Week in Review Volume 7, Issue 7
5/19/2002 by Rod Keller [rkeller@...
Alt.religion.scientology Week in Review summarizes the most significant
postings from the Usenet group Alt.religion.scientology for the preceding
week for the benefit of those who can't follow the group as closely as
they'd like. Out of thousands of postings, I attempt to include news of
significant events, new affidavits, court rulings, new contributors,
whatever. I hope you find it useful. Like many readers of a.r.s, I have a
kill file. So please take into consideration that I may not have seen some
of the most significant postings.
The articles in A.r.s Week in Review are brief summaries of articles
posted to the newsgroup. They include message IDs for the original
articles, and many have a URL to get more information. You may be able to
find the original article, depending on how long your site stores articles
in the newsgroup before expiring them.
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> Delphi School
The North County Times reported on April 30th that a new Delphi School is
planned for San Marcos, California.
"The Old Richland Schoolhouse will soon be a school again. Arie de Jong,
the owner of the building that served as a reception hall for nearly a
decade, said Monday that Delphi Schools Inc. signed a five-year lease on
the building effective April 1. The private school, which has a campus in
La Jolla, plans to hold an eight-week summer session at the site starting
June 24. The regular session is slated to start Sept. 3, said Stacey Ruiz,
the headmistress of the soon-to-open Delphi Academy of San Marcos.
School officials will also use the facility at 134 Woodland Parkway for
weekend social events such as wedding receptions or dinners, de Jong said.
The school can serve up to 80 students.
"Ruiz said that 30 students will be in the summer session and that 35 will
begin school in the fall. The San Marcos campus will serve kindergarten
through third grade, while the La Jolla campus serves kindergartners
through sixth-graders. Ruiz said she and her partner, Chris Gerson, the
headmistress of the La Jolla school, wanted a site in North County and
found the one in San Marcos by accident.
"The school is going through the permitting process with San Marcos, Ruiz
said. Its enrollment could grow, she added. Delphi Academies focus on
individual learning and teaching students at their own pace, she said.
There's one teacher for every 15 children."
The Associated Press reported on May 17th that the Paris Scientology org
has been fined for mishandling personal information of its members.
"A French court on Friday fined the Paris branch of the Church of
Scientology for a data protection violation but acquitted the church of
attempted fraud and false advertising in connection with its efforts to
recruit and keep members. The court fined the church 8,000 euros (about
dlrs 7,300), while imposing a 2,000-euro fine (dlrs 1,824) on Marc Walter,
the president of the Ile de France section that includes Paris. The court
also declined to impose the harshest penalty sought by prosecutors - an
order to disband the church's Paris branch.
"The church said it would appeal the ruling, saying that it violated the
European Convention on Human Rights. 'The decision is an attempt to apply
commercial law to prohibit religious expression. It is an intolerable
interference by the state with the religious freedom won from 2000 years
of history in Europe,' said Leisa Goodman, human rights director for the
Los Angeles-based church.
"The conviction stemmed from a complaint by a former member who said he
was bombarded with publicity materials even though he wished to end his
From CNN on May 17th:
"Scientologists have likened the trial to a witch hunt and say their faith
is a religion like any other. The church has 40,000 members in France,
including 20,000 in Paris. In France, it is placed on a list of nearly 200
groups under surveillance to prevent cult activities. The church is to a
significant extent devoted to the personality cult of L. Ron Hubbard, who
died in somewhat mysterious circumstances in California in 1986 leaving a
corporate empire worth millions of dollars as well as a huge personal
From Agence France Presse on May 17th:
"The church was cleared of the more serious charges of fraud and spreading
mendacious publicity. The National Union of Associations for the Defense
of Families and the Individual (UNADFI), which brought the case, said the
result was a victory because under a controversial law on sects passed a
year ago if the church is convicted a second time it could be disbanded.
'The way is open for other cases. UNADFI has an appointment with
Scientology in other courts,' said lawyer Olivier Morice. 'A few hours ago
the scientologists were saying that they would not be found guilty. But
here on a matter of principle the church is convicted. The symbolic
importance should not be underestimated,' he said.
"Spokesman Jean Dupuis said the church's acquittal on the more serious
counts was welcome, but the conviction for breach of confidentiality was
'evidence of the political and judicial conspiracy which sets out to
destroy those who dare to think differently.'
"The church says it is the principal target of last May's anti-sect law,
which was described by the US administration and international human
rights groups at the time as an assault on religious tolerance. Entitled
'the law to reinforce the prevention and repression of groups of a
sect-like character,' it made it an offence to abuse a vulnerable person
via the 'exertion of heavy or repeated pressure or techniques liable to
alter his judgment. It also allowed courts to close down associations
after two convictions for a range of crimes."
From Voice of America on May 17th:
"French prosecutors say the Church of Scientology harassed former members
of the group long after they left the organization. The court did not
impose the strongest penalty sought by prosecutors - that of dissolving
the Paris Scientology chapter - but would consider such action if the
chapter faces similar charges in the future.
