Court TV aired two programs on the Lisa McPherson investigation and civil case this week. "Sue M." provided transcripts.
"According to her family, 36-year-old Scientologist Lisa McPherson lived a normal healthy life. That is, until two years ago when she was picked up by paramedics after a minor traffic accident walking naked on this busy Clearwater, FL street. In accordance with Church of Scientology teachings, McPherson refused psychiatric exams and was released into the custody of fellow church members. She was taken to this hotel which in 1975 was converted into the world headquarters of the Church of Scientology. 17 days later, McPherson was dead from a blood clot caused by severe dehydration.
"KEN DANDAR: So when you see someone who needs help and you just sit back and you fold your hands and you just not do anything, then you cross the line of negligence, and now you're into an intentional act.
"SANDY WEINBERG, SCIENTOLOGY CHURCH ATTORNEY: There is absolutely not a scintilla of evidence in this case from one person who has said that she was tied up or restrained. In fact, the evidence is just the opposite.
"ARTHUR MILLER (Harvard Law Professor), NEW YORK, NY: First of all, what did she die of? Did she die of something induced by the treatment that she was subjected to by the Scientologists? If she died of natural causes, if she died of a pre-existing condition, it is very hard to hold the church and it will be very difficult for the prosecution to prove what actually went on and that there was a true duty to bring her medical assistance in those last days of her life. So it's not an easy prosecution."
"LAURA VAUGHAN: There have been reports that have been made a part of the public record, but Lisa McPherson had a psychotic episode. She strongly opposes psychiatry as would any Scientologist of 13 years and she asked to not be committed to a psychiatric institution at the hospital and to leave with her friends, fellow parishioners from the Church. She did, and for a period of 17 days a number of women, fellow parishioners from the Church, stayed with her on a 24 hour basis. Ms. McPherson was mentally disturbed, she was psychotic, she had difficulties with sequitur speech and a number of things, and these women stayed with her on a 24 hour basis attending to her physical needs and doing everything that they could to help her deal with her problems--
"GJ: Look, I looked at the 33 pages of notes here, the handwritten logs by those individuals you're referring to, the workers there who cared for her for 24 hours, and here's what you find: 'Spitting out food, vomiting, ashen, feverish, violent, striking her attendants, banging on the walls, soiled herself, hallucinated'--and then we get to the hospital 17 days later and she has lost roughly 47 lb from the time that a paramedic took her to the hospital. She was thin, dirty, unkempt, scratches, bruises on her arms and legs, and of course she was dead. Isn't there some legal duty that your clients owed to this woman, to get her medical care? I'm not talking about psychiatric care--medical care.
"LV: First of all, I disagree with your characterization. You pulled out little bits and pieces here and there, and I--I strongly disagree with the amount of weight she lost, I disagree with what happened during those 17 days. She was psychotic, though, and there was no question that she engaged in psychotic behavior. But these women stayed with her and attempted to do everything to help her. They bathed her; there were times when she refused to use the toilet, and they helped--they changed her clothes when she did that. But ultimately what she died of 17 days later was a pulmonary embolism, and I think if you have decided that in this case--
"KD: As bizarre as this sounds, the Church of Scientology will let a member die before they face bad public relations, according to their own copyrighted books on rules and regulations of Scientology. Here is a Scientologist who took off her clothes in public and said to the paramedics, 'Don't worry, I'm not crazy. I took off my clothes because I need help, I need to talk to someone.' And this has caused great public relations problems with Scientology."
The Clearwater Police have submitted a report to the state prosecutor recommending that some charges be made in the case. Details as to who should be charged with what crimes were not released. From the St. Petersburg Times:
"Investigators on Monday delivered their findings to Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney Bernie McCabe in the form of a 'prosecution summary.' Clearwater Deputy Police Chief Paul Maser said the document recommends charges, but he refused to discuss specifics or who might be charged. McCabe is expected to study the summary and decide whether charges are warranted. He could not be reached Monday for comment.
"Kurt Weiland, a top church official in Los Angeles, said Clearwater police have 'no evidence' and were repeating a pattern of discrimination against the church that began in the 1970s. 'It's an absolutely disgusting state of affairs,' Weiland said.
