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Another trial ordered against Narconon as Scientology derail attempt mostly fails

Judge_Sarah_LincolnOn August 28, we told you that Indianapolis attorney Jonathan Little and his firm had scored an interesting victory against Scientology’s drug rehab network, Narconon. San Francisco federal district judge Edward M. Chen called for a trial in a class-action lawsuit that Little and others had filed on behalf of former patients of Narconon centers in California.

Chen ordered the trial in a preliminary matter in the class-action suit, and we remarked on how unusual it is that any lawsuit filed against the Church of Scientology or one of its front groups gets to any kind of trial. In fact, we couldn’t think of a jury trial taking place since the major lawsuits of the 1980s in Oregon and California. (We’re not counting the criminal trials against Rex Fowler and Reed Slatkin, which were only tangentially about Scientology.) So the prospect of a jury hearing serious allegations against Narconon in the California class-action — that patients were taken by rehab employees to their dealers to get high before being admitted — seemed like a pretty significant development to us, even if it may be a year or more before the trial actually happens.

And now, Little’s firm has done it again. State circuit judge Sarah S. Lincoln in Battle Creek, Michigan (pictured) has ordered trial in a lawsuit filed by a woman named Candice Tyler. In her finding, Judge Lincoln knocked down, in part, a motion to dismiss filed by the defendants. The Scientology rehab — Narconon Freedom Center in Albion, Michigan — and its Scientology-run umbrella group — Narconon Eastern United States (NEUS) — have been ordered to stand trial. But it’s not all bad news for Scientology. Two other defendants — Narconon International (NI) and the Association for Better Living and Education (ABLE) — were each dismissed as defendants.

Again, Little tells us it may be quite a while before a jury is seated. Maybe not even until 2017. But still, it’s interesting to see Judge Lincoln’s reasons for why she thinks Narconon Freedom Center and NEUS should stand trial and NI and ABLE should not. We’ll be interested to see comments from our legal friends after they get a chance to look through the judge’s findings.

The Tyler lawsuit is one of the most troubling cases we’ve seen of the dozens that have been filed against Narconon in the last couple of years. Not only were there the usual allegations that Narconon had hidden its connection to Scientology from Tyler, and also that it promised drug counseling but instead delivered Scientology training, but that she was harmed by Narconon’s sauna-and-niacin regimen, which had her coughing up blood.

At this point, Judge Lincoln thinks it’s for a jury to decide if Tyler’s allegations will hold up. We don’t know if a trial will happen (these things tend to settle), but it has to be a troubling sign for Scientology that so few of its motions to dismiss have been successful against the dozens of lawsuits it faces around the country.


In the meantime, the first chance that we’re likely to see an actual trial happen is the one scheduled for December 7 in Laura DeCrescenzo’s forced-abortion lawsuit. We told you previously that although Laura’s suit survived a major summary judgment fight in 2013, Scientology filed yet another motion recently, this time about its religious rights, which may yet derail the trial. We’ll keep you up to date on that.

Here’s the finding of Judge Lincoln…

Tyler v. Narconon: Finding


Chris Shelton interviews Robyn Capella, part two

Says Chris: “Here is Part Two of the interview I started showing last week with ex-Sea Org staffer Robyn Capella. There’s some interesting stuff in this one including talk about CATS (Citizens for an Alternative Tax System) which rarely gets talked about as part of the IRS battle, as well as some inside skinny on what goes on in the Sea Org. The last bit is especially funny.”



Scientology pats itself on the back for its 9/11 quackery

We have to wonder what the New York media might make of this…


Join us to commemorate the invaluable aid Scientologists gave at Ground Zero during 9-11 and to implement actions to protect the freedoms of this country from suppression.

Also, all Scientologists who were at Ground Zero will be recognized as First Responders with the National September 11 Memorial & Museum.

Everyone needs to be there and be part of his landmark New York event.

Friday, September 11th
Dinner at 6:00 pm Event starts 7:00 pm
Where: New York Org
Call 212-921-1210 to reserve your seat


Scientology’s personality test taken apart

Ah, the return of the school year. And like clockwork, some ambitious college student will go down to the local Scientology org, take the OCA — the personality test — and pronounce the experience weird in a piece for the student newspaper. We’ve lost count how many times this routine has been repeated in publications both amateur and professional, but we generally don’t find them very interesting.

But we are taking note of a piece at Pacific Standard, because this time, it was a college instructor who did the annual “I went to Scientology and got tested” story. Evan Kindley goes all egghead on the subject and provides a really fascinating backstory on the OCA’s development, and puts into a larger context what we’ve always known — that the OCA is designed to find that you are an emotional mess and in dire need of Scientology’s help.

And if he’d stopped there, we’d have been really impressed with Kindley’s piece. Unfortunately, despite including some caveats, at the end of his article he really wants us to believe that a young Norwegian woman’s suicide in France after taking the OCA might have been caused by the personality test’s bummer message — an assertion we’ve never found very compelling. The OCA may be one of the silliest things in Scientology’s arsenal of woo, but it’s not deadly.


Bonus photos by our tipsters

Posted: Today, 1:30 pm Eastern. Location: Kaiser Permanente facility across Sunset Blvd from Big Blue. Caption: “Here’s a Scientologist recruiting people in the lobby of my doctor’s office.”




We didn’t get a chance to include photos in our book, so we’ve posted them at a dedicated page. Reader Sookie put together a complete index and we’re hosting it here on the website. Copies of the paperback version of ‘The Unbreakable Miss Lovely’ are on sale at Amazon. The Kindle edition is also available, and shipping instantly.

Tony Ortega’s upcoming appearances (and check out the interactive map to our ongoing tour)…

Sept 15: Phoenix, Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, 555 N. Central Ave in downtown Phoenix, Cronkite Theater on 2nd floor, 5:30 pm, sponsored by ASU’s Barrett Honors College

Sept 23: Cleveland, Parma Heights Library, 7pm sponsored by Center for Inquiry – Northeast Ohio

Sept 24: Minneapolis, Grumpy’s Bar & Grill, 2801 Snelling Ave, Roseville, 7 pm, sponsored by Minnesota Atheists

Sept 27: Portland, Friendly House, 1737 NW 26th Ave, 12:45 pm, sponsored by Humanists of Portland

Sept 28: Seattle, Razzi’s Pizzeria, 7 pm, with Seattle Skeptics and Seattle Atheists

Sept 29: Vancouver, BC, Seven Dining Lounge, 7 pm

Oct 23: Sydney, Giant Dwarf Theatre (with Sen. Nick Xenophon)

Oct 25: Melbourne, venue secured (announcement coming later)

Oct 28: Adelaide (with Sen. Nick Xenophon)

Oct 30: Perth

Past dates: Santa Barbara (5/16), Hollywood (5/17), Orange County (5/17), San Diego (5/20), San Francisco (5/22), New York (6/11), Chicago (6/20), Toronto (6/22), Clearwater (6/28), Washington DC (7/12), Hartford (7/14), Denver (7/17), Dallas (7/20), Houston (7/22), San Antonio (7/24), Austin (7/25), Paris (7/29), London (8/4), Boston (8/24)


Posted by Tony Ortega on September 10, 2015 at 07:00

E-mail your 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. Here at the Bunker we try to have a post up every morning at 7 AM Eastern (Noon GMT), and on some days we post an afternoon story at around 2 PM. After every new story we send out an alert to our e-mail list and our FB 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 LA 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

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
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


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