Vickie FordVickie Ford placed an ad in the May 6th issue of U.S. News and World Report to publicize how Scientology has separated her family. "The ad says on top: OUR FAMILY Below that it has a picture of Vickie, David and their son. Below the picture it says 'before Scientology.' Then there is the same picture with the son blocked out. And below it says 'after Scientology.'" Message-ID: email@example.com
Lawrence WollersheimThe Washington Post reported on May 10th that Scientology has paid Lawrence Wollersheim for the judgment he was originally awarded in 1986. "The Church of Scientology never paid - until yesterday, when officials wrote a check for more than $8.6 million to end the case, one of the longest-running in California history. 'They stalled it and stalled it and stalled it,' said Wollersheim, 53, now of Nevada. He called his victory a landmark for former members of the church, which is known for heated and protracted legal battles. 'I'm smiling,' he said. 'It's like being the first plaintiff to get a victory against the cigarette companies.' "Wollersheim, who ran a small photo business, joined Scientology in 1969 and later became a recruiter. He signed a 'billion-year' contract to serve the church but says that he ended up being punished in a 'thought reform gulag,' consigned to the hold of a ship docked off California for 18 hours a day. The ship was part of a mini-navy assembled by L. Ron Hubbard, the science fiction writer who created the church in the early 1950s. Because of Scientology practices, 'Wollersheim's mental condition worsened to the point he actively contemplated suicide,' a California appeals court said in 1989. 'The church's conduct was manifestly outrageous.' "Wollersheim, who suffered from a bipolar disorder, was forbidden to seek medical help under Scientology policies, he says. He quit the church after spending $150,000 on Hubbard's 'mental health' regimes, and by 1980 had filed suit. In 1986, a jury awarded him $5 million in compensatory damages and $25 million to punish the church for what jurors called intentional and negligent 'infliction of emotional distress.' The total was reduced on appeal to $2.5 million. But Scientology officials vowed they would pay 'not one thin dime for Wollersheim,' and members were rallied to chant that slogan at hearings. "Church attorney William Drescher yesterday blamed Wollersheim in part for the long delay in resolving the case. 'From what I understand, Wollersheim didn't make any effort to collect [the judgment] for 11 years,' he said. "But attorneys for Wollersheim said the church evaded payment by setting up corporate shells and employing endless hardball legal tactics, based on Hubbard policies that aim to ruin ex-members who sue the church. 'Twenty-two years is extraordinary,' attorney Ford Greene said." From the Associated Press on May 11th: "Church officials on Thursday handed over a check for $8,674,843 to Los Angeles County Superior Court, saying they wanted to put the matter behind them. 'This lawsuit was over 20 years old and concerned events from 30 years ago,' Neil Levin, president of the Church of Scientology of California, said in a statement. "Wollersheim, who lives in Nevada, joined the church in 1969. 'Everything hasn't had a chance to set in, except that this is a great victory for social justice,' he said by phone Friday. "According to his lawsuit, at one point he was held on a ship for 18 hours a day, deprived of food and sleep. He said it was a mind control tactic that caused him to develop bipolar disorder. 'The counseling techniques are designed to either break you or make you a slave,' said Wollersheim, 53. 'I was on the edge of insanity.'" From the Los Angeles Times on May 11th: "The payment came nearly 22 years after Lawrence Wollersheim, 53, filed his 1980 lawsuit, and nearly 16 years after a California jury awarded him $30 million. In the intervening years, the award was reduced on appeal to $2.5 million and went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, where it was upheld in 1994. Meanwhile, the $2.5 million collected 10% interest and eventually grew to $8,674,843, which was deposited Thursday with the Los Angeles County Superior Court. "'This is an absolute watershed,' said Arnie Lerma, 52, an ex-Scientologist who manages a Web site devoted to critiquing the religion. Lerma said he hopes the award will convince other ex-Scientologists to file their own lawsuits. "On his Web site, www.factnet.org, Wollersheim issued a statement: 'The cult that vowed it would never pay me one thin dime has now paid over 86 million thin dimes.'" From Reuters on May 11th: "'They're facing a cigarette company meltdown,' Lawrence Wollersheim, 53, told Reuters, referring to the flurry of claims filed against tobacco companies after the first successful suit brought by a smoker with health problems. 