"The investigation into McPherson's death was conducted by Clearwater police detectives, officers for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and members of McCabe's office. Maser said the prosecution summary was approved by a panel of FDLE executives and lawyers in Tallahassee before it went to McCabe.
"Maser, deputy chief in Clearwater, said the investigation into McPherson's death was 'the most extensive we've ever done.' More than 100 witnesses were interviewed, 80 percent of whom were Scientologists, he said. Maser also rejected the charge by church officials that Clearwater police conducted such an extensive investigation because they are bigoted against Scientology. 'That's not true,' he said. He said the investigation took two years because there were so many witnesses and because individual Scientologists were represented by so many lawyers. There were 'extraordinary hoops we had to jump through,' Maser said."
Local reaction in Clearwater continues, including this letter to the editor of the Tampa Tribune, published this week.
"I am appalled at the article in the Dec. 8 Tribune about the Church of Scientology. I'm appalled because the article is so ludicrous. The innuendo and fabrication of conclusion are unbelievable. How the media could actually make my religion responsible for the death of someone who was swimming during a storm might be considered ridiculous if it weren't for the malicious intent. Fortunately the majority of your readers will see this article for what it is. You actually only hurt the reputation of your paper by printing such articles. Every time I speak to someone who is not a member of the church, I get asked why the Tribune prints such biased and slanted articles.
"It is obvious that this article is an example of collusion between the Tribune, the degraded criminals who hide behind the Internet and the German government. There is no other purpose for this article than to aid the malicious lawsuit brought by the relatives of Lisa McPherson who are trying to make money by exploiting her death.
Martin Ottmann posted Scientology flyers that are being distributed at the Clearwater Police and St. Petersburg Times buildings.
"The St. Petersburg Times ran an article on December 7 which insinuated that was something odd with the deaths of a handful of people who died of natural or accidental causes over the last 17 years whose common denominator was that they were members of the Church of Scientology. We thought you should know what Scientologists had to say about this - after all, it's us who are being stigmatized because we have not attained physical immortality. These are excerpts from letters sent to the Times by Scientologists in the Tampa Bay area.
"'If it weren't for the fact that you are again attacking my religion on spurious grounds, todays article in your paper regarding Scientologists, our health and medical treatment would be humorous. Scientologists are very health conscious, probably more so than the average. As I have been a Scientologist for nearly 30 years, I know of what I speak. I have always been particular about my health. I eat well, take vitamins, exercise regularly, get yearly medical checkups, and when needed, see a doctor for medical problems. My Scientology friends do the same. Quite unremarkable.'
"'The St. Petersburg Times is proving more that they are on a witch hunt against the Church of Scientology and printing biased and alarmist opinion and hearsay rather than fully substantiated facts and research which give the full acount and background or 'a story'. What the St. Pete Times is demonstrating is their very own personal agenda and axe to grind against the Church of Scientology. The venting of this through your polluted and dishonorable reporting is utterly irresponsible to your readers and does the public a great disservice. What crimes and misdemeanors are you covering up?'"
"Independent investigation by Freedom Magazine has continued to uncover previously unreported abuses among top brass at the Clearwater Police Department, including racism, involvement in secret intelligence operations and lack of investigation into reports of drug trafficking in the Clearwater area.
"Are you aware of instances of discrimination within the police department on the basis of race, sex, creed or religious belief? Have there been known instances of sexual harassment by the CWPD brass? Do you have information regarding illegal intelligence activities being conducted in the community by the Clearwater Police? Do you have evidence of the 'Calzone' program or similar harassment programs still in operation? Are you aware of secret slush funds within the department being used by Chief Sid Klein, Deputy Chief Paul Maser or others to pay for such programs? Are you aware of any other abuses or illegalities involving either Chief Klein or Captain Maser? Is there any evidence of kickbacks being received by top brass within the Department? Discrepancies have been reported in the amount of drug seizures done by the department. Do you know of any instances in which drugs seized by the department have been resold for personal profit?
"Send your information to:
210 S. Fort Harrison
Clearwater, Florida 33756
ALL RESPONSES WILL BE KEPT STRICTLY CONFIDENTIAL."
It was reported this week that the July, 1997 issue of the Georgia Employment Law Letter published a report on Mary Murzynski, who was fired from her job for citicizing Scientology. She has filed a lawsuit, which is Halverson v. Murzynski, 97 F.C.D.R. 1849.
