived and returned just twenty
minutes after he arrived. They allowed him enough time to
assume that he was the first adult on the scene, but not
enough time to question the children, who were quickly
transported away. Such impeccable timing was typical of
Temple operations. Like the other agencies in Mendocino
County, Jones had spies in the Sheriff's office who informed
him of their every move.

Deputy Cochran's subsequent investigation proceeded exactly
as Jones had planned. It was Cochran's job to be suspicious
and he was. There was the unusual placement of a trunk under
Maxine's feet and the unexplained presence of children and
adults, all of whom were members of the Peoples Temple. But
eventually his investigation was to center on Maxine's
financial transactions just prior to her death. Cochran
contacted Jim Randolph's boss, Welfare Director, Dennis
Denny, questioning the legality of a welfare worker
depositing a welfare recipient' check
in his personal account; especially when that same welfare
worker was present at the scene of the recipient's apparent
suicide just three weeks later.

Denny defended Randolph's
actions and assured Cochran that there was no reason to
suspect foul play or improper conduct, but Cochran was not
satisfied. He pressured Randolph for a deposition regarding
his role in Maxine's finances and reluctantly he complied.
In a sworn statement, Randolph told the police that a few
weeks after receiving the money, he transferred $2,000.00
from his savings account to Temple treasurer, Eva Pugh, to
set up a trust fund for Maxine's children. He held the
remaining $493.81 until three days after Maxine's death when
he added that to the fund as well.

If Randolph's statement
is to be believed it would seem that he helped establish a
fund for Maxine's children before herdeath. Randolph
completed the deposition but refused to sign it until
Assistant District Attorney and Peoples Temple attorney Tim
Stoen had the opportunity to review the statement. Randolph
stalled, Stoen stalled, and the statement was never signed.

It was Tim Stoen who finally convinced Cochran to drop the
investigation when he informed him that he (Stoen) was co-
trustee of the children's fund, along with, of all people,
Cochran's boss, Sheriff Reno Bartolmei. Also, to disguise
their true involvement, the Peoples Temple had contributed
an additional $470.00 to the fund, that together with the
initial money and the accumulated bank interest, totaled
$3,000.00 for the three children. Linda Amos, Maxine's
welfare case worker, buttressed Stoen's statements with her
volunteered testimony as to Maxine's depressed state of mind
just prior to what certainly must have
been her suicide. Cochran's investigation quickly lost
momentum. Maxine's death was declared a suicide. The case
was closed and, despite future pleas from ex-Temple members
and the press, it was never reopened.

Richard Taylor, a local Baptist minister who knew Maxine
Harpe, was not satisfied with the superficial investigation
into what he believed as murder. Aware that the Temple
controlled most of Mendocino County, Taylor presented his
arguments in a long letter he sent to the state attorney
general's office in which he asked the state to investigate
Jim Jones' role in Maxine Harpe's death. Taylor was invited
to present his evidence to a deputy in the attorney
general's office but when he appeared to testify in
Sacramento, his notes on Jones were confiscated and he was
told that there would be no investigation due to
"insufficient evidence."

Immediately upon his return to
Ukiah, Taylor and his wife were deluged with threatening
phone calls that they believed "originated from the People's
Temple." Intimidated and frightened, the minister dropped
all attempts to prove that Jim Jones had ordered Maxine
Harpe's death.

Randolph may have avoided signing a statement for the police
but he did not avoid signing a blank statement for Jim
Jones. It wasn't long before he realized his mistake when
Jones presented him with a copy of his previously signed
blank statement which was now a typed confession to the
murder of Maxine Harpe. Only then did he understand why
Jones had instructed him to deposit Maxine's money in his
personal bank account and why he insisted Randolph be
present at the scene of the crime.

The police already
suspected him, and their suspicion, along with the signed
would certainly convict him of murder; especially since the
foreman of the Mendocino Grand Jury, who would bring down
the indictment, was none other than Jim Jones. Randolph was
promoted to the Angels and his only way out was a lifetime
sentence in prison. To further implicate him in Maxine's
death, Jones called him in front of a closed meeting of the
Temple's Planning Commission and, with a dozen witnesses
present, he accused Randolph of killing Maxine. He shouted,
"You know you did it (killed Maxine)!" But for all of
Jones's badgering, Randolph said nothing in his own defense.

Rumors of the Temple's involvement in the death of Maxine
Harpe continued to circulate in the press. Two and a half
years later, Lester Kinsolving penned a series of articles
in the San Francisco Examiner, in which he accused Temple
attorney Tim Stoen of wrongdoing in his counseling of Maxine
just prior to her alleged suicide. Stoen refuted the charges
in a statement that appeared in the Ukiah Daily Journal,
dated September 21, 1972, in which he said:

"The woman referred to (who was not,
incidentally, a member of my church) was
somebody I did not know, had never talked with,
and certainly had never counseled."

