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

Volume 7, Issue 27 - October 6 2002


The Patriot Ledger reported on September 25th that Scientology is protesting the Judge Rotenberg Center in Canton, Massachusetts, a mental health facility, claiming abuse of its patients. "About a dozen protesters stood outside the Judge Rotenberg Center in Canton yesterday, demonstrating against what it says are cruel treatment programs at the facility. The private facility operates day and residential programs for 145 adults and children with developmental disabilities and behavioral problems. The children take classes and live in residential facilities throughout Massachusetts, including Canton and Stoughton. The center has been in Canton since 1996. "'What makes this place stand out is their desire to stress aversives, which means pain of many different sorts,' said Christopher Garrison, Massachusetts director of the Citizens Commission on Human Rights. The group, co-founded by the Church of Scientology in 1969, includes Canton residents. Protesters stood along Route 138 in front of the center during the evening rush-hour. They held a sign that declared, 'Patients tortured here,' and had another sign listing treatments they find inhumane, such as electric shock treatment. "Inside the center, staff peeked out the windows at the protesters with amused curiosity. They dismissed the group's claims by explaining aversion therapy and showing videos of patients before and after receiving treatment. 'We serve students with extremely severe behavioral problems, including patients who mutilate themselves' said executive director Matthew Israel. "On the video, patients slammed their heads against walls, bit themselves and shoved their hands down their own throats. Israel said that to eradicate such behavior the center thrives on rewards and punishments. Some of the rewards patients ask for and receive include hot fudge sundaes and chocolate milk. The center has a large 'reward room,' with pinball machines, a billiards table and a television. Punishments include mechanical restraints and electrical shocks. Some patients wear a backpack containing an electrical device. If a patient acts aggressively, staff members can activate the backpack by remote control, sending 12-volt, 2-second surges across the surface of the patient's skin. 'It's painful but it's brief,' said Israel. 'It's a form of treatment that is lifesaving for many patients.'" From the Stoughton Journal on October 4th: "The use of the Graduated Electric Decelerator appears to be the most contentious practice that occurs at the Judge Rotenberg Center. The GED is used at the JRC as part of the series of 'aversive therapies' many students are made to undergo during their treatment time at the center. "Von Heyn said the GED was developed because the device previously used, SIBIS, was shown to be ineffective in treating students. That device applied a shock of five milliamps for a duration of two-tenths of a second. The GED applies a shock of 30 milliamps for a duration of two seconds. "Chris Garrison of the Citizens Commission on Human Rights: 'Yes, anyone will break under pain, it's just like John McCain who was a POW during Vietnam, all of those guys broke under pain. It drives them down,' Garrison said. 'Their self-determinism is crushed, and that is viewed as a cure. A cure in the field of mental health often times is something which makes the person stop moving around or communicating,' he added. "But, administrators at the JRC support the use of 'aversive therapy' and specifically the need for a continued use of the GED device. 'Many of these individuals were under going positive programming before coming here and it was not shown to be successful,' von Heyn said. He added that the aversive therapy should be continued because it has been successful in more than 95 percent of the cases. "Administrators from the Judge Rotenberg Center did meet briefly with protesters last week outside and center and an invitation was given for the group to come and visit the JRC according to a staff member at the JRC." Message-ID: uRim9.388$ Message-ID: uTXn9.451$

State Hornet

On October 2nd, a letter to the editor of the State Hornet, the newspaper of the California State University Sacramento, protested the inclusion of a recent Scientology advertising insert. "This is the second time in two weeks that I've seen in the Hornet an 8-page promotion for Scientology/Dianetics with NO indication that it's a paid advertisement. I am disgusted and angry and I don't want to see it again. This week's edition printed its 'regret' on page A-6 that the paper failed to indicate it was an advertisement last week, but that this week's edition would be 'labeled correctly.' It isn't! "Dianetics/Scientology is known to be an organization that thrives on human gullibility. It's nothing more than a 'snake-oil' scheme for sucking in foolish people and taking their money and it's highly successful at doing so in manipulative and unscrupulous ways. Your unlabeled insert is typical of their underhanded methods. "Lynda Young - CSUS Staff" Message-ID: LxCm9.413$


