Nine persons, including the mother of the victim, have been charged in Montgomery County with abducting a 23-year-old member of the Rev. Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church.
Karen Marie Mischke, who was described as an office worker in the church's home on Upshur Street NW, was allegedly kidnaped last month while visiting relatives in Montgomery County.
The indictment charged that she was driven to North Carolina and kept there for about eight days. She allegedly escape March 21 while being driven from North Carolina through Maryland to an undisclosed location.
The indictment does not discuss the motive for the alleged kidnaping. It comes at a time of intense controversy nationally over efforts by parents of "Moonies" and Hare Krishna adherents to retrieve their children and persuade them through "deprogramming" to renounce the sects.
Informed sources said these allegations do involve a "deprogramming" attempt and that two of the persons charged are deprogramming experts.
The indictment handed down by a county grand jury said that the women's mother, Anna Nunner Metzger of Raleigh, N.C. joined the others in carrying out the kidnaping.
The mother and four others were allegedly riding in the car with Mischke when they stopped at a gas station near the Capitol Beltway. Mischke went to get a drink of water in the gas station and there telephoned for help, the indictment said.
Mischke first called police and then called the Washington law firm of Melrod, Redman and Gartlan, which has represented the Unification Church in several similar incidents.
Police took Mischke and the five other persons to the Silver Spring station, officials in the state's attorney's office said yesterday. However, the five persons were not then charged with any crime.
Police turned the matter over to the state's attorney's office. Mischke and other unidentified persons testified before the grand jury, which then issued an indictment. State's attorney's officials said that bench warrants will be issued for the persons named in the indictment.
Charged in the indictment along with Metzger are: Jerry Morgan of Raleigh, N.C., LaVerne Stamper of North Hills, N.C., a man identified only as Calvin of Raleigh, N.C.; a woman identified only as Doris of North Carolina; John W. Beale of Henderson, N.C., a man identified only as Mark; Michael Dennis McAvoy of New York City, and Paige Goulding Stetson of Rye, N.Y.
Each person has been charged with one count each of kidnaping, false imprisonment, assault and conspiracy to kidnap. If found guilty, they could face sentences up to 60 years.
Reached at her home in North Carolina Metzger apparently was unaware of grand jury indictments. She said when informed of it, "No I won't talk about it. I will go and get an attorney."
According to Roy Niedermayer, Mischke's attorney, Mischke joined the Unification Church about three years ago in Raleigh. She spent some time at the church's headquarters in Tarrytown, N.Y. and at another location before coming to Washington, Niedermayer said.
Barbara Mello, chairman of the Maryland State American Civil Liberties Union, said the indictment was good news. "Perhaps this will get the whole religious deprogramming issue out in the open in this state."