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As Luka Magnotta is convicted, questions about his Scientology involvement remain

Luka_MagnottaLuka Magnotta was convicted of first degree murder yesterday after a 10-week trial in Montreal, and he was given an automatic sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole for 25 years. News of the verdict gave media organizations another chance to tell the grisly details of the crimes Magnotta committed in 2012.

Magnotta lured a Chinese engineering student by the name of Jun Lin to his apartment with the use of an online ad for kinky sex. Magnotta killed Lin, dismembered his body, and then mailed some body parts to Canadian institutions with messages that contained political screeds.

Two years earlier, he had posted videos of himself strangling kittens, and he’d been the target of an online effort to track him down.

But there’s a detail of Magnotta’s past that the media almost always ignores, even if there was evidence to back it up which was presented at trial — and that’s his repeated professions, between the years 2007 and 2009, that he was involved in Scientology.

In 2012, we wrote a couple of stories about Magnotta’s online statements about Scientology for the Village Voice. In one infamous posting, Magnotta defended Scientology in part by complaining about the hard time Tom Cruise was getting for his involvement in the church. Wrote Magnotta: “Tom Cruise is onr [sic] of my idols, I have always admired him for his charity work and personal lifestyle. He helps everyone and anyone whenever he is able to. When I was a boy I wished every night that he would adopt me.”

Our story about that got picked up around the world by organizations like the Toronto Sun and The Mirror in the UK. But after yesterday’s conviction, we didn’t see any mentions of it.


During the trial, however, it came out that during the same period he was making those online statements, Magnotta was seeing an Ontario psychiatrist, Thuraisamy Sooriabalan, and, according to the Toronto Star, in court testimony it came out that “Magnotta told the doctor at one point about having joined Scientology.”

As the Star points out, the theme of testimony about Magnotta’s schizophrenia was that he repeatedly, over the years 2010 to 2012, resisted treatment of his illness. Just a month before he killed Lin, for example, Magnotta sought treatment at a Montreal hospital, but told doctors he was bipolar, not schizophrenic.

A psychiatrist hired by the defense to assess Magnotta’s condition, Marie-Frederique Allard, testified that Magnotta told her he kept quiet about his diagnosis because he didn’t want to be hospitalized.

Although Magnotta’s involvement in Scientology still looks tenuous, there’s just no question that he looked into it in some detail so that he could make those online defenses of it. And we can’t help but wonder, did he also absorb Scientology’s cartoonish hatred for psychiatry?

Scientology watchers are well aware of another incident involving a schizophrenic young man who was encouraged by the church to forego psychiatric care for his condition, and he ended up committing murder. In that case, Jeremy Perkins stabbed his mother Elli to death in 2003.

We’d be curious to know how much Magnotta’s involvement in Scientology — which we now know he told his psychiatrist about — had something to do with him ditching that regular psychiatric care in 2008.

Considering what we know now, this statement by Magnotta in 2009 has a more sinister ring (the spelling is his)…

Scientology changed how I think and ofcoarse in the past I have done wrong things, who has not? But I have learned from my mistakes and gained from my negative experiances. Everything happens for a reason I believe and I am now a stronger person from having gone through so much. Tom Crusie was my inspiration. I thank him for that.


Scientology’s 2014 in review: April’s tale of the measuring tape

Claudio and Renata Lugli

Claudio and Renata Lugli

We continue our look back at the stories that stood out here at the Underground Bunker this year. And in April, we had one of our very favorites.

You see, we love to solve mysteries that persist in the field of Scientology watching. And one of the questions we’d never seen answered definitively was, just how tall is David Miscavige? In order to answer that question, we consulted the one person in the world who might be the most definitive source: his former tailor, Claudio Lugli.

On April 5, we posted what we said was the last weekly column by our hardy contributor, historian Jon Atack. Lucky for us, Jon only stayed away for a short time before he started giving us more pieces on occasion.

Two days later, we wrote about another short book of yarns put out by Ron Miscavige Sr., the father of Scientology leader David Miscavige. Ron escaped from the church’s secretive International Base in 2012, and since then he’s had some time to gather his stories of growing up in Pennsylvania for a couple of short collections.

Also on April 7, we posted some amazing documents that we’d received from Jeffrey Augustine showing the huge “book value” of some of Scientology’s key entities. In 2011, just two of them — the Church of Scientology International and the Church of Spiritual Technology — were worth $1.2 billion.

On April 11, anti-Narconon activist David Love let us break the news that he and two other former Narconon patients had won a big victory against Scientology’s drug rehab network in a decision by Quebec’s human rights commission.

The next day, we broke another doozy of a story: Scientology had been served with a writ of garnishment because of its involvement with a drydock in Curacao that had been sued, successfully, for using slave labor. Scientology was told to turn over the money it owed the drydock to the Cuban workers who had won a huge judgment, but the church was fighting it vigorously. We noted that it was even possible that the court might give the workers the power to seize possession of the church’s private cruise ship, the Freewinds. But just recently, the two sides managed to settle the matter for an undisclosed amount.

On April 18th, we told one of the year’s most remarkable stories of Scientology disconnection. Aaron Smith-Levin, who had just recently been profiled in Forbes magazine, was facing an impossible choice — between his children and his mother. It was a choice forced on him by the church, his mother told us in this story about a family that resisted being torn apart.

Five days later, one of the year’s big scoops: We were leaked internal documents showing that Narconon Arrowhead — Scientology’s flagship drug rehab facility, in Oklahoma — is operating on fumes. Since controversy over recent patient deaths have put Arrowhead in the news, it’s operating at a big loss.

A LOOK BACK AT APRIL 2013: Live-blogging Rock Center, “Love in the Time of Miscavige,” and Narconon in Georgia raided.


Posted by Tony Ortega on December 24, 2014 at 07:00

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Learn about Scientology with our numerous series with experts…

BLOGGING DIANETICS (We read Scientology’s founding text) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25

UP THE BRIDGE (Claire Headley and Bruce Hines train us as Scientologists) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48

GETTING OUR ETHICS IN (Jefferson Hawkins explains Scientology’s system of justice) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14

SCIENTOLOGY MYTHBUSTING (Historian Jon Atack discusses key Scientology concepts) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49

PZ Myers reads L. Ron Hubbard’s “A History of Man” | Scientology’s Master Spies | Scientology’s Private Dancer
The Underground Bunker’s Official Theme Song | The Underground Bunker FAQ


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