"According to a spokeswoman for Scientology, Gaetane Asselin, the court's
decision represents a partial victory for the organization. 'The main
accusation of fraud and false publicity was relaxed,' she said. 'So it
means we were found not guilty of any of these accusations, which is very
good for us. Because the attorney of the opposition has been trying to
prove for years that is what we are doing, and one more court admitted it
has nothing to do with us.'
"Lucia Salazar, who works with a private group that is fighting
Scientology, says her organization will continue its efforts to dissolve
the church. Mrs. Salazar supports the new French law on sects. She says it
allows victims of so-called cults to fight for reparations."
> Lawrence Wollersheim
Denver Westword published an article on May 16th on Lawrence Wollersheim's
efforts to collect his 16-year old judgment from Scientology.
"A 22-year legal battle came to an abrupt end last week when the Church of
Scientology paid $8.67 million to one of its harshest critics: a former
member who claimed the church had harassed him for years and driven him
'to the brink of insanity.' In the past, litigation involving the
controversial 'new religion' and disaffected ex-members has been resolved
quietly, the terms kept strictly confidential. But Wollersheim says his
settlement contained no such conditions and came minutes before a court
hearing at which his attorneys planned to introduce a recently acquired
document challenging the Church of Scientology International's tax-exempt
"'I signed no gag orders,' says Wollersheim, who now lives in Nevada. 'The
only reason they settled was that somehow they pierced our intelligence.
Three hours after we [uncovered] an absolutely conclusive piece of
evidence that [CSI's] corporate structure is a scam, the check was
delivered to the court.'
"Wollersheim says he became disillusioned with the group and was subjected
to thousands of hours of intensive counseling at 'thought-reform camps
designed to make you crazy.' He filed suit in 1980, claiming that members
continued to harass him after he left the church. In 1986, a California
jury awarded him $30 million in damages; the award was reduced to $2.5
million on appeal. But he was unable to collect from the Church of
Scientology of California and spent years trying to 'pierce the corporate
veil' of its parent organization, CSI. Outside of court hearings, church
supporters carried protest signs declaring that they would pay 'not one
thin dime to Wollersheim.'
"Five years ago, Wollersheim told Westword that he'd rejected a $12
million settlement offer from the church because it would have required
him and other FACTNet members to cease their anti-cult activities and
destroy their extensive archive of Scientology materials. Last week's
payment of $8,674,643 represents the $2.5 million award from the 1986
trial plus sixteen years' interest. 'The cult that vowed it would never
pay me one thin dime has now paid over 86 million thin dimes,' Wollersheim
noted in a statement on FACTNet's Web site (www.factnet.org).
"Asked for comment, Church of Scientology of California president Neil
Levin provided a written statement noting that the judgment was against a
church entity that has since undergone restructuring. 'This is a
twenty-year-old case involving an old Scientology church that doesn't
exist anymore,' Levin wrote. 'We've been trying to pay Mr. Wollersheim for
five years, but he has so many creditors, we couldn't do it. So finally,
we put the money into the court.'
"Although much of the money is owed to attorneys, Wollersheim says there
should be enough left over to allow him to continue to support FACTNet and
to become involved in 'less confrontational' activities. He sees the
settlement as a turning point in the tumultuous history of Scientology.
'Now victims who have been intimidated into silence by the belief that no
one could ever get paid are calling their attorneys,' he says. 'This is
also a tremendous encouragement to other social-advocacy groups - the
cigarette-company victims, environmental groups, whatever. The message
isn't that Lawrence got paid. It's about justice and patience. It really
can work if you just work the system.'"
> Leipzig Human Rights Award
Leipziger Volkszeitung reported on May 13th on the presentation of the
Leipzig Human Rights Award to Alain Vivien.
"Alain Vivien, the French government's cult commissioner, was
distinguished for his involvement in taking action against totalitarian
organizations with the presentation of the third Leipzig Human Rights
Award. In the 'Old Stock Exchange' the 63-year-old socialist received from
the hands of Bavaria's Interior Minister Guenther Beckstein (CSU) the
'Alternative Charlemagne Award,' an image of the Nicholas Church encased
"Vivien successfully applied himself to creating a legal framework to
protect the victims of Scientology and other similar organizations in
France. The minister has been addressing problems related to sects and
totalitarian cults since 1983. In 1993 he worked on the first French
Enquete report in that area. He has been the French president of the
'Interministeriellen Mission im Kampf gegen Sekten' (MILS) for the Prime
Minister of the Republic of France.
"Beckstein described Vivien in his laudatio as a 'pioneer in the
Scientology controversy across Europe and across the world.' At the same
time he called for cooperation among political parties in the fight
against totalitarianism. Vivien said he was pleased 'to receive the award
in a place from which freedom of thought has for so long emanated.'"
> Bob Minton
The St. Petersburg Times reported on May 18th that Bob Minton testified he
has spent $10 million on causes against Scientology.
"Scientology critic Robert Minton has funneled $10-million into a global
anti-Scientology crusade, financing lawsuits against the church and
supporting some of Scientology's most strident opponents. No one has ever
orchestrated such a campaign against the church, said Scientology
spokesman Ben Shaw. 'He obviously had something in mind and he went out to
accomplish it,' Shaw said. 'He was trying to destroy the church.'
