Board of Directors
Marie-Andrée Pelland is associate professor of criminology in the Department of Sociology and Criminology, Université de Moncton (New Brunswick, Canada) since 2009. In 2007, she received her doctorate from the School of Criminology, Université de Montréal. Her research was based on the polygamous Bountiful community in British Columbia. Professor Pelland is interested in issues related to victimization, criminality as well as individual and group trajectories of so-called “cultic” power relationships. She is also interested in the processes of social and identity recognition of vulnerable and marginalized individuals. Some of her research focuses on (the trajectory of) tracing the changes in repeat offenders while other studies examine the victims of sexual abuse by religious figures or within universities. She has been a board member of Info-Cult since 2009.
Michael Crelinsten has been the Executive Director of the Jewish Public Library of Montreal since 2010. As a collaborator with Info-Cult since the end of the 1980s (in particular, as a public relations consultant), he joined the board of directors in 2006. From 1977 to 1985, he worked for Katimavik, a Federal Government’s program that offers youth services. During that time, he also represented Canada on the Forum Humanum initiative (an alternative offshoot of the Club of Rome). Later, in 1987, he became the Quebec Director of the Canadian Jewish Congress until 1994, during which time he also gave seminars on intercultural conflict management tactics and strategies at McGill University (Montreal). During this time, he also chaired the Jewish, Greek and Italian Coalition on Constitutional Affairs. From 1994 to 1998, he was responsible for relations between Montreal’s Jewish community and the city of Beersheba (Israel). He then served as Executive Director of the Federation of Child and Family Services in British Columbia for two years (2001-2002) before becoming a Canadian Federal Refugee Commissioner from 2002 to 2006. Finally, he then became the Executive Director of Montreal’s Jewish Community Centre from 2006 to 2010.
Marie-Hélène Frappier holds an honours degree in political thought from the University of Ottawa, a master’s degree from the Université de Montréal and a postgraduate diploma (DEA) in philosophy from the Université de Paris. She has been a philosophy teacher since 1993 and at College Ahuntsic since 1995. Her involvement with Info-Cult dates from 1992, when she first participated as a researcher and coordinator of a documentary film on the prevention of cultic phenomena and she has collaborated with Info-Cult since then. She is also motivated by questions pertaining to the prevention of cultic thinking, ideology and the different beliefs that lie at the very heart of thought, dogmatism and totalitarian tendencies.
Michael Kropveld is Founder and Executive Director of Info-Cult, based in Montreal, Canada. Since the founding of Info-Cult in 1980, Michael has assisted thousands of former members and members of “cults,” “new religious movements” and other groups as well as their families. He has served as an expert witness on cult-related criminal and civil cases and is consulted regularly by mental health professionals and law enforcement agencies. In 2003, he published a co-authored book (with Marie-Andrée Pelland): The Cult Phenomenon: How Groups Function (translated and available in English in 2006). He is an invited speaker worldwide and has appeared on many radio and television programs locally, nationally and internationally. He also serves on the board of directors of the International Cultic Studies Association (ICSA), and as Chair of its Conference Committee. He has been involved in organizing the ICSA annual international conferences on cultic phenomena since the mid-1990s. In 1992, he was awarded the 125 Commemorative Medal by the Government of Canada “in recognition of significant contribution to compatriots, community and to Canada”, and in 2007 he received the Herbert L. Rosedale Award from ICSA “in recognition of leadership in the effort to preserve and protect individual freedom.”
Céline Castillo is a 1997 graduate in Forensic Psychology and Criminal Sciences from the University of Montpellier (France), where she also completed a D.E.A. in psychoanalysis. During the course of her doctoral studies, she received a scholarship for her research on alienation in a cultic environment. Living in Quebec since 1999, she has worked in child and adolescent psychiatry and as a consultant clinician in various institutional settings (in particular with the Youth Protection Department) or in the community (including the Center for the Prevention of Radicalization. Leading to Violence, in Montreal). Her experience as a college and university lecturer has also led her to teach in various federal penitentiaries. She was also called upon to give refresher training to mental health workers and media in hostile environments. Elected as Vice-President of the Société québécoise d’hypnose (SQH) in 2020 and a member of the Order of Psychologists of Quebec since 2008, Céline is a psychotherapist in private practice. She also acts as an expert in various family and criminal law cases since 2013. Her involvement with Info-Cult has been multifaceted since the 2000s and she co-facilitates support groups since they were set up in 2018.
