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Jim Jones and The People's Temple
Practice Area: Civil Rights
Stoen vs. Stoen
San Francisco Superior Court and Jonestown, Guyana, SA
Mr. Haas became involved in what began as a child custody fight with Jim Jones and the People's Temple. The case took him on two occasions to Jonestown in Guyana where he sought to gain custody of a small boy and to help provide safe passage for those who wanted away from the widespread abuse going on in the Guyanese jungle compound.
Despite repeated warnings to Congress and the Guyanese government, including a sworn affidavit obtained from a People's Temple defector, Deborah Blakey, which would prove to be a blue print for the Jonestown Massacre, the Guyanese authorities chained the courtroom doors shut and the United States did nothing.
It was during a visit to Jonestown that Mr. Haas was accused of attempting to assassinate Jones and briefly detained. Mr. Haas had been excluded by Jones from joining Congressman Leo Ryan on the fateful trip in 1978 when the congressman and his colleagues were shot and killed.
Fortunately, his prior efforts had helped many People's Temple members to escape before the murders. After the murders in Jonestown, Mr. Haas provided testimony before the United States Congressional Committee investigating the incident and granted extensive interviews to the national media.
Related Articles and Books
Temple Leader Accused in Custody Case - News
Affadavit of Deborah Layton Blakey re the Threat and Possibility
of Mass Suicide by Members of the People's Temple (Original)
Book: SuicideCult - The Inside Story of the Peoples Temple Sect and the Massacre in Guyana
Book: Raven - The Untold Story of The Rev. Jim Jones