Presenting Rod Keller's
Alt.religion.scientology Week in Review

Volume 8, Issue 17 - August 17 2003

Note: This issue contains articles from the past two weeks of Alt.religion.scientology.


The St. Petersburg Times reported on August 11th that Scientologist investors plan to buy land from Calvary Baptist Church in downtown Clearwater, Florida. "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 Laura Street. "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." Message-ID:


The 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." Message-ID:


The 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 basement. "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." Message-ID:


Agence France Presse reported on August 7th that a Scientologist has been arrested for burning a student in an attempt to develop his healing abilities. "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 police custody." Message-ID: 3f3279ff$0$6230$


Vendredi 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." Message-ID:

Lisa McPherson

The 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 Clearwater, Florida. "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 afternoon. "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." Message-ID:

Protest Summary

Wes 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 incident." Message-ID:

John Travolta

ITV 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 Japanese garden." Message-ID:

Tom Cruise

The 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." Message-ID:

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A.r.s. Week in Review is put together by Rod Keller © This collection is organised for WWW by Andreas Heldal-Lund. Only edits done by me is replacing word encapsuled in * or _ with bold and underscore, and made links into HTML.

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