The Oregonian reported on October 1st that a Scientology minister joined Portland area religious leaders in opposition to U.S. plans to attack Iraq. "Two dozen faith leaders representing Christian denominations and Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, Unitarian and interfaith groups across the Portland area joined Monday in declaring their opposition to a U.S. war on Iraq. The group included Quakers and others who oppose the use of force under any circumstances. Joining them at a news conference, however, were religious leaders who have supported military action in President Bush's war on terrorism but who say his plans for Iraq are so far unjustified. "Leaders who called the news conference were: Gulzar Ahmed, Islamic Society of Greater Portland; Warren Aney, Presbytery of the Cascades; the Rev. Althena Boozer, St. Philip the Deacon Episcopal Church; Valerie Chapman, St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church; Angie DeRouchie, Church of Scientology; Heidi Hoogstra, Portland Buddhist Peace Fellowship; the Rev. Mark Knudsen, Augustana Lutheran Church; the Rev. Chris Laing, Portland State University campus ministries; the Rev. Kerby Lauderdale, Peace Church of the Brethren; the Rev. Arvin Luchs, First United Methodist Church; Tina McMahon, Multnomah Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends; John Munson, Reedwood Friends Church. Bishop Edward Paup, Oregon/Idaho Annual Conference, United Methodist Church; the Rev. Cecil Prescod, Ainsworth United Church of Christ; the Rev. Eugene Ross, Central Pacific Conference, United Church of Christ; the Rev. John Schweibert, Metanoia Peace Community; the Rev. Wes Taylor, board president, Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon; the Rev. Richard Toll, St. John's Episcopal Church; Mary Jo Tully, chancellor, Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Portland; the Rev. Kris Voss-Rothmeier, Milwaukie Presbyterian Church; and Grace Young, Spiritual City Club." Message-ID:


Community Press reported on October 4th that Scientology discussed plans to open a Narconon facility in Marmora, Ontario at a town meeting. "Penny Luthra of Narconon, a charitable organization, is in the process of setting up a drug rehabilitation centre in the former Trelawney Motel on Highway #7 west. Renovations are under way and there is currently one student in residence enrolled in the eight-step program which begins with drug-free withdrawal and progresses through training routines, a detoxification program, and life improvement courses which are designed to, 'put the individual back in control of his or her life.' Information provided by Luthra indicated that the Narconon success rate of approximately 70 per cent, was considerably higher than that of traditional drug addiction treatment programs. Printed material suggested, 'This rehabilitation program is extremely complete. It addresses the real reasons why a person has taken the drug in the first place. It handles the real problem and provides the individual with the knowledge and certain weapons to live a happy drug fee life.' "Participants are referred to as students in keeping with the educational process taking place. Several questions arose following the presentation which Luthra and Al Buttnor, a representative of the Church of Scientology answered thoughtfully and with candor. Cathie Jones who chaired the meeting was told that workers at the centre would undergo specific training and that there would be a ratio of two staff members for three students. The Marmora facility is the first of its kind in Ontario, although there are currently applications for licences in Toronto and Niagara Falls. "The cost to the students, who are there of their own volition through a desire to free themselves of drugs and not by court order, is $15,000. Luthra explained that students learn of the centre through such means as the Internet and by word of mouth. In response to a question from Steve Flynn, Luthra said that during the course of their treatment, students would remain at the facility with the exception of the occasional time later in treatment when they might take a supervised trip into town. She also suggested that if there were a problem, such as a fight, the OPP could be called, but Buttnor interjected saying that as far as he knew, at the two large Narconon centres in Quebec, that only once had the police been called. "Ted Bonter asked why that particular site had been chosen in view of the fact it was a rather small property with no real room for expansion, with a shortage of water and without adequate sewage capabilities. Buttnor explained that Davinder Luthra, who is not a Scientologist, but had learned of Narconon during a Toronto good works ceremony, had visited several other locations and as a licensee had decided this was the one that best suited his needs. He continued, 'It is very unusual for someone who is not a Scientologist to take this much interest in Narconon. He came up and found your community very accepting. It is a very lovely community and he thought it would be an excellent location where somebody could actually recover from a drug problem.' "A date was set for an open meeting with Narconon representatives at the town hall on the evening of October 28." Message-ID: %QAn9.439$