'This case has broken their litigation machine,' said Wollersheim, who co-founded the FACTNet.org Web site devoted to disseminating information about cults and groups accused of mind control. 'I'm extremely happy to end such horrible litigation.' "Linda Simmons Hight, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles-based Church of Scientology International, the Los parent of affiliate organizations worldwide, said church officials believed it to be the first payment of a judgment, at least in the last 20 years. "Hight dismissed Wollersheim's charges that the church abused members and stonewalled on paying the judgment. 'That's so outrageous and insulting that I don't want to respond to that,' she said. 'I don't want to respond to his ramblings.' Hight could not say how many lawsuits had been filed against the church by former members or if there had been any settlements. 'This is the last piece of litigation,' she said." Message-ID: %JSC8.129$2V2.firstname.lastname@example.org Message-ID: _U9D8.214$2V2.email@example.com Message-ID: %0aD8.215$2V2.firstname.lastname@example.org Message-ID: tSkD8.115$W83.email@example.com
Oxford Capacity AnalysisThe Orlando Sentinel reported on May 8th that a podiatrist is using Scientology's personality test to screen job applicants. "Renee Zines was stunned when her interviewer at the podiatrists' office also handed her a 200-question personality test. Some of the questions seemed harmless, if goofy, such as: 'Do you often sing or whistle just for the fun of it?' Others offended the Melbourne woman, such as questions about her moods, her eating and spending habits, how many friends she has, whether she likes to gossip or steal things, whether she has pondered suicide and the number of children she plans to have. Experts say such tests - or any overly personal questions asked of job applicants - are rarely appropriate, and they can even be illegal. "The test that Zines took was the Oxford Capacity Analysis, a questionnaire created by the Church of Scientology that some employers use to screen applicants. This and similar tests became common in the early 1990s but have dropped off because of controversy and the tight labor market. Today, roughly one in five employers still uses them, according to the Society for Human Resource Management. "'I felt that I was being violated,' says Zines, 25, now a sales assistant for a telecommunications firm. 'I thought the questions were really personal. Those questions have nothing to do with working at a podiatry clinic.' "Interview questions are illegal if they seek to classify applicants based on categories protected under anti-discrimination laws, including race, national origin, religion, age, disability or marital status." Message-ID: 9WfC8.170$Gb5.firstname.lastname@example.org
Protest SummaryJohn Ritson and Jens Tingleff reported a protest on May 11th in Brighton, England. "We were able to launch into the usual round of 'AGAINST the barmy UFO cult' on the microphone and leafleting and keep it up for about two and a half hours, by which time the leaflets were all gone. Slightly more activity from the 'org' this time. One character came outside for a cigarette, and their obligatory complaint to the police resulted in a solitary constable arriving, calling the station with a report of the situation and then shrugging his shoulders and departing, much to the disappointment of the solitary smoker. And he was certainly solitary for part of the time as one person arrived and he had to let them in with a key. "As were halfway back to the station, two Scientologists we had not seen before came racing uphill after us to claim that we had been such a help to them that some students had signed up for extra courses. We told them that we loved coming back to Brighton to help them out, but it was difficult to justify the effort for such a downstat 'org.' Their extremely late arrival makes it likely that they were ordered in from Saint Hill or from their homes and needed to make contact with us to claim to have 'confronted' the 'evil suppressives.'" "John R did his usual fantastic job on the microphone, 'protest AGAINST $cientology' loudly enough to make everyone notice. A few people did not notice that we were protesting against the criminal organisation known as the 'church' spit of Scientology. These people had simply recognised the bad vibes surrounding anything to do with $cientology and firmly shut out anything to do with the CoS. "Several school-kids (10-13 year olds) came up and asked if they could have some more Xenu leaflets to hand out to everyone that they knew. I had to tell them no, since we'd only brought a few leaflets, but also told them to get