MOVIES

Joaquin Phoenix’s Tragic True Life Story

No judgment, but it’s safe to assume that people who name their children River, Rain, Joaquin, Liberty, and Summer have a unique outlook on life. It also just smacks of two people who entered adulthood in the 1960s and fully embraced the dreamy, free-spirited vibes of the era. Eventually, the spiritual journey of John Lee and Arlyn Bottom brought them and their first two children — son River and daughter Rain — to join a burgeoning religious movement known as the Children of God.

The still-growing family was living in one of the Children of God communes in Puerto Rico when they welcomed their third child, Joaquin. However, John Lee and Arlyn decided that they needed to get out of the group once they learned of its use of a controversial practice called flirty fishing — which is when a cult enlists its female members to seduce and even sleep with men outside of the group to entice them to join. Given that the Bottoms had two daughters at that point who could’ve eventually been used for that practice, they knew they had to escape, and did so when Joaquin was 3 years old. Actor Rose McGowan also spent part of her childhood in a Children of God commune. The group’s founder, David Berg, was later accused of rampant sexual misconduct and child sexual abuse, including by his own daughters and granddaughters, but he died in 1994 before he was ever formally charged with any crimes.

If you or someone you know may be the victim of child abuse, please contact the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child (1-800-422-4453) or contact their live chat services.

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