"Consultant Halverson (dba 'Power Management, Inc.') suggested that Mary Murzynski be fired from her place of employment, 'Health, Education & Research Services, Inc.' (HERS), a company engaged in the business of providing physical therapy services. The reason: Murzynski had criticized scientology. (HERS had ordered its employees to attend scientology courses, and had donated large amounts of money to scientology). HERS fired Murzynski; Murzynski then sued Halverson for tortious (i.e., wrongful) interference with her employment. Both the trial court and the Georgia Court of Appeals refused to dismiss the suit, allowing Murzynski's claim to proceed."
Grady Ward posted filings he has made in his bankruptcy proceedings, which Scientology is attempting to influence.
"The plaintiff/creditor in the above-captioned litigation has apparently made an ex parte application to shorten the time to hearing, change the intra-district venue and will be simultaneously moving to lift the automatic stay in bankruptcy. They propose both hearings for hearing before this court in Santa Rosa, California on December 11, 1997.
"The debtors oppose such an ex parte application and the accompanying motion for the following reasons: The creditor's ex parte application and accompanying motion has not been served upon the debtor. Thus we do not know the contents of the actual motion to which we must respond. Since the above captioned bankruptcy was filed on October 8, 1997, the plaintiff/creditor RTC has had two full months in which to launch adversary action - including a properly noticed motion to lift the automatic stay - yet has waited until December to apply for such a hearing and motion. Finally, the plaintiff/creditor RTC has not shown good cause for their application. The debtor/defendant Grady Ward is under preliminary injunction with respect to the secret 'scriptures' at issue in the litigation. The property rights of RTC are completely protected while the debtor is in bankruptcy. For the above reasons, the debtors/defendants request that the court deny the creditor RTC's ex parte application and require that they follow the local rules regarding fair and proper notice as any other party."
Keith Henson posted a notice that he has been charged with violation of a court order is Los Angeles. The incident took place outside Scientology properties in Los Angeles, where Glenn Barton made citizens arrests of Keith. In one case, instructing a private investigator to beat and choke Keith.
"Please be advised that a criminal complaint has been filed charging you with a violation of Section P166A4, commonly known as contempt of court - violation of order. There may be other charges included in the complaint which are not listed here. If you are on probation in any other case, a probation violation also may have been filed.
"You are notified to appear for arraignment in Division 81 of the Municipal Court, Los Angeles Judicial District, located at 429 BAUCHET ST, LOS ANGELES, CA 90012-2995 at 8:30 a.m. on 01/06/98. Failure to appear at the date and time indicated may result in the issuance of a warrant for your arrest.
Maria Elena Reyes Branch"
The supermarket tabloid Globe carried an article this week in which Scientologist Kirstie Alley claims her love for her boyfriend dates back over 500 years.
"'I'm so in love with James because he reminds me of my ex-husband Francesco from 500 years ago,' Kirstie confided to a pal. 'We were married in the 1400s in a past life.' But despite her startling confession, the sexy star of Veronica's Closet takes the far-out notion of past lives with a grain of salt.
"'Past lives to me are so, like, who cares?' says Kirstie, 42. 'We've all had trillions of them. But every once in a while there are some truly pleasurable ones that you want to remember!' Kirstie plunged into her passionate romance with 34-year-old James after hubby Parker Stevenson filed for divorce in March. They'd been married for 14 years and adopted two children together, Lillie, 3, and William, 5. " But the actress' belief in past lives is not new--it's rooted in her Scientology religion. 'Scientologists believe in the idea of past lives, but not reincarnation,' a spokesman explained to GLOBE."
LA Weekly carried a follow-up to their article on Scientology textbooks and learning techniques. A misdirected fax provided evidence of a Scientology-led fax campaign against the paper.
"A misrouted fax rolled into our offices the other day, from one Margaret McCarthy at Applied Scholastics headquarters to one 'Daryl at Player's Choice,' a trophy shop in Santa Ana. By all appearances, Ms. McCarthy is directing Daryl on what to write in a letter to the editor of the Weekly.
"McCarthy opens the missive to 'Daryl' with instructions for her to re-type an enclosed letter to the editor on her own company letterhead. And then things get weird. McCarthy uses some secret symbolic notation - two vertical lines alternating with two dots - to warn Daryl against making mistakes in the letter. As in: 'Be careful of typos, etc. This is a [secret symbol] publication and you know they'll nail us for any boo boos.'
