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Scientology unaware of spies, trial told

Title: Scientology unaware of spies, trial told
Date: Thursday, 28 May 1992
Publisher: Toronto Star (Canada)
Author: Wendy Darroch
Main source:

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A scientologist who spent two years in a California prison for helping to steal government documents says her church knew nothing about the crimes.

Jane Kender, 55, was deputy guardian of the Church of Scientology in Sussex, England, in 1968 when the British government put a ban on Scientologists coming into the country, she told court yesterday.

She was testifying at the trial of the Church of Scientology and five of its members charged with criminal breach of trust in connection with agents infiltrating the RCMP, the OPP, Metro police and the provincial attorney-general's office between April, 1974, and November, 1976.

She said the church in a rural area of Sussex was the only one delivering certain services and people from all over the world were flocking to it.

When the government ban was imposed, "reporters phoned from around the world, TV crews were popping out from behind bushes, we had anonymous death threats, bullet holes in the windows, children were harassed because their parents were Scientologists — it was unbelievable," Kender testified.

She said those flying in to attend the church were arrested on airplanes and those already there, who were not U.K. citizens, were sent home.

Inquiries into the church were started in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, she continued.

"I decided it was essential to get information because I felt we were going to be eliminated by the enormous resources of these governments with all their money. I decided to start an intelligence that was undercover," she told defence counsel Clayton Ruby.

"I didn't tell anyone" — including church founder L. Ron Hubbard or other senior church officials who were on a yacht off Morocco.

Kender said she bought books on spying and how to obtain covert information and set up a network of agents that would infiltrate areas they believed were enemies of the church.

"We were under heavy attack. We needed information. If your church has been banned and the police are leaping around with drawn guns, seizing books, you're going to be squashed dead by giant governments. We had to move fast. We had to get information.

The trial is continuing before Mr. Justice James Southey.

Copyright 1992 Toronto Star, All Rights Reserved.