A.r.s Week in Review - 8/17/2003
Week in Review Volume 8, Issue 17
8/17/2003 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:
Note: This issue covers articles from the past two weeks of
> ClearwaterThe St. Petersburg Times reported on August 11th that Scientologist
investors plan to buy land from Calvary Baptist Church in downtown
"An investor from Mexico has inked a deal to buy two Cleveland Street
buildings and a parking lot from Calvary Baptist Church, a move that would
consolidate nearly two city blocks and set the stage for sweeping
redevelopment downtown. Elias Jaffif will pay $1.59-million for .84-acres
in the 400 block of Cleveland Street, according to church officials. The
property includes a parking lot north of the buildings with access from
"The investors, who noticed the properties while visiting Clearwater for
Church of Scientology services, have discussed developing some mixed uses
in a high-rise: perhaps condos and hotel rooms atop a parking garage and
street-level stores. There also has been talk of a movie theater.
'Obviously that's the crown jewel of downtown, and they're going to do the
best thing for downtown and the best thing for their investors,' said Tom
Wright. 'What that is, is absolutely not fixed.'
"Calvary Baptist is selling its downtown holdings in preparation for a
move across town to a new complex at McMullen-Booth Road and Drew Street.
The property under contract includes roughly 30,000 square feet of meeting
and storage space in buildings at 410, 418 and 420 Cleveland. The
buildings now house Calvary Baptist's Heartline and singles ministries."
> DenmarkThe Copenhagen Post reported on August 8th on the case of a French girl
who hoped to move to Copenhagen to attend a Scientology school there.
"A French court ruling, banning a 14-year-old girl from traveling to
Denmark to enroll at the Copenhagen Scientology school, could turn into a
test case against France's hard line efforts to outlaw the controversial
sect. When a judge in Nantes imposed the travel-ban on 14-year-old Marion
Chauchreau in July, at the request of the girl's concerned aunt and
grandmother, the case turned into a 'cause celebre' in the French media
because the girl's mother has been a member of Scientology since 1979, her
brother is a teacher at a Scientology school and the girl herself has
grown up within the confines of the sect since birth.
"Local social authorities, backed by the court's ruling, have launched a
full-scale investigation into the young girl's social, psychological, and
psychiatric well-being, before making a final decision on the potential
danger of her joining the school in Copenhagen. French legal experts have
warned that if the investigation concludes that Marion hasn't been
manipulated by Scientology, it will be a severe blow to the French
authorities' consistent hard-line opposition to the sect. However, if
medical and mental evaluations find her to be brainwashed, the 'Marion
affairre' could become the legal catalyst desired by authorities to
implement a total ban on Scientology in France. The investigation is
expected to take at least six-months."
> DianeticsThe Wichita Eagle reported on August 12th that Scientology is offering a
reward, seeking early writings by L. Ron Hubbard in Wichita, Kansas.
"Half a century ago, L. Ron Hubbard produced some of his earliest writings
on Dianetics in Wichita. Now the Church of Scientology, which Hubbard
founded, is seeking those papers. Church officials, who are offering a
$5,000 reward, hope they might be tucked away in a Wichita attic or
"Philip McComish, manager and partner of Watermark West-Rare Books, said
he wasn't surprised to see an ad in Monday's Wichita Eagle asking about
the papers. 'When I first opened the rare books shop in the 1980s, I'd get
a call about once a month wanting to know if I had any Scientology letters
or documents,' he said. McComish said he has never come across any. 'I
think these documents are probably gone,' he said. 'They were probably
piles of 8 1/2-by-11-inch papers sitting in boxes in someone's attic. The
house changed hands a couple of times and the boxes got landfilled.'
"The ad in Monday's paper said that Hubbard, the author of 'Dianetics: The
Modern Science of Mental Health,' lived at 910 N. Yale in 1951 and 1952.
While in Wichita, he gave more than 140 lectures at the Hubbard Dianetics
Foundation and wrote several books on Dianetics.
"An Eagle story in March 1995 indicated that by 1952, Hubbard was seeking
to leave Wichita. His second marriage had ended in divorce, and his
company had gone bankrupt. When he left in March 1952, Hubbard left
instructions with his housekeeper to ship his personal papers and
manuscripts to Phoenix. For some reason, those items never arrived."
> FranceAgence France Presse reported on August 7th that a Scientologist has been
arrested for burning a student in an attempt to develop his healing
"A 21 year-old was imprisoned Wednesday evening for 'torture and acts of
cruelty' by an examining magistrate for having burned a teenager in order
to transmit the capacity to him to cure. The young man, a follower of the
Church of Scientology, had involved the 16-year old girl and two friends,
also minors, in Vigneux-on-Seine.
"He inflicted serious burns with the girl, marking her on the arms and in
the back with burning cigarettes and on her calves with a heated knife
under the pretext of transmit the capacity to him to cure and influence
the course of its life. The father of the teenager described her as
fragile psychologically. The young man and his two friends were placed in
> SwitzerlandVendredi reported on August 8th that a Scientology school in Littau,
Switzerland has been denied permission to open.
"A school whose teaching principal is part of the Church of Scientology
does not have 'necessary credibility,' according to the district of
Lucerne. It has refused to reopen the establishment in Littau. The
establishment was closed at the end of July by cantonal authorities. The
director, a follower of Scientology, had resigned his post."
