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Scientology: A judge's verdict // 'corrupt, immoral, sinister'

Title: Scientology: A judge's verdict // 'corrupt, immoral, sinister'
Date: Tuesday, 24 July 1984
Publisher: Daily Mail (UK)
Author: Stewart Payne
Main source: link (191 KiB)

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A HIGH Court judge yesterday delivered a damning indictment of the Church of Scientology.

Mr Justice Latey described the Californian-based sect as 'corrupt, immoral, sinister and dangerous'.

And of its methods, he declared: 'For those of us old enough to remember, it is grimly reminiscent of the ranting and bullying of Hitler and his henchmen.'

He was giving judgment in the High Court Family Division at the end of a six-month 'tug of love' battle over two children whose father is a dedicated Scientologist but whose mother has left the sect.

Awarding care and control of the unnamed children, aged eight and ten, to the mother, Mr Justice Latey was unequivocal in his condemnation of the cult, founded by part-time science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard.

Scientology, which has 200,000 members in this country is, he said, 'both immoral and socially obnoxious.'

He declared: 'It is corrupt because it is based on lies and deceit and has as its real objective money and power for its founder, his wife, and those close to him at the top.

'It is sinister because it indulges in infamous practices both to its adherents who do not toe the line unquestioningly and to those outside who oppose it.

'It is dangerous because it is out to capture people, especially children and impressionable young people, and indoctrinate and brainwash them so that they become the unquestioning captives and tools of the cult.'

And he warned: 'The powers of this court are wide and its arm is long. If there is any intimidation or harassment of any description of anyone connected with this case, it will be dealt with with the utmost severity.'

Earlier this year the Daily Mail — which exposed another cult, the Moonies, as 'The Church that Breaks Up Families' — revealed that the Scientologists had reverted to the practice of 'disconnection', described in court yesterday as a 'ruthless and inhuman disciplinary measure'.

Following yesterday's case the mother, aged 28, plans to take the children to Australia where she has settled with another former cult member, a 36-year-old art dealer. They will be handed over to her on August 13.

She explained : 'It was agreed at a private session with the judge that the children would come to me after they have had their holidays. Everything had been pre-arranged so I didn't want to upset their arrangements.'

The job of telling the children they will be leaving their father has been left to him. The mother said : 'They know about the situation. One of us has to tell them they are coming to live with me and because they've been living with their father for so long we thought it was best that he did it.'

The youngsters have been living with their father in East Grinstead, West Sussex, where the Scientologists have their UK headquarters and attended a school run principally by the sect.

Although the father, who has remarried since the couple's divorce in 1979, had promised to seek to correct the evils of Scientology there was little he could do, Mr Justice Latey declared.

'The result would be that he would be declared a suppressive person with all that that would entail for him and his family. the baleful influence of the church would, in reality, still be there and the children would remain gravely at risk.'

However, the judge said the children should not be cut off from father altogether because that would seriously upset them.

After yesterday's hearing the mother was in tears of joy as she said: 'I am extremely pleased. It is nice to be free from Scientology. There has been constant demands from them to cease these proceedings with threats that my children and I would be harmed. I hope now that we will be free from that interference.'

The cult, the judge had warned, would go to any length to extort obedience from its members. 'The stranglehold is tight and unrelenting and the discipline ruthless,' he said. 'The church resorts to lies and deceit wherever it thinks it will profit it to do so.'

The judge said: 'Mr Hubbard is a charlatan and worse, as are his wife Mary Sue Hubbard and the clique at the top privy to the cult's activities.' Mrs Hubbard, the judge added, had been convicted of criminal offences in the United States in connection with Scientology and imprisoned.

Hiding

He said that in order to 'promote' himself Hubbard had made extravagant claims which the judge proceeded to demolish. They included:

* That he was a much-decorated war hero. He was not.

* That he commanded a corvette squadron. He did not.

* That he was crippled and blinded in the war and cured himself with techniques used by cult members. He was not crippled and was not blinded.

* That he was sent by U.S. naval intelligence to break up a black magic ring in California. He was not. In fact he was himsef a member of that occult group and practised ritual sexual magic in it.

* That he was a graduate of George Washington University and an atomic physicist. In fact he completed only one year and failed the one course on nuclear physics in which he enrolled.

* That he is a 'Doctor'. He is not. The title is self-bestowed.

Hubbard is currently hiding in the United States with three teenagers.

Home Secretary Leon Britten is now likely to face questions by MPs about the activities of the Scientologists.

His predecessor Viscount Whitelaw was responsible for relaxing a 12-year ban on the entry of non-British students of Scientology into Britain in 1980 and Mr Britten is being urged to review the ban.

Case No .1

Smear attack on doctor who spoke up

ONE man who dared to speak out against the cult was punished by a smear campaign against him.

Psychiatrist John Clark, who is not a Scientologist, gave evidence for the mother in the case before Mr Justice Latey. The cult tried to gag him by writing to Harvard, the American university where he is a doctor of medicine, and to the director of Massachusetts General Hospital.

Cult agents rang his patients and neighbours trying to smear him, and at the hospital offered a 25,000-dollar reward for evidence that would prove him a criminal.

Three times they complained to a medical board falsely alleging improper professional conduct.

Dr Clark was declared a 'Number One Enemy' by the Scientologists. They brought two costly law suits against him. Both were dismissed.

Case No .2

Bully boys attack man who quit and upset the leader

THE judge gave a graphic example of a man who had been declared 'fair game' by cult leaders.

In Hubbard's own words, the court heard, anyone regarded as 'fair game' may be 'deprived of property or injured by any means by any Scientologist without any discipline of the Scientologist.'

The 'fair game' may be 'tricked, sued, lied to, or destroyed'.

A senior Scientologist for 13 years was declared 'fair game' after breaking free and incurring Hubbard's wrath.

The cult, said the Judge, 'disseminated stories' internationally, falsely accusing him of theft.

They also 'hired paid bullies to harass him and his wife day and night for over a month, threatened his life, assaulted him and hit him with a car'.

The Judge did not accept that the 'fair game' policy had been dropped by the cult because in Hubbard's own words 'it causes bad public relations'.

Mr Justice Latey said: 'Deprival of property, injury by any means, trickery, suing, lying or destruction have been pursued throughout and to this day with the fullest possible vigour.'