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Scientology Now Has Until July 2 to Turn Over Evidence in Forced-Abortion Lawsuit

Laura_DeCrescenzoWith its California Supreme Court petition shot down, Scientology learned in Los Angeles Superior Court today that it has a little more than six more weeks before it has to turn over thousands of pages of evidence that Laura DeCrescenzo (right) believes will bolster her lawsuit against the church. In her lawsuit, DeCrescenzo alleges that she experienced brutal treatment after starting to work for the church at only 9 years old and then joined the Sea Organization at 12. At 17, she alleges, she was forced to have an abortion in order to continue working 100-hour weeks.

After four years of complex fighting over whether DeCrescenzo had filed her lawsuit in time, Superior Court Judge Ronald M. Sohigian recently ordered the church to turn over thousands of pages of evidence that was contained in her “pc folders” — confessional material that DeCrescenzo believed would help prove her case. In recent weeks, the church petitioned California’s appeals and supreme courts in an attempt to fight Sohigian’s order, but as of this morning they had run out of appeals.

Judge Sohigian also today set a date of October 3 for hearing Scientology’s motion for summary judgment.

UPDATE: We have more information now about how things went down today in court. We’re told that Scientology’s attorneys were dressed down by Judge Sohigian who accused them of lying to the state Supreme Court in the church’s petition. Scientology asked the Supreme Court to hurry, saying that it had to produce documents by May 16. In fact, Sohigian had lifted his May 6 deadline and had set only today’s status hearing, not a new hard deadline to turn over the evidence.

Also, Scientology indicated that it will be appealing to the US Supreme Court in the six weeks it has before the new July 2 deadline. We could use some help from our lawyer friends to tell us what the church’s chances on that will be.

For some idea of why Scientology has fought so hard to keep this case from going to trial, watch DeCrescenzo talk about her experiences in this Tampa Bay Times video, and then imagine her testifying to a jury. (She’s referred to as Laura Dieckman, which is her maiden name. The video also features Claire Headley and Sunny Pereira.)




Posted by Tony Ortega on May 16, 2013 at 16:30

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