> Lisa McPhersonThe St. Petersburg Times reported on August 13th that the trial in the
breach of contract case against the estate of Lisa McPherson has begun in
"For the first time in Pinellas County, a jury has been convened to
consider a case involving the Church of Scientology. The case is a complex
civil matter, with the church claiming it was the victim of a breach of
contract. As the trial began Tuesday, the church fielded a legal team of
nine lawyers and legal assistants. Boxes of their legal documents filled
most of the back row of the courtroom.
"On the other side was attorney Ken Dandar, represented by Luke Lirot,
longtime attorney for nude-dance club operator Joe Redner. The case is an
offshoot of the wrongful death lawsuit against the church by the estate of
Lisa McPherson, a Scientologist who died in 1995 after 17 days in the care
of the church, whose spiritual headquarters is in downtown Clearwater.
"Picking a jury proved difficult. Under questioning, some in the jury pool
referred to Scientology as a cult - 'No offense,' several told the
church's legal team. Others questioned whether it should be considered a
religion and admitted they doubted they could be impartial. Several
potential jurors said they overheard people in the jury pool making
disparaging comments about Scientology as they waited in the halls to be
interviewed. But after nearly two days, six jurors and an alternate were
culled from a pool of 50 people, and the jury was sworn in Tuesday
"In his opening statement, Scientology's lead attorney, Samuel Rosen,
argued the wrongful death case was being used as a springboard to attack
all of Scientology. Rosen contended Robert Minton, a wealthy hard-line
critic of Scientology, persuaded Dandar to use the lawsuit to 'nail the
cult's ass to the floor.' To that end, Rosen argues, Dandar added top
church officials, including the church's worldwide leader, David
Miscavige, as defendants in the wrongful death suit. In exchange, Rosen
said, Minton paid Dandar more than $2-million.
"A month after Dandar filed the motion to add the church leaders as
defendants, a judge denied it, ruling the motion directly violated a
written agreement Dandar made with church attorneys two years earlier. The
church sued Dandar, his law firm and the McPherson estate, seeking
attorneys' fees and punitive damages. Pinellas-Pasco Judge W. Douglas
Baird concluded the estate had breached the contract. At issue now is how
much the church is owed in damages.
"The church tapped significant legal resources, including four law firms,
and spent more than $50,000 to defeat Dandar's attempt to add church
leaders to the wrongful death suit. The church wants to be reimbursed that
$50,000 plus 'a significant amount' in punitive damages, Rosen said.
"Dandar's attorney, Lirot, argued Tuesday that Dandar intended to pursue
church leaders in the wrongful death lawsuit long before he ever met
Minton. He said there was no conspiracy to change the case to accommodate
Minton's aims. In his opening statement, Lirot argued the church is owed
no more than $2,500 in legal fees."
> Protest SummaryWes Fager protested against Scientology at the Fort Harrison Hotel in
Clearwater, Florida on July 27th.
"Wesley Fager staged a one-man demonstration against Scientology's east
coast headquarters in occupied Clearwater, Florida. His hastily made
banner reads L. Ron Hubbard is a Liar! The protest started at the side
entrance, talking to a space cadet, asking her if he was at the Coast
Guard Academy or something because everyone was wearing naval uniforms.
She told him he was at the Church of Scientology and if he had some time
maybe she could arrange a tour.
"Wesley then positioned himself at the main entrance where his banner was
unfurled. Several cars passed and gave Wesley a thumbs up. Then he walked
to the end of the building and turned back onto the side street,
approached the side entrance and held his banner for those in the
courtyard to see. The clams in the beehive just stared. A man appeared
and got in Wesley's face screaming at him to get off their property.
Wesley calmly stated that he was an American citizen exercising his
Constitutional right to free speech. At that the guard started walking
down the street, pointing and ordered Mr. Fager to follow him, at which
point Mr. Fager answered, 'I'm not following you anywhere.' At that point
the guard screamed that he was calling the police. As Wesley was walking
away to leave, a Clearwater police car passed him and his sign without
> John TravoltaITV reported on August 15th that John Travolta may purchase a Scottish
castle, possibly as a new Scientology center.
"John Travolta's name has been linked with the purchase of a Scottish
castle. The American film star is rumoured to have viewed Lee Castle in
South Lanarkshire with a mind to buying it. There is speculation that he
wants to turn the historic building into a centre for Scientology.
"Lee Castle dates back to the 13th century and one of its Lairds was
honoured for his part in in returning Robert the Bruce's heart to
Scotland. The property boasts 14 bedrooms, a ballroom and a swimming pool.
It stands in extensive grounds with three themed gardens, including a
> Tom CruiseThe St. Petersburg Times reported on August 7th that Scientology celebrity
Tom Cruise lunched with Tampa, Florida politicians, possibly in connection
with Scientology's recent expansion in that city.
"Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio thought Tom Cruise, superstar and prominent
Scientologist, just wanted to hang with her and her husband last May.
Their dinner at a political consultant's house in Clearwater was just a
gathering among friends, Iorio said. 'What would Tom Cruise be lobbying me
about?' Iorio said.
"For starters, try the Church of Scientology's plans for expansion in
Tampa. Indeed, the church has hired a lobbyist to represent its interests
before city government. The church needs city approval to use its center
on Habana Avenue for some church purposes.
"Lobbyist Todd Pressman, who filled out a lobbyist registration form to
report a meeting with city officials on the project, said he doesn't
consider his work lobbying. 'That's not really lobbying,' Pressman said.
'Obviously, we have to have interaction with those officials for obvious
reasons.' He said city officials aren't treating the church differently
from any other property owner."