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Scientology To Turn Over 18,000 Pages of Evidence to Laura DeCrescenzo on Tuesday

DocumentPileScientology’s motion for a protective order in Laura DeCrescenzo’s forced-abortion lawsuit was denied in part today, and as a result the church’s attorneys said in court that they will be turning over a compact disc with 18,000 pages of unredacted evidence to DeCrescenzo tomorrow.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Ronald Sohigian did agree with the church that third-party names in the files should be removed. So he ordered the church to produce another set of the evidence with third-party names redacted within 30 days.

After appeals to the California and U.S. Supreme Courts failed, Scientology had no further way to delay turning over the documents, which Sohigian had ordered the church to fork over this spring in DeCrescenzo’s four-year legal odyssey.

Barring any last-minute shenanigans — which Scientology is well known for — tomorrow Laura finally gets her files.

DeCrescenzo became an employee of the church at only 9 years of age, then joined Scientology’s “Sea Org” at 12. She was married at 16, but then says she was forced to have an abortion at 17 because Sea Org rules prohibit having children. She finally left the Sea Org at 24, and then almost five years later, in 2009, filed suit about the abuse she says she endured.

During her employment, DeCrescenzo was subject to Scientology “auditing” and interrogations. Throughout these procedures, detailed notes were taken, compiled, and reviewed by church officials — 259 different “ministers” had access to her most private thoughts. Judge Sohigian agreed that DeCrescenzo deserved access to those notes, but Scientology fought the order, saying that to turn over the files would violate the church’s “clergy-penitent privilege.”

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Although U.S. Supreme Court justice Anthony Kennedy last week denied Scientology’s application for an emergency stay, the church still has an active request for a writ of certiorari before the court, which could take months to consider. Scientology is arguing that California’s “priest-penitent” law is unconstitutional, but legal experts tell us the chances of the Supreme Court taking up the matter are very small.

As we reported earlier, our legal experts had predicted that Sohigian might consider it reasonable that third-party names be redacted from DeCrescenzo’s files. But the judge did not let that delay his order that the files should be released to DeCrescenzo.

Tomorrow, she’s supposed to get 18,000 pages of intimate notes about her years in Scientology. We’ll let you know if the church actually hands them over.

Our previous coverage of Laura DeCrescenzo’s legal odyssey…

Laura’s experience in Scientology and the first three years of her lawsuit [Village Voice, July 2012]
Scientology ordered to turn over thousands of pages of evidence in Laura’s “pc files” [March 2013]
California Appeals Court won’t hear Scientology’s appeal about the order to turn over the files [May 2013]
California Supreme Court also won’t hear Scientology’s appeal, which called CA law unconstitutional [May 2013]
Scientology wants evidence kept from public, DeCrescenzo says it’s too late for a protective order [June 2013]
Supreme Court justice Anthony Kennedy denies Scientology’s application for an emergency stay [June 2013]

 
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Posted by Tony Ortega on July 1, 2013 at 15:50

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