This may be one of the saddest photos we’ve ever posted here at the Underground Bunker. It shows the scene on January 31 at the Church of Scientology in Pasadena, California, and it was included in a press release put out by the church itself.
The occasion was a speech given by the woman you see in the center of the photograph. Her name is Mala Langholz, and she’s a Holocaust survivor. Last year, she co-wrote a poignant remembrance of surviving the Auschwitz death camp with a 101-year-old Armenian woman who as a child had survived the Armenian genocide in Turkey. But on this occasion, Langholz had been convinced to give a talk about her experiences for Scientology’s rabid anti-psychiatry front group, the Citizens Commission on Human Rights, CCHR.
Of Scientology’s many front groups, CCHR is the most unhinged. It maintains a museum on Sunset Boulevard whose name is Psychiatry: An Industry of Death, and one of the claims it makes in that house of propaganda is that the Holocaust was actually a product of psychiatry, not Nazism.
We have a feeling Ms. Langholz was not informed of that before she agreed to give her talk at CCHR’s gathering. But even more than that sad deception of a survivor, there’s something even sadder in that photograph.
It’s the tall man standing behind Ms. Langholz.
You probably recognize him. His name is Lee Baca, he is the former sheriff of Los Angeles County, and yesterday, just ten days after this photo was taken, Baca pleaded guilty to a charge of lying to federal investigators in a probe of violence and corruption in his jails, and he faces a bargained sentence of six months in custody.
So, two years after he retired as sheriff, and just days away from being disgraced in a corruption probe that had lasted years, Lee Baca was still shilling for Scientology. And you have to ask yourself, why?
Baca was always an odd public servant. We can still remember when he was first elected in 1998 and the LA Times noting that he didn’t talk like a sheriff. Baca sounded more like a New Age motivational speaker, and his progressive platitudes earned him the nickname Sheriff Moonbeam. Maybe it was inevitable that Baca would buddy up with Scientology, which used Baca in parades and events and found him to be reliably supportive for years.
But all that should have ended two years ago when Baca retired under a cloud, right? We’re wondering what has kept Baca coming to Scientology events, even this one in Pasadena just a couple of weeks ago. Has Baca really got nothing better to do?
As our readers have been pointing out since the news of Baca’s guilty plea broke yesterday, you have to wonder if Scientology will continue to use Baca in its promotional materials.
Like, is the sheriff invited to the big event coming up on February 20? Check out the flier we were smuggled about it…
We sure wish we could go. We just hope one of our tipsters will leak us a list of the special guests. And we can’t help wondering if Lee Baca won’t still make the scene.
Bonus photos from our tipsters
Eduardo Galan has gone Clear!
Hey, girl. Can I tell you about your human rights? (Thanks, Legoland.)
E-mail tips and story ideas to tonyo94 AT gmail DOT com or follow us on Twitter. We post behind-the-scenes updates at our Facebook author page. After every new story we send out an alert to our e-mail list and our FB page.
Our book, The Unbreakable Miss Lovely: How the Church of Scientology tried to destroy Paulette Cooper, is on sale at Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions. We’ve posted photographs of Paulette and scenes from her life at a separate location. Reader Sookie put together a complete index. More information about the book, and our 2015 book tour, can also be found at the book’s dedicated page.
Learn about Scientology with our numerous series with experts…
BLOGGING DIANETICS: We read Scientology’s founding text cover to cover with the help of L.A. attorney and former church member Vance Woodward
UP THE BRIDGE: Claire Headley and Bruce Hines train us as Scientologists
GETTING OUR ETHICS IN: Jefferson Hawkins explains Scientology’s system of justice
SCIENTOLOGY MYTHBUSTING: Historian Jon Atack discusses key Scientology concepts
Other links: Shelly Miscavige, ten years gone | The Lisa McPherson story told in real time | The Cathriona White stories | The Leah Remini ‘Knowledge Reports’ | Hear audio of a Scientology excommunication | Scientology’s little day care of horrors | Whatever happened to Steve Fishman? | Felony charges for Scientology’s drug rehab scam | Why Scientology digs bomb-proof vaults in the desert | PZ Myers reads L. Ron Hubbard’s “A History of Man” | Scientology’s Master Spies | Scientology’s Private Dancer | The mystery of the richest Scientologist and his wayward sons | Scientology’s shocking mistreatment of the mentally ill | Scientology boasts about assistance from Google | The Underground Bunker’s Official Theme Song | The Underground Bunker FAQ
Our Guide to Alex Gibney’s film ‘Going Clear,’ and our pages about its principal figures…
Jason Beghe | Tom DeVocht | Sara Goldberg | Paul Haggis | Mark “Marty” Rathbun | Mike Rinder | Spanky Taylor | Hana Whitfield