copies off the Web (www.xenu.net, of course). We did get two who were obviously little clams. The two of them stood around, read leaflets, went away, came back, stood around. Finally, one walked up and said 'Scientology is real.' I corrected it to 'Scientology is a real problem.' He non-confronted the Xenu leaflet a bit more, held up a fist and tried to shout 'Scientology is real' and left." Arnie Lerma reported a protest on Washington, DC on May 11th. "I got there about 1:30. I walked around the neighborhood putting 'It's worse than you think!' posters up around the neighborhood. They have before and after 17 days of 'care' photos of Lisa McPherson. I put one on the lamp post on the corner right in front of the org. "I went out and started picketing alone at about 2PM. Sylvia came out took a photo, and tried to chat some. I started in on 'If there was just one OT in scientology, I wouldn't be here.' She walked back to the org, walking right by the poster on the lamppost, but did not see it. A couple of times she and other 'OT's walked past it while we picketed. "Wes Fager showed up. At one point Wes drew a crowd of perhaps 12 people listening to him. Sylvia tried to interrupt a bit but eventually gave up as I'd stand behind her and point out the Scientology LIES in RED arrow on my sign, which said 'Warning, Entering Greedy Cult zone WWW.XENU.NET.' At one point one of the org member posing as an interested public managed to grab 15 flyers or so and ran into the org with the fruits of her theft. They also used 'sprinkler' tech but it did nothing. I asked them if they were gonna bring out a leaf blower next. "Because we were on the corner, at break time, 3:30, they put up a sign that said 'Please use side entrance' facing inwards, on front door. So Wes and I moved to either side of the driveway where we could ask the handful of students and staff 'Are there any OT's there? If there were just one OT in scn we wouldn't be here.' A couple of folks mentioned Wollersheim, having read it in the Washington Post. Wes and I walked away, smiling, because the 'It's Worse than you THINK' poster was still on the lamp post right in front of the org. Tory Christman reported a protest in Los Angeles on My 11th. "Today was the Celebration of the anniversary of Dianetics, so a few of us decided to picket. Many people who usually do were out of town, but we here decided to go ahead anyway. My sign said: 'Wollersheim is PAID (after 22 years) By Scientology: 8.7 Million Dollars!' and the other side said, 'Scientology Pays Wollersheim 87 Million 'Thin Dimes!'" "Phantom Picketer joined us, and this was his first picket. Jeff Jacobsen came, and also a new X-Sea Org member, Dan. We all headed from here to the Int HGB (Hollywood Guarantee Building). The staff were for the most part hiding inside the buildings. They snuck things out rapidly into vans for the event, if we were down the street. Once we'd go back, they'd zoom everyone back in the building. "The Scientology Parishioners League arrived, and all huddled at one end of a block. Jeff Jacobsen had discovered a law re: picketing and blocking pickets. He said he'd posted it last night, so they were all in different form today. "We walked back and forth in front of the L. Ron Hubbard Life Exhibition and passed out flyers on Xenu.net and Scientology in general. One guy rode by on his bike and whispered to me, 'Keep exposing them.' Many people said similar things in various different ways. This went on all day. "We all moved from INT down the block to the 'Testing Center' and picketed that. Again, they had a few 'OT's' who refused to talk to us at all. These 'Ots' were out trying to hand out their flyers. Few people would take them, but many took ours. On to the Shrine. There as we drove by tons of staff was outside eating dinner. We parked, and walked there with our signs. As we got there, they'd shuttled all staff inside. God forbid they might see the truth: LARRY WOLLERSHEIM WAS PAID 8.7 Million Dollars! We picketed the one side for awhile, and then joined Jeff on the other side. Jeff had handed OSA the law printed out, so although they had signs to block ours, they weren't nearly as bad as they have been in the past. Also funny is their signs saying 'Welcome' and me standing right next to them with 'Scientology PAYS Wollersheim 8.7 Million Dollars'. "At the end I stood next to Joel who I had turned the Scientology Parishioners League over to and said: 'You have your views, and I have mine. But the big difference is I still like you, and you have to hate my guts.' I could tell he heard me and he didn't really like that concept." 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A.r.s. Week in Review is put together by Rod Keller ©
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