"We called McCarthy and asked if she was orchestrating a letter-writing campaign against the Weekly, but she wouldn't say."
"The notation, '1.1', was in a fax - mistakenly sent to our machine - from an employee of Scientology-affiliated textbook publisher Applied Scholastics to a Santa Ana merchant, directing her on what to write in a letter to the Weekly's editor. The fax warns: 'Be careful of typos, etc. This is a 1.1 publication and you know they'll nail us for any boo boos.' The notation, as many readers kindly alerted us, comes from the late L. Ron Hubbard's mental Tone Scale, which ranges from 40 (serenity of beingness) to negative 40 (total failure). According to the online Scientology handbook, 1.1, 'the most dangerous and wicked level,' means 'covert hostility' - a common designation bestowed on the Church's perceived enemies. Applied Scholastics president Ian Lyons confirmed the notation's meaning, saying, 'There is no secret about it.'"
LA Weekly: L. Ron Hubbard Strikes Back
LA Weekly: Scientology Decoded
Landmark Education issued a clarification this week of a settlement announced with the Cult Awareness Network in November.
"It has come to the attention of Landmark Education Corporation that there is some confusion regarding the settlement of its lawsuit against the Cult Awareness Network announced Nov. 10, 1997. This is to clarify that the Settlement Agreement was reached with the Board of Directors of the ORIGINAL Cult Awareness Network (the organization against which Landmark's suit was brought) and NOT with the new organization holding itself out as the Cult Awareness Network Hotline operated by the Foundation for Religious Freedom and in some way related to the Church of Scientology, according to Art Schreiber, general counsel, Landmark Education Corporation."
Bob Minton has received additional harassment from Scientology and press publicity from his efforts to fund Scientology-reform causes. One piece of harassment arrived at his New Hampshire home.
"My wife arrived at our house in NH a few moments ago to find a dead, but otherwise healthy looking, cat on our doorstep. Who do you suppose deposited this cat there?"
Bob has agreed to become a memeber of the FACTNet board.
"Bob became concerned with the activities of cult groups through the Internet, and has become increasingly active in exposing cultsí tactics. FACTNet hopes to provide Bob ample opportunity to continue these activities by joining efforts with us, and welcomes him as an exceptional addition to the organization!"
Scientology served him a subpoena in Grady Ward's bankruptcy case to produce documents and conversations with a number of Internet critics and lawyers on other cases. None of the requested documents seem to be related to Grady Ward's bankruptcy.
"YOU ARE COMMANDED to produce and permit inspection and copying of the following documents or objects at the place, date, and time specified below (list documents or objects):
"Any and all documents reflecting agreements that you have entered into with any individual or entity, including, without limitation, Grady Ward, H. Keith Henson, Dennis Erlich, Carla Oakley, Harold McElhinny, Morrison & Foerster, Lawrence Wollersheim, F.A.C.T.Net, Inc., Dell Leibrich, or Kennan Dandar concerning your funding of litigation in opposition to any Church of Scientology, Bridge Publications, Inc., or any employee or parishioner of a Church of Scientology.
"Any and all documents reflecting payments that you have made to any individual or entity, including, without limitation, Grady Ward, H. Keith Henson, Dennis Erlich, Carla Oakley, Harold McElhinny, Morrison & Foerster, Lawrence Wollersheim, F.A.C.T.Net, Inc., Dell Leibrich, or Kennan Dandar who is involved in litigation in opposition to any Church of Scientology, Bridge Publications, Inc., or any employee or parishioner of a Church of Scientology.
"Any and all documents concerning payments you have made to any individual or entity, including, without limitation, Grady Ward, Dennis Erlich, David Touretzky, Ray Randolph, Arnaldo Lerma, Gregg Hagglund, Mark Dallara, Jeff Jacobsen, Martin Ottmann, Kennan Dandar, Deana Holmes, and Rod Keller in connection with travel to Clearwater, Florida to participate in picketing at the Church of Scientology Flag Service Organization.