Adriana Pacheco has been a member of Info-Cult since 2013 and received her doctorate in Criminology from the Université de Montréal in 2011. Adriana is particularly interested in violence against children in a religious context. She has conducted research on the Baptist Church of Windsor and on parental punitive practices in the case of four Quebec Conservative Protestant congregations. She was also editor-in-chief of the journal Criminologie from 2007 to 2012.
Louis Raphael has been involved with Info-Cult for almost 30 years, first as a volunteer and intern. He is now on the board of directors and also assists with information technology. He has a Bachelor of Civil Law from McGill University and works mainly in information technology and management consulting with exchange-listed companies.
Carolle Tremblay is an attorney with the Therrien Couture Joli-Cœur law firm in Montreal since 2012. She has a bachelor’s degree in social work (BSW) with a minor in economics from Laval University in Quebec City (1983). As a law graduate from McGill University in Montreal (B.C.L. in 1984; L.L.B. in 1988), she was admitted to the Quebec Bar in 1990. Ms. Tremblay has been working since 1994 as a private practice lawyer specializing in family law. She has also been involved in cult-related legal cases. In addition to her role as President of Info-Cult in Montreal since 2003, she is a board member of the Groupe de droit collaboratif du Québec, L’Étoile de Pacho as well as president of the Corporation du Collège Ste-Marcelline. In 2012, she received the Herbert L. Rosedale Award from ICSA (International Cultic Studies Association) in recognition of her leadership in preserving and protecting individual rights and freedoms.
Sarah-Michèle Vincent-Wright became a member of Info-Cult in 2019. Convinced that credible and verified information is an essential prerequisite to promoting human rights, she contributes to Info-Cult’s mission by overseeing the strategic direction of its Legal Affairs Committee. Her mandate is to propose action plans aimed at providing useful resources to any individuals concerned with the ideologies, functions and interpersonal relations in a cultic environment, so they can fully understand and act in full knowledge of the situation. In addition to her involvement with Info-Cult, Sarah-Michèle is passionate about human rights. She has developed an expertise in legal research within government agencies, as well as through her work as a research assistant for several law professors. She participated in the creation of the Observatory on national security measures and in the work of the Reform Committee of the undergraduate law program at the Université de Montréal. She also helped students in this program to develop their research skills in her position as teaching assistant between 2016 and 2019. She holds a Master’s of Law degree and she received an “exceptional” mention for her thesis on the interplay of gender stereotypes in the international law of armed conflict. She is pursuing doctoral studies in law, with a focus on the sexual division of labour, specifically in relation to the unpaid work of women.
Assistant to the Executive Director
A professional musician, Antoine also holds a Bachelor of Religious Sciences from the Université du Québec à Montréal. His research interests focus on the religious in its broadest sense, but more specifically: contemporary and individual mythologies, group dynamics, ideological polarization that occurs online, the protection of the rights and intellectual freedom of minors and the philosophy of education. Antoine began his association with Info-Cult in 2015, initially as a consultant and volunteer. Then, in 2017, he joined the organization as a member and as a contractual employee to coordinate various projects related to the visibility and general scope of action of Info-Cult. In January 2020, Antoine was hired as Assistant to the Executive Director, on a part time basis.
Sam joined the Info-Cult team as an Intervention Support worker in March of 2021, on a part time basis. His primary responsibilities include coordinating support groups and client communications. Sam graduated from McGill University in 2020 with a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Psychology and World Religions. His areas of interest include the development of personal narratives, trauma, social psychology, and sexual ethics.