"He dumped more than $2-million into a now defunct anti-Scientology
organization in downtown Clearwater called the Lisa McPherson Trust, named
for a Scientologist who died in 1995 under the care of fellow
Scientologists. Minton testified that he put up nearly $2.5-million for
the movie The Profit, made in the Tampa Bay area by two Scientology
"Minton said he gave $700,000 to Lawrence Wollersheim, a former
Scientologist who recently collected an $8.6-million settlement from
Scientology, ending one of the longest-running lawsuits in California
history. And he funded lawsuits against Scientology in places as distant
as Germany and France.
"But the focus of his anti-Scientology efforts was the Pinellas County
wrongful death lawsuit that blames the church for Lisa McPherson's death.
Minton gave $2-million to fund the litigation. Circuit Court Judge Susan
Schaeffer is taking testimony on a motion by the Church of Scientology to
have the lawsuit dismissed. In what remains an astonishing reversal,
Minton is testifying on behalf of the church in the hearing, which began
May 2 and is expected to last at least another week. Minton is accusing
Tampa attorney Ken Dandar, who represents the McPherson estate in the
lawsuit, of serious misconduct in the case.
"Minton has said his recent testimony came about from tremendous legal
strain in the McPherson case. He was facing contempt of court charges and
feared going to jail for perjury he said he committed at Dandar's urging.
Minton said he decided it was time to clear the record. His St. Petersburg
attorney, Bruce Howie, says Minton wants nothing more to do with funding
anti-Scientology litigation. His close friend Stacy Brooks, a former
Scientologist and critic said Minton got caught up in the anti-Scientology
movement. 'I think he was swept up in the idea he was really fighting
evil,' Brooks said. 'Neither he nor I feel that way anymore.'"
> John Mappin
The Daily Mail reported on May 5th that UK Scientologist John Mappin will
"Scientologist and Winchester educated John Mappin, 35 is expected at the
bankruptcy court in London this morning. It may have something to do with
Benji 'The Binman' Pell being awarded repayment of pounds 77,500 and costs
of around pounds 350,000 when he sued Mappin in the High Court.
"Mappin duped Pell into handing over thousands of pounds to make a
Hollywood blockbuster of his life story and promised to introduce him to
filmmakers such as Steven Spielberg or George Lucas. Instead, Benji met a
hairdresser who was putting himself through film school."
> Protest Summary
Christopher Wood reported a protest in Toronto on May 11th.
"Picketers: Me, Gregg Hagglund, Keith Henson. Leaflets: Scientology's
Founder: Con Man / No Science in Scientology (by me) Xenu / Crimes (by
"Gregg and I arrived in front of the org at about 1:00, with Keith in his
usual position up the street. I gave out nearly all the leaflets in my
bag, while Gregg and Keith depleted their supplies in a somewhat similar
fashion. No Scientologists approached Keith Henson this time. In past
pickets, Scientologists have actually gone near him, talked to him, and
stood watching him pass out leaflets. At this picket no Scientologists
were engaged in actively disproving their supposed fear of Keith.
"Just after we got to the org, Gregg did a side trip up Saint Mary St.,
reading from his copy of OT3. Suddenly, the OT Scientologists started
moving the other Scientologists into the org. I still don't understand why
anyone would submit to being treated like this. We wound it up at 3:00
when we discovered that we were nearly out of leaflets."
Keith Henson reported a protest in Toronto on May 18th.
"Saturday, May 18, 2002 we picketed the org and the hotel where the org
had the local Dianetics event. Early afternoon at the org there were
three of us: Gregg and the unknown picketer in front of the org and me
across the street. A young thin guy came up while I was talking to a
woman and insisted he was a scientologist. The woman I was talking to was
just boggled when I mentioned I had this space cootie story on the flyer,
handed her one and the horrified kid said it was confidential and ran.
"About 4:30 we went to the Colony Hotel, same place as they used last
year. Gregg paced off 100 feet from the ballroom they had rented and
stationed me up the street. I gave Xenu flyers to at least 4 'raw meat'
who where headed for the event. Gregg, the unknown picketer, and Chris
Wood picketed and handed out flyers in front of the hotel. There were some
tour buses full of high school kids from Tennessee that came in and many
of them took flyers. Some of them said they were going to check out the
event. I would guess we had 20-30 people in the event with flyers.
"Three bicycle cops showed up and politely asked Gregg if he had been
abused by the Scientologists yet. Gregg explained that they had been
behaving themselves for most of the last year. The hotel lobby revolving
door is below the street in a driveway. The effect was to focus Gregg's
voice so it was able to punch through the single glass when the revolving
door was in that position. People inside told Gregg he fairly well
controlled the conversation by coming in lumps (Scientology Management
Lies!). In between the door revolutions the old time Scientologists in the
lobby were talking loudly about Gregg. According to a person who came out
they were claiming that Gregg had his wife lobotomized. After hearing that
she had a brain tumor removed that has left her somewhat emotionally
vulnerable and that the Scientologists have attacked her using this, the
guy looked back in and said they were not only crazy but vicious."