"Any and all documents concerning any payments you have made to any person or entity, including, without limitation, Grady Ward, H. Keith Henson, Dennis Erlich, Carla Oakley, Harold McElhinny, Morrison & Foerster, Lawrence Wollersheim, F.A.C.T.Net, Inc., Dell Leibrich, or Kennan Dandar, or any other individual involved in litigation in opposition to any Church of Scientology, Bridge Publications, Inc., or any employee or parishioner of a Church of Scientology, in connection with the copying or distribution of Advanced Technology materials on the Internet or by other means."
Bob attended on Boston public television to discuss Scientology. Jeff Spencer provided a transcript of the broadcast.
"Retired Beacon Hill investment banker Robert Minton says Scientology abuses some of its members and uses strong arm tactics to ward off its critics. Minton first took on the church several years ago after the church took legal action against several people who were posting internal church documents on the internet.
"One of the people Minton aided financially was this man - Dennis Erlich of Glendale CA. Erlich had been posting Scientology documents on the Internet when the church sucessfully challenged his first amendment rights, claiming the documents were copyrighted.
"Robert Minton, Retired Investment Banker: Well, the first thing that happened that drew my attention, just being an internet junkie, sort of, was when the Church of Scientology tried to illegally cancel the newsgroup, called alt.religion.scientology, which was set up to discuss all aspects of the Church of Scientology. And it became a haven for critics to discuss the church. And information, the free flow of information, particularly, about the Church of Scientology, has been one thing that they have tried for many years to supress. And they issued an illegal remove group message through an internet server to try to cancel the news group. And this became, purely from a free speech standpoint, a battle cry for a lot of people on the internet. 'What's going on here? Why are these people doing this?'
"[T]hey've followed my 10 and 12 year old daughters down West Cedar Street, 75 feet. Not a particularly intimidating act, in itself, but it's all part of a process of trying to intimidate their critics. And it certainly was intimidating to their mother, to me, and obviously the more concern you create within a family, the less likely there is to be continued involvement in that activity that's causing the problem."
Bob posted a response to some of the charges made by Scientologists on the show, with regards to helping fund the Lisa McPherson civil case.
"Just to set the record straight on the allegations by scientology on WGBH last night that I'm in this for the money, here are facts, not lies scientology: 27 percent of funds will be repaid only if recipient legally prevails and collects enough money to pay for 17 years of litigation expenses plus interest. 21 percent of funds will be repaid only if recipient legally prevails and collects enough money to cover all legal expenses. No interest. 52 percent of funds will be repaid in heaven, I hope, but no interest in required. 100 percent of funds collected on earth will be, as any recipient has been told, continuously used to expose the true nature of scientology until they reform their despicable tactics and practices or until they are hoisted with their own petard."
The New York Times published an article on the controversy.
"Leaving her home in Boston one morning early this month, Therese Minton was shocked to find her husband's photograph on fliers stuck to cars and trees in their Beacon Hill neighborhood. Beneath the photo was text that began: 'The face of religious bigotry. Your neighbor Bob Minton is not all that he seems.' A few nights later, as children arrived for the birthday party of one of the Mintons' two young daughters, three Scientologists picketed quietly outside the home, handing out the same flier. And the same night of his daughter's party, Minton was among about 40 anti-Scientologists marching in front of the church's spiritual headquarters in Clearwater, Fla., to mark the second anniversary of a Scientologist's death, for which the protesters blamed the church.
"These are among the latest skirmishes in an escalating war between the Church of Scientology and Robert S. Minton Jr., a retired investment banker, who has spent $1.25 million to finance some of the church's most outspoken critics. Minton became a dedicated foe of the church after learning of what he considered its heavy-handed efforts to silence the critics.
"In addition to the fliers, the church has private investigators digging through Minton's past, and Minton says he suspects that two men he saw following his school-age daughters twice in October were church operatives, though he says he has no proof. 'I realize that these are the tactics that this church uses to try to intimidate people it can't control,' Minton said. 'They do intimidate me. I'm not a total fool. But I'm not going to walk away either.'
"Church officials vehemently denied authorizing anyone to follow Minton's children and said that he made up those incidents to get press attention. But they acknowledged picketing his house and using private investigators to examine his background. They said both steps were legal and necessary. 'Sometimes it requires aggressive litigation and investigation to uncover the depths of the nefarious plots that have been attempted to destroy Scientology,' said Michael J. Rinder, a director of the Church of Scientology International.