Stoen could not have forgotten that he represented Maxine in
her divorce or that he was a custodian of the fund for her
children or was instrumental in suppressing the coroner's
investigation into her death. He must have felt extremely
threatened to publicly report such a blatant, bold-faced

Jones profited from Maxine's death in several ways. He
gained a new Angel; a competent, intelligent slave, Jim
Randolph. He received the $3,000.00 trust fund and the three
children who, following their mother's funeral, were placed
in Temple foster homes and enrolled in the welfare system.
Their welfare support checks were signed over to the Temple
that profited at least $10,000.00 from overcharging the
welfare system and under-caring for the children.

In 1977, a special prosecution unit of the San Francisco
District Attorney's Office, looking into allegations of
illegal activities in the Peoples Temple, cited what their
subsequent report termed "Welfare Diversion," but rather
than pursue the investigation, the DA's office referred the
matter to the city's Department of Social Services and the
City Comptroller's Office with the recommendation that any
evidence that surfaced should be submitted to the DA's
welfare fraud expert, Don Didler. Didler, following the lead
of Mendocino County's Welfare Director, Dennis Denny, did
absolutely nothing. Together, Didler and Denny were very
effective in protecting the Temple's federal welfare

In retrospect, Maxine Harpe's story was a study in microcosm
of the events that would occur some eight years later in
Jonestown, Guyana.

In both cases, the victims were
systematically stripped of all self-esteem and lured into a
total dependence on Jim Jones, who, at the proper time,
denied them everything. Suicide appeared to be the best, if
not the only, alternative. It will never be known whether
Maxine's death was a suicide or a murder. She may or may not
have actually wrapped the wire around her neck, just as the
residents of Jonestown may or may not have voluntarily taken
poison; regardless, there is no doubt that Jim Jones killed
them all.

The Maxine Harpe death is but one of a half-dozen unsolved killings connected to People's Temple during its California phase. Director Nelson, with the invaluable assistance of his "Jonestown Institute," skillfully buried these bodies in his film, as if they just don't count.

But Nelson has much company in Obfuscation & Coverup, Inc. Too many of today's reporters are every bit as gullible as when they gave the People's Temple so much priceless promotion in its assent. Sacramento Bee reporter Jennifer Garza, for instance. Her 25th Jonestown Anniversary piece "What Was The Lure?" provided a fine sounding board for our two lively apologists, Moore and McGhee, just as Nelson does in featuring them as film narrators.

"People joined [the cult] because that's where their families went," claimed McGhee. "And in the end, they stayed because that's where their families were."

That's an interesting contrast to what defectors Grace Stoen, Jeannie Mills, and others said what "encouraged" cult members to remain captive: Anyone who tried to leave was promised they'd be murdered.

Maybe that's what Nelson really means whenever he crows about this notion of Jim Jones's fulfilling those "promises."

Our astute reporter Garza allows Becky Moore to unleash a blast of apologist methane. Garza prefaces this with the news that "many religious scholars are reluctant to describe People's Temple as a cult."

Religious scholars--such as our very own Prof. Moore.

"That's a term we use to describe religious groups we don't like," Moore says. "But it's so loaded with negative connotations. If we label something a cult, then we don't make any effort to understand it." But of course. And that's just why the very accomodating Nelson gave Becky the on-camera cue to enlighten viewers that the People's Temple, in fact, was nothing more than a "Black Church." (Yes, some "issues"...but surely none egregious enough--like the Harpe case--to apply the "c" word.)

Finally, Garza allows her this rosy seal of approval: "Moore adds there are many people who still praise People's Temple and much of the work the church did."

Praise be, indeed. Now let our public somehow survive the effects of such stupefying media messages.


1 comment:

Rose said...

fonebone mentioned Dennis Denny - here's one (incomplete) newspaper story from 1979 Ukiah Daily Journal, AFTER the Jonestown Massacre. It appears Denny was not oblivious to the problems. I'm curious how this matches up with any information you have, Tom about the increases in the welfare and foster kid rolls in Ukiah...

Front page portion of article is missing, but appears to be about Denny's battle with the Temple. He apparently would not allow kids to be placed with the Temple.

page 2 Ukiah Daily Journal, Ukiah, Calif, Friday March 9, 1979

Cont from page 1

Said Denny, "We do not believe that any children were placed from this county in (Temple) foster homes here. But we're waiting to substantiate that. Our best evidence over the last two years is zero."

A "few" children placed here by other counties, he added, may have died in Jonestown.

