A.r.s Week in Review - 3/31/2002
Week in Review Volume 6, Issue 49
3/31/2002 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.
Free A.r.s Week in Review subscriptions are available. Subscriptions are
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Week in Review is archived at:
> AustraliaJan Groenveld reported this week that Scientology has pressed charges with
the Equal Opportunity Commission of Victoria, Australia for alleged
"The 'rev' Mary Anderson, Public Affairs, Melbourne Australia Org, has
taken me to the Equal Opportunity Commission of Victoria (Australia) and
charged me with 'religious vilification' under their act. 'A person must
not, on the ground of religious belief or activity of another person or
class of persons, engage in conduct that incites hatred against, serious
contempt for, or revulsion or sever ridicule of, that other person or
class of persons.'
"Mary Anderson has charged me on the basis of my web site contents, The
Anderson Report which she says was long ago overturned and described in
the Victorian parliament in 1987 as 'draconian' and that this material is
not biased, not factual and no current and does not fit into any category
of helpful information, She refers to 'discredited author Russell Miller'
with regard to comments on the site about Hubbard's statements about his
life and war record which she states as been proven true by documentary
"She states that persons who know little or nothing of Scientology and who
take this site at face value could hardly fail to be infected with 'severe
ridicule' or 'serious contempt of' if not 'hatred' of the subject of the
site. She then asks that they demand I be made to remove the site."
> EgyptThe Associated Press reported on March 27th that two Scientologists
detained in Cairo, Egypt have been released on bail.
"A court on Wednesday freed on bail a Palestinian woman and her Israeli
husband accused of 'contempt of religion' by promoting Scientology in
Egypt, police officials said. Wafaa Hassan Ahmed, 26, and Mahmoud Mufid
Masarwa, 28, who have confessed to being assigned by Scientology bureaus
in Tel Aviv and Rome to promote the faith in Egypt, were arrested earlier
last month. No formal charges were filed against the couple.
"The judge who ordered their release Wednesday said 'Dianetics' was
legally released in the Cairo Book Fair, and that the couple should not be
punished for spreading 'new thought' as this would only be 'a violation of
> Lisa McPhersonA filing by the estate of Lisa McPherson was released this week, in which
it argued against Scientology's argument that cockroaches do not feed on
"The defense has nothing to say about the fact that the Estate's forensic
entomologists are all board certified and have seen roaches feeding upon
pigs and have identified roach bites on human remains. The Estate's
experts then take these findings and add to that the other case studies,
including criminal reports of roaches found feeding upon babies, both
alive and dead, and combine that with their education to arrive at their
"The next amazing argument is that since the FLAG staff never saw a roach
in Lisa's room, and since the hotel was regularly sprayed, then these
marks could not be left by roaches. It will be up to the jury to believe
or not believe the staff of FLAG.
"Both Dr. Haskell and Dr. Goff made very conservative opinions in this
matter. Neither would say that these marks are 100% roach feeding sites
for one and only one reason: they were not there witnessing the roaches
feeding upon Lisa. What both experts do opine is that these marks are
consistent with roach bites based upon their experience and education and
that their opinion meets the legal requirement of more likely than not.
"The Estate attaches hereto two recently reported cases of live babies or
children being found with roaches feeding upon them. The first concerns a
criminal case involving abuse of a 7 month old Quail Valley girl from
Riverside County, California, in 2001. At the emergency room at Inland
Valley Medical Center in Wildomar, California, it was diagnosed that the
baby was suffering from rat and cockroach bites. In April of 1998, in
Rochester, N.Y., a mother was sentenced to 15 years for child neglect of
her 5 year old daughter. Among other signs of neglect, a pathologist cited
cockroach bites on her arms and legs.
"In the authoritative textbook edited by Dr. Werner Spitz, M.D., there is
an extensive discussion with pictures of ant and roach bites on the
deceased. This is prime evidence that roaches do bite human flesh."
> Reed SlatkinReuters reported on March 26th that Scientology minister Reed Slatkin has
agreed to plead guilty to investment fraud.
"EarthLink co-founder Reed Slatkin, accused of defrauding investors out of
nearly $600 million, has agreed to plead guilty to 15 federal charges,
prosecutors said Tuesday. Slatkin, who was charged with 15 felony charges
for allegedly orchestrating a massive Ponzi scheme in which he solicited
more than $593 million from some 800 investors - including members of the
Church of Scientology, where he is a minister - has reached a deal with
prosecutors to plead guilty to all of the charges.
"Slatkin, 53, was charged with five counts of mail fraud, three counts of
wire fraud, six counts of money laundering and one count of conspiracy to
obstruct justice during an investigation being conducted by the U.S.
Securities and Exchange Commission."
From Bloomberg News on March 26th:
"Slatkin's attorney, Frederick D. Friedman with O'Neill, Lysaght & Sun LLP
in Los Angeles, said in a statement that his client's decision to take the
plea 'is a reflection of his decision to accept full responsibility for
"The minister in the Church of Scientology got money from socialites,
Hollywood producers and EarthLink's two top executives, Chairman Sky
Dayton and Chief Executive Officer Garry Betty. Among the investors listed
in SEC documents are Fox News legal commentator Greta Van Susteren and
actors Giovanni Ribisi and Jeffrey Tambor."