"Minton said he had never heard of Scientology until the spring of 1995 when he learned of the church's activities through the Internet. Although he said he did not question Scientology's beliefs, he said he objected to its treatment of some members and its efforts to silence critics on the Internet. 'The more I learned about the Church of Scientology,' he said, 'the more I couldn't believe that this organization existed in the United States.'
"But the payment that seems to have angered Scientology officials and lawyers most is the $100,000 that Minton gave recently to Kennan Dandar, a lawyer in Tampa, Fla., who represents the family of Lisa McPherson in a wrongful-death civil lawsuit against Scientology. Minton, who said he promised to provide another $250,000 for the McPherson case, if necessary, said the money was intended to level the playing field between Dandar, who runs a small law practice with his brother, and the church, which has hired a small army of lawyers.
"Dandar said that he contacted the Florida Bar Association before accepting the $100,000 and was told it was permissible as long as the family approved it and Minton did not control any aspect of the case. An ethics officer with the bar group said in an interview that Dandar's interpretation was correct."
"Lieutenant's daughter" on America Online posted her comments on Bob Minton.
"You know, there is quite a bit of goodness that comes out the bashers and hatemongers and for that I am grateful. It bonds us as a team. It truly verifies everything LRH has on the PTS/SP course.
"[B]ecause of Minton's declarations, I am countering it with wealth far beyond any fund rasing he could possibly do. His donations will pale in comparison to this kind of wealth. I will ensure the Church has zillions literally zillions. 1000x anything Minton can come up with. I think I must thank Minton for giving me this purpose. I will willingly empty all family fortunes to see the internet religious bigots are handled."
|San Francisco Picket|
The San Francisco org was again the site of a protest by Internet critics this week.
"Today 7 intrepid souls decided to forgo Xmas shopping and picket the San Francisco Org. Elvis, pbxtalk, Conner (#3), Shelley, ermine and stukafox all showed - a great turnout for something organized quickly on the sly.
"[T]he local org gave us almost no reaction the usual cameras, a couple of guys pushing 'stress tests', and only one counter picketer with a sign 'Scientology Fights Drugs'. We did get lots of reaction from passers by - including a couple of screams of 'Scientology Sucks' from passing cars and a steady stream of people passing by walking up and agreeing with us. One woman at the end told us how she had ben slapped in the middle of Market St by one of their body routers for refusing his advances."
"The residents and passers through in this area were far more interesting than the three bored Scientologists who seemed to be on a permanent smoke break. I can't see what the org is trolling for here. Most of the people I saw seemed to be of the financially challenged variety, and not the kind who had excess cash to shell out for a course in modern scammery.
"[T]he org picket was uneventful, and it seems everyone who went by was already pretty much aware that Scientology was a scam. Folks in that neighborhood don't have a lot of spare cash and food is a higher priority than obtaining a state of 'clear'. What was a lot more fun, however, was the walk back to 4th and Mission along Market street with our signs. My friend and I must have passed thousands of people on Market and almost every single one of them looked at my sign. On the front of the sign, 'Scientology Kills!' and on the back, 'Scientology is a criminal scam!'."
"Lieutenant's daughter" posted information about Scientology's efforts in Colombia this week.
"In Columbia [sic], military leaders have had a strong 3rd dynamic purpose to end the civil war with criminal drug lords that was debilitating the country's resources. Not surprisingly when presented with LRH tech and its solutions to immorailty, criminality and war, these top leaders openly embraced it.
"Recently on the top ranking military men in Columbia [sic], Major General Orlando Salazar Gil, currently the director of staff for the Inter American Defense Board in Washington DC visited Flag to pay tribute to LRH for the miracles his tech has brought to Columbia [sic]. He also expressed a desire to set up a Wise College in Columbia [sic]."
"The highlight of Major General Orlando's visit was a dinner at the Flag auditorium. A trumpet fanfare and the Colombian National Anthem set a stately mood as Flag's Office of Special Affair's introduced the Major General to 270 specially invited VIPS and special Publics."
"The General then addressed the audience and gave his own personal reality on LRH's tech and its profound effect on his life and the lives of his countrymen. He expressed his deep gratitude to LRH and then presented an award to LRH which was accepted by Deputy LRH Personal Public Relations International."
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