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Attorney probing complaints against church // Scientology plot to smear official

Title: Attorney probing complaints against church // Scientology plot to smear official
Date: Friday, 30 May 1980
Publisher: Los Angeles Times (California)
Author: Richard West
Main source:
Alternate and/or complementary: link (203 KiB)

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The woman would be "very tough," "obviously pregnant" and a "good actress." She would storm into the Sacramento office of the state attorney general, the boss of Deputy Atty. Gen. Lawrence Tapper of Los Angeles.

"I told Larry I wouldn't do this but he gave me no choise (sic)," she would shout, following the "Operation Snapper" scenario written for her by someone connected with the Church of Scientology in Los Angeles.

"I don't care about his career anymore! I mean look at me! I'll go to the press even if it does ruin my family's reputation. I won't have an abortion!"

Then she would stalk out of the office saying, "Oh, never mind, no one will help me anyway."

That scene was to be one of several embarrassing incidents in Operation Snapper to smear Tapper, who as head of the attorney general's charitable trust unit had been investigating complaints against the Church of Scientology.

Others were to be calls to the attorney general's office from the outraged "father" of the pregnant woman, a visit to the office by a fake nun to accuse Tapper of religious bias and a scheme to deposit "payoff" money into Tapper's bank account.

The plot was made public here by Henrietta Crampton of Redondo Beach, secretary of the Citizens Freedom Foundation, a group made up of several thousand parents whose children have been enticed into religious cults.

Crampton dug out the scheme against Tapper from documents seized three years ago during FBI raids at Church of Scientology offices in Los Angeles. The documents were obtained under Freedom of Information Act by Paulette Cooper, author of "The Scandal of Scientology" book.

A spokesman for the attorney general's office said Thursday that Tapper had no comment on the plot at this time because he and other public officials are being sued for $1 million by the Church of Scientology for alleged illegal infiltration of its operations.

However, Heber Jentzsch, director of public relations for the church here, said the plot constituted nothing more than "unauthorized pranks of which we have no evidence were ever carried out."

Jentzsch said the scenarios for embarrassing Tapper "were written years ago by an individual subsequently removed from any position of responsibility" in the church.

Crampton, though, said she believes "that at least the pregnant woman idea had been carried out" against the deputy attorney general.

She said that when she telephoned Tapper to Feb. 29 to ask him if he knew about the scheme, he asked her, "Does it involve a pregnant woman?"

Crampton said she had assumed the FBI would have told Tapper or someone in the attorney general's office about the plot, but that during their phone conversation he appeared "dumbfounded" over the extent of the scheme.

"You mean, you have all that on paper?" Crampton quoted Tapper as saying. I certainly do — right out of the Scientology files," she said she replied.

"You've made my weekend," Tapper exclaimed, according to Crampton. He then asked her to send copies at the documents to him, she added, which she did two days later.

The nun scenario involved the sending of a woman dressed in a nun's habit to the attorney general's office. While the nun is asking the receptionist how she goes about filing a complaint against someone in the office, an accomplice posing as a news photographer comes up.

"Holy Cow!" the photographer cries as he hears the nun's query. "What a story. Excuse me, sister, I couldn't help overhearing you, are you filing a complaint?"

The scenario continues:

"Pressure is quickly put on the nun, forcing her to stammer out ... 'He uses his position to attack anything that's not Jewish ... Well if you must know. It's Lawrence Tapper. Oh, I shouldn't have said that.'"

As the photographer takes her picture, the document goes on, "Nun covers her face completely. She says please don't. No! Oh God. I shouldn't have come here. Nun leaves very upset. Photographer asks receptionist who was that ... and leaves."

The document then calls for the sending of the photograph with an article to minority newspapers and telephone calls to the "bigger papers to see if they would be interested."

"The article will cast aspersions on the charity fraud area and Tapper," the document says.

In the payoff scheme, according to the documents, a "30-year-old tough looking male" would be recruited to go to Tapper's bank and deposit five 20 bills into his account under the name of a man "who just got busted for dealing in drugs."

A receipt of the transaction would be delivered to the attorney general, then Evelle Younger, by "an upstate banker type male," who would leave without giving his name.