From the Wall Street Journal on March 27th:
"Mr. Slatkin, an ordained Church of Scientology minister who attracted
seven-figure investments from such luminaries as 'Pearl Harbor' producer
Armyan Bernstein, Fox News anchor Greta Van Susteren and former Capitol
Records Chairman Hale Milgrim, is set to be arraigned in U.S. District
Court next month. The charges carry a maximum penalty of 105 years, but
federal sentencing guidelines will most likely bring that down to 12 1/2
to 15 years, according to Steve Olson, an assistant U.S. attorney.
"Frederick Friedman, an attorney for Mr. Slatkin, said the plea reflects
his client's decision 'to accept full responsibility for his conduct and
move forward, by continuing his cooperation with both government
authorities and his creditors.' Mr. Slatkin filed for bankruptcy
protection in federal court in Santa Barbara last May.
"No one else has been charged in the case, but the 32-page statement of
facts mentions several unindicted co-conspirators, including one man, Ron
Rakow, who served nine months in federal prison during the 1980s for his
role in an $80 million Ponzi scheme known as 'Culture Farms.' According to
the statement of facts, Mr. Rakow - who began investing with Mr. Slatkin
before he was sent to prison - helped promote Mr. Slatkin's money
management services. Mr. Slatkin's Santa Fe, N.M., bookkeeper, Jean Janu,
and two others, Dan Jacobs and Didier Waroquiers, are also named in the
statement as accomplices in Mr. Slatkin's conspiracy to obstruct a
Securities and Exchange Commission investigation into his investment
practices that began in 2000. According to the statement, Ms. Janu
furnished the SEC with lists of investor accounts that she was
'liquidating,' when in fact she hadn't returned any funds to investors.
Messrs. Waroquiers and Jacobs, the statement adds, helped Mr. Slatkin
deceive the SEC and investors into believing that he had more than $200
million secure in Swiss bank accounts."
From the Los Angeles Times on March 27th:
"Slatkin's sentence probably will be 'in the 12-to-15-year range,' said
Thom Mrozek, spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office in Los Angeles. The
sentence could be reduced by a few years if Slatkin, 53, cooperates fully
with investigators, who still are trying to determine what happened to
investors' money, Mrozek said. Slatkin has acknowledged that at least $255
million is missing in the scheme, in which new investors' money was used
to pay bogus returns to prior investors. 'It's a very significant sentence
for a consensual plea agreement,' said Richard Wynne, an attorney for
creditors in Slatkin's bankruptcy case. But he added, 'We calculated he
could have gotten a life sentence if this had gone to trial, so it's a
sweet deal for him.'
"Investors greeted news of the plea agreement warily. Some fear Slatkin
might flee the country before his arraignment on an unspecified date next
month. 'He's had 11 months to pack,' said investor George Kriste, 'and now
he's got another 30 days.' The FBI and the U.S. attorney's office have
said they don't believe Slatkin will try to escape. Slatkin's criminal
attorney, Brian Sun, said his client was determined to cooperate with
investigators. 'This is obviously a very emotional time for him, but he's
committed to doing the right thing,' Sun said. 'His conduct speaks for
"Slatkin, an ordained minister in the Church of Scientology, started
soliciting money from fellow Scientologists in the mid-1980s. His stature
and reputation grew after he helped co-found Internet service provider
EarthLink Inc. in 1994. Before long, he was taking in large sums from
Internet executives, Hollywood players and socialites from across the
From the Santa Barbara News-Press on March 27th:
"Prosecutors and Mr. Slatkin's criminal defense team say that if he
fulfills the terms of the plea and cooperates with authorities, he will
probably get far less than the maximum sentence. They disagree, however,
on how much time he could spend behind bars. Federal authorities say it
would be from 12 to 15 years, while Mr. Slatkin's attorney, Brian Sun, a
former assistant U.S. attorney, said the range could be anywhere from no
prison time to 15 years. 'There are a number of factors here,' said Mr.
Sun. 'It really has a lot to do with the degree and quality of his
"That cooperation will likely include identifying individuals who aided
him with the conspiracy and fraud, sources said. In addition, Mr. Slatkin
could help federal bankruptcy investigators track down some of the missing
millions. 'Mr. Slatkin's agreement with the government is a reflection of
his decision to accept full responsibility for his conduct and move
forward by continued cooperation with both government authorities and his
creditors,' said Fred Friedman, another attorney on his criminal defense
"'The longer the sentence, the better,' said Michael Azeez, whose family
collectively lost $42 million to Mr. Slatkin. 'I hope he gets a hanging
judge.' There's a lot more that Mr. Slatkin can divulge about the nature
and scope of the fraud that may help identify where some of the money went
and who else was involved, Mr. Azeez said. 'I'm not sure why he isn't
behind bars yet, though,' he said.
"'The fact that he hasn't surrendered immediately is just a complete slap
in the face,' said John Poitras, of Santa Ynez, a former venture
capitalist who lost $15 million. 'He gets another 30 days to sip wine and
enjoy the sunshine. This guy should be put away for the rest of his life
for what he's done to hundreds of families.'