St. Louis Org

The St. Louis Post Dispatch reported on October 5th that a man attacked several Scientologists during a visit to demand his removal from their mailing list. "Lloyd Flemig, 49, of University City, was charged Friday with attacking several Church of Scientology members. Flemig went to a Scientology church at 6901 Delmar Boulevard in University City on Thursday afternoon, demanding to be removed from a mailing list, police said. Flemig threatened to blow up the building, punched and kicked several people, slapped a woman and bit a man, according to authorities. Flemig, of the 7400 block of Olin Drive, was charged with five counts of third-degree assault and unlawful use of a weapon." Message-ID:

Tom Padgett

Arnie Lerma reported on October 3rd that Tom Padgett has been extradited from Rhode Island to Kentucky, where he previous served jail time in a child support dispute with his ex-wife, who may still be a Scientologist. "Tom was released by RI authorities into the hands of two Kentucky sheriffs about 2 pm yesterday. They flew him to Kentucky via Delta Airlines from Green Airport RI to Nashville Tennessee and then he was driven by car to Hopkins County Jail. He called his family about 3 am from the Kentucky jail who knew nothing. Tom protested that he had a scheduled extradition hearing the next day and that he wanted to talk to his lawyer. He was told not to argue. The hearing was to decide if he wanted to fight extradition or waive his right to fight it. Tom's RI lawyer has been desperately trying to find a criminal lawyer for Tom in Kentucky. So far no lawyer wants to take the case." Message-ID:

Wayback Machine

The Times published an article on October 1st on the decision by the operators of the Wayback Machine, an Internet archive site, to honor the demands of Scientology in removing materials they claim are copyrighted. "When it comes to the Internet's history, the real power-brokers are proving to be the lawyers - and especially those employed by the Church of Scientology. Last week the internet's biggest digital archive became that much smaller after Scientology lawyers insisted that it remove pages created by the organisation's critics. Those running the archive did so with barely a murmur, proving yet again how effective the church's legal threats can be in undermining free speech. The archive, known as the Wayback Machine, keeps snapshots of millions of old web pages - a remarkable resource available to anyone free of charge at But last week, researchers looking for pages taken from anti-Scientology sites such as were told that they were no longer available 'per the request of the site owner.' In fact, the demand had come from the church alone, on the ground that copyrighted material contained within these sites put them in breach of the controversial US Digital Millennium Copyright Act. "Under the Act, the church has 'asserted ownership' of work contained within these sites. Yet the result has been to remove entire websites, including pages that appear to be within the law. At, Andreas Heldal-Lund, a long-time opponent of the church, suggests that copyright law is merely a tool to censor critics. 'I'm the author, and I never asked that (the site) be removed,' he says. Another victim, the respected computer scientist Dave Touretzky, found all his research pages blocked from the archive thanks to some anti-Scientology articles. 'I don't exist,' he says. 'I've been erased from internet history. All because I dared to have some Scientology material on my website.' "Faced with the threat of litigation from the Scientologists, the archive appears to have removed entire domains before taking detailed counsel of its own. After all, no non-profit body likes to risk offending such a determined litigator as the church. Even Google, the search engine, removed links to and similar sites last March, faced with similar wide-ranging copyright claims from the church's lawyers. "In the Google case, the decision caused an outcry, and the company soon unblocked the links. No lawsuit has followed. Yet the church continues to put legal pressure on smaller websites, Internet service providers and even online booksellers to suppress dissent. And each time one of its targets succumbs, another blow is dealt to free debate." 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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