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CALIFORNIA SUPREME COURT DENIES SCIENTOLOGY PETITION IN FORCED-ABORTION CASE

CASupremeCourtScientology strikes out again as it fights a court order to turn over thousands of pages of evidence to former Sea Org worker Laura DeCrescenzo.

This evening, without explanation or a written order, the California Supreme Court denied Scientology’s petition to hold up DeCrescenzo’s lawsuit. The church argued that forcing it to turn over DeCrescenzo’s confessional “pc folders” was a violation of its rights because California’s priest-penitent law itself was unconstitutional.

A similar petition had already been denied without written order at the state appeals level, now it’s struck out with the state supreme court, and the church has missed this session of the US Supreme Court. Tomorrow, there’s a status hearing on the case in state court, and we’ll see what the church does this time to try and get out of turning over Laura’s own information to her.

Over her 13-year history in the church, DeCrescenzo was regularly interrogated about her activities and loyalties. As she gave up information, it was recorded and put in her folders. As we’ve seen from other Sea Org life histories, these employees are pressured to turn over every secret of their private lives, including their sexual habits. Scientology records this information, and in Laura’s case, some 259 church officials compiled and reviewed her information.

She’s suing because she says during that period she endured brutal treatment, including being coerced to have an abortion at 17 so she could continue working 100-hour weeks. A state court decided that she was entitled to the information in her files and the church wasn’t able to keep them secret under the state’s priest-penitent law. (And Laura, after all, was the penitent.) But Scientology argued that the law was designed around Catholic confession, and so it punished Scientology for being different. Therefore, the law itself was unconstitutional. But as Laura’s attorneys pointed out, even the Catholic Church in Los Angeles was denied the ability to share information between clergy members when it tried to do so under the confidentiality statue.

Anyway, the State Supreme Court decided not to bother with the case, and now it’s back to state court, where tomorrow the parties will have a status hearing. As soon as we hear word about a new deadline for the documents to be turned over, or if Scientology has another strategy for delay, we’ll report it.

 
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Posted by Tony Ortega on May 15, 2013 at 20:10

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