"Rick Wynne, the attorney working with the creditors' committee, called
the plea a 'smart deal' for Mr. Slatkin because if he had gone to trial to
contest the charges, he would have been exposed to a life term. Because
the plea compels Mr. Slatkin to cooperate with investigators, it may help
creditors uncover any missing money, Mr. Wynne said. 'While some of his
victims certainly might have preferred that Mr. Slatkin be drawn and
quartered, his plea is an appropriate resolution to his 15-year fraudulent
scheme,' he said. 'Mr. Slatkin will have a long time to sit in jail and
contemplate what he did to hundreds of his creditors and their families.'"
From the text of the plea agreement:
"Defendant gives up the right to indictment by a grand jury and agrees to
plead guilty to a fifteen-count Information in the form attached to this
agreement or a substantially similar form. Defendant made up and/or
executed a scheme or plan for obtaining money or property by making false
promises or statements; defendant knew that the promises or statements
were false; the promises or statements were material, that is they would
reasonably influence a person to part with money or property; defendant
acted with the intent to defraud; and defendant used or caused to be used,
the mails or private commercial interstate carriers to carry out an
essential part of the scheme.
"The total maximum sentence for all offenses to which defendant is
pleading guilty is: 105 years imprisonment; a three-year period of
supervised release; a fine of $3.75 million or twice the gross gain or
gross loss resulting from the fraud and conspiracy plus twice the value of
the criminally derived property involved in the money laundering
transactions, whichever is greater; and a mandatory special assessment of
"Defendant understands that defendant will be required to pay full
restitution to the victims of the offenses. The parties currently believe
that the applicable amount of restitution is not less than $254,597,235,
but recognize and agree that this amount could change based on facts that
come to the attention of the parties prior to sentencing. Defendant
further agrees that defendant will not seek the discharge of any
restitution obligation, in whole or in part, in any present or future
> WISEThe Los Angeles Times published an article in the Sterling Management and
the World Institute of Scientology Enterprises on March 29th.
"The 'Battlefield Earth' videos, 'I am a Scientologist' poster and
numerous pictures of L. Ron Hubbard make it clear that Sterling Management
isn't a typical consulting firm. The company is one of about 100 in
Glendale, Montrose, La Crescenta and La Canada Flintridge that practice
the organizational principles of Scientology. In fact, Sterling
Management's business is to promote and teach the organizational
principles of the church to small business owners across the country.
Hubbard, founder of Scientology and a science fiction writer and
philosopher, developed what is referred to as his 'management technology'
for the religion's expansion.
"Sterling Management owner Kevin Wilson and the other owners of local
companies use the management practices as members of the World Institute
of Scientology Enterprises - WISE. WISE licenses and promotes Hubbard's
work to businesses for the Church of Scientology, WISE President Don
Drader said. About 3,200 WISE members around the world pay anywhere from
$250 to $36,000 per year for membership. Most WISE members are
Scientologists, but it's not required, Drader said.
"James Ryan, an EEOC public affairs specialist, said he wasn't aware of
WISE, but organizations are entitled to use religious principles in the
workplace, as long as employees have the option to object and be excused.
Wilson said he is aware of employee discrimination law and that he stays
within its bounds. 'This job has nothing to do with Scientology,' Wilson
said. 'In no way can I dictate anyone's job with Scientology.'
"Wilson makes sure his company's clients are aware of the relationship
between his business and Scientology, too. All Sterling Management clients
sign a waiver before entering into the consulting relationship, Wilson
said. The waiver states that the Hubbard management materials imply 'no
religious affiliation whatsoever.' It also states a Sterling consultant
may recommend a client see a Scientology practitioner, if the client has
personal problems beyond the scope of Sterling Management."
> UKBBC News reported on March 26th that a teacher's union is speaking out
against schools being run by some religious organizations, including
"Clearer guidelines must be introduced to establish which religious
organisations will be permitted to take up the running of state-funded
faith schools, a teachers' union says. There was currently no clear
indication of who would approve or reject an application to build a school
called the Osama Bin Laden Academy, warned the general secretary of the
Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL), Peter Smith. Similarly the
Church of Scientology, the Moonies or even supporters of David Icke - the
former footballer and TV presenter who once claimed he was the Messiah -
could apply to run a state school, said Mr Smith.
"Government plans to encourage a wide range of religious groups to run
state-funded schools have proved controversial, with critics saying they
are divisive. Mixed opinion over faith schools was no less obvious than at
the ATL's annual conference in Cardiff, where delegates tabled conflicting
motions on the matter. One calls for the government to abandon all plans
to increase the number of faith schools, another urges delegates to
'recognise the positive contribution these faith schools make to the
education of young people.'
"The ATL was not pressing for a secular education system, said Mr Smith,
as history could not be rewritten. But he said the government had made a
grave mistake when it paved the way for more faith schools. 'My own
personal view is if a dog is snoring, don't kick it awake and I think it
was very stupid of the government to kick this dog awake,' he said."