Denny said his department didn't place children in temple foster homes because it believed they would not have "freedom of choice" in "religious training."

"We can't even count on one hand - over ten years - where we placed a kid in one of these licensed homes of theirs," said the welfare director. "Maybe we might have put one in for a day or two until we could find a place - because we had to put a kid where there was a bed - but we here didn't place them."

Asked what the department's policy was, Denny replied, "I'm saying our referral procedure was never to use any of their homes."

Because the department kept a close watch on foster children placed in homes it licensed temple members increasingly opted for legal guardianship, a tactic which removed them from social services jurisdiction.  (Meaning the county welfare dept. was circumvented & the kids became wards of the state thereby eliminating local scrutiny.)

Denny said temple members became legal guardians to 25 children in Mendocino, San Francisco, Alameda, Contra Costa and Los Angeles Counties.

Four of the seven children in Mendocino County guardianships died at Jonestown, according to Denny, who said three children from Bay Area guardianships also died there.

Dewy said the four dead youngsters from local guardianships did not come from here originally, but just where they came from remains a mystery.

He would not release the names of children involved in temple guardianships, saying they were confidential on orders from Mendocino County District Attorney Joe Allen and the U.S. General Accounting Office, which is investigating foster child placement and the temple.

Former Mendocino County Assistant District Attorney Tim Stoen said temple attorney Eugene Chaikin did the legal work for temple guardianships in Mendocino County, according to Denny, who mentioned but didn't reveal "documentation" supporting his assertion.

Denny also said Jones brought or had placed here approximately 150 foster children who were "in and out" of licensed and unlicensed homes between 1966 and 1977?

More than 100? of the imported youngsters were from the Bay Area and Los Angeles, living illegally with temple families not licensed to have them, alleged Denny who recalled, "We then were asking those jurisdictions in the Bay Area what was going on and why they were placing those kids here without our authority."

When social services discovered children in unlicensed temple homes, it forced Jones to send them back to where they had come from, he said.

Denny declined to name Bay Area probation officers and social workers who were sending foster youngsters to licensed or unlicensed temple homes here.

Although People's Temple didn't include child abuse in the repertoire of twisted behavior that led to Jones town, some of its members allegedly practiced it at home in ways ranging from beatings to sexual molestation, according to the social services director.

Denny, who could not "hazard a guess" as to the total number of Child Protective Service cases involving temple adults, said that in five of the cases, Jones or his aides intervened on behalf of the accused and hired the "best" attorneys for them.

The cases are not public record, said Dewey, declining to name the "best" attorneys.

Nevertheless, parents who were temple members committed no more child abuse than members of any other...

article clipping ends there

...religious group, said Denny whose department monitored the temple very closely for violations against children.

Neither informants nor anyone else, said Denny, reported child abuse or batterings at temple meetings. "We never," he said. "went to the temple and saw a kid that had been beaten in the temple - never happened, never happened."

Relying on reports from ex-members and informants, Denny said that what took place at the temple was "at least" paddling and usually the paddling of adults.

Even though social services didn't make life easy for Jones in Mendocino County, Denny said Jones left the area mostly because of the income, power and ego, rewards big cities offered.

"I think he had to broaden his base, he had to get to San Francisco, and set up a base there where he could control the political environment..."

"I don't think he did that up here, I didn't see it then, and I'm not seeing it in retrospect now."

According to Denny, controlling the political environment largely manipulating politicians by showing an ability to produce votes for or against them, and "in the arena down south that's an acceptable practice."

Outside Tim Stoen, Denny didn't think Jones controlled powerful people in Mendocino County, nor did Denny have any evidence to show Jones controlled public agencies like the Ukiah Police Department or the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office.

Were Denny's efforts to stop Jones from breaking welfare law in Mendocino a success?

"He survived," said Denny, "I'm questioning the success. You can always do better. We did as good a job as we could at the time - I'm convinced of that, yes."

Life seems quaint now at the Mendocino County Social Services Department.

Welfare applicants sit in a tiny waiting area with a soda machine.

Venetian blinds cleave the sunlight of a winter afternoon.

Behind a tall partition shutting out the waiting area, department staffers go about their well-oiled business in the systems and procedures labyrinth.

Dennis Denny is working another endless day.

He has a lot to do this month, sending the Mendocino County Grand Jury information about the man who again permeates his life, about the war that was hot and cold, the success of internal security, the way he could admire Jones' charisma and detest his duplicity.

Denny may one day testify before the grand jurors, who no doubt will listen to his story of his war against apocalypse with a measure of awe, humility and gratitude - and perhaps with some perplexity over what measures government should take to curb a religion's abuse of freedom.