Daily Notifications
Sign up for free emails to receive the feature story every morning in your inbox at


SCIENTOLOGY DENIED: California Supreme Court rejects appeal in forced-abortion lawsuit


More than seven years after Laura DeCrescenzo filed her lawsuit alleging abuse at the hands of the Church of Scientology, she has moved one step closer to a trial with the latest rejection of a Scientology time-wasting appeal.

The California Supreme Court has denied the church’s petition to review a state appeals court decision that upheld the trial court’s denial of Scientology’s second motion for summary judgment in the lawsuit. As we explained in August, Scientology is unhappy that its motion, which tried to have the lawsuit thrown out on First Amendment religious rights grounds, was denied by Judge John P. Doyle just before he disqualified himself from the lawsuit once he revealed that he had cousins in Scientology’s Sea Organization.

Scientology’s position is that because Doyle had to disqualify himself, his decision to deny the church’s motion should also be disqualified. But the state appeals court disagreed, and now the state’s highest court has refused to hear the matter.

The case should now move closer to an actual trial, perhaps in 2017. But will Scientology take a shot at appealing Doyle’s decision to the U.S. Supreme Court? If that happens, it wouldn’t be the first time in this lawsuit. In 2013, the church made a futile attempt to get the U.S. Supreme Court interested in its desperate attempt to keep from having to turn over Laura’s own Scientology folders to her. And no wonder why the church was trying so hard not to turn over those documents: What we found in them was truly disgusting.


Laura DeCrescenzo joined Scientology’s Sea Organization at 12 years old, and was soon working 90 hours a week for almost no pay and was completely cut off from her family. She alleges that for years she suffered abuse in the organization, including being forced to have an abortion when she was just 17 years old. The original judge in the case, L.A. Superior Court Judge Ronald Sohigian, found in 2013 that Laura had compelling evidence that deserved to be heard by a jury when he denied Scientology’s first motion for summary judgment. Now that the second has also been denied, the lawsuit should finally be moving closer to a trial. But we won’t be surprised if it’s held up again for a shot at the U.S. Supreme Court, like the attempt in 2013.

In that case, Scientology tried to convince the nation’s highest court that California’s priest-penitent privacy law was unconstitutional. Can the church get creative and come up with a way to argue once again that the state of California is unfairly denying Scientology’s attempts to derail Laura’s lawsuit?

“If the last try was a hail Mary from their own twenty, a petition to the U.S. Supreme Court this time would be a hail Mary from their own end zone,” says attorney Scott Pilutik, who has followed the case since it was filed in 2009.


L.A. TIMES: Scientology private eye says he was paid to refute Ron Miscavige

Kim Christensen, the L.A. Times reporter who broke the story last year about Scientology leader David Miscavige hiring private investigators Dwayne and Daniel Powell to follow his own father, Ron Miscavige, after Ron escaped from Scientology in 2012, has an important update today in today’s edition.

The most striking thing in Christensen’s story last year was that the Powells told West Allis, Wisconsin police that they had been told by David Miscavige personally simply to stand by and let Ron die when they observed him having what they thought was a heart attack. “If he dies, he dies,” David reportedly told them.

Dwayne Powell later submitted a declaration that he had been misquoted by the police in their report of his interview, and that he did not talk to David Miscavige. The police in Wisconsin stood by their report.

Now, today, buried fairly deep in a lengthy story about Ron’s recent memoir, “Ruthless,” Christensen drops a small bomb.

Christensen obtained pay records showing that Powell was given $16,000 in five payments after his 2013 arrest and just before his submission of the declaration, even though he was no longer following Ron Miscavige.

The pay disbursements had come from notorious Scientology lawyer Kendrick Moxon. Would Moxon pay someone to say things in a declaration that the church wanted to hear?

Christensen doesn’t say it, but we’ve already proved that Moxon would do such a thing.

Back in 1999, we cited documents to show that when a man named Robert Cipriano agreed to sign a false declaration accusing attorney Graham Berry of sexual improprieties, Moxon arranged for Cipriano to get a job, rented him a place to live, and leased him a car.

Moxon, naturally, denied to the Times that his payments to Powell had anything to do with Powell issuing his declaration denying that he’d talked to Miscavige.

In the spring of 2015, just weeks before Powell signed the declaration, a Scientology attorney paid him at least $16,000 for “security” services in five payments, according to check stubs obtained by The Times. The checks were written on the trust account of Kendrick Moxon, a prominent Scientology attorney in Los Angeles, the records show.

Reached by phone, Powell confirmed the payments but would not comment on them.

But he did say that he had not worked for the church after giving up his Florida private investigator’s license in 2014, when he was indicted on a federal charge of possessing an illegal silencer. It was dismissed when he entered a pretrial diversion program.

Moxon told The Times in a written response that Powell performed “security and research services” for his firm last year.

“The relationship between this firm and any investigators I retain is privileged and confidential,” he wrote. “However, I can categorically state for the record that no payments were made to Mr. Powell for the testimony in his truthful declaration.”

But Powell told the Times that he was paid to write the declaration, which was written for him and which he signed in a meeting that took ten minutes.

So what have we learned? That Dwayne Powell did tell West Allis police that David Miscavige told him to stand by and watch Ron Miscavige die. (Ron actually wasn’t having a heart attack.) And that fact becoming public freaked out Scientology so much it paid Powell $16,000 to lie and claim that he’d said no such thing.

But once again, Moxon is busted by his own documents. And congratulations to the L.A. Times!


Isaac Hayes didn’t quit, he was pushed

The Hollywood Reporter stirred things up yesterday with news that Isaac Hayes III, son of the late soul singer, acknowledged for the first time that his father did not quit South Park in 2006 but was forced to leave by his Scientology handlers.

Here’s the key quote from THR’s piece, an oral history of South Park on its 20th anniversary:

Isaac Hayes III: Isaac Hayes did not quit South Park; someone quit South Park for him. What happened was that in January 2006 my dad had a stroke and lost the ability to speak. He really didn’t have that much comprehension, and he had to relearn to play the piano and a lot of different things. He was in no position to resign under his own knowledge. At the time, everybody around my father was involved in Scientology — his assistants, the core group of people. So someone quit South Park on Isaac Hayes’ behalf. We don’t know who.

That assertion got picked up by dozens of other news organizations yesterday, and for good reason. But none of them seemed to do much checking to see that actually, Roger Friedman has a very good idea who quit the show on Hayes’s behalf.

Do yourself a favor and read Roger’s piece rounding up his reporting on Hayes’s stroke, quitting the show, and death.

The name Christina Kumi Kimball was not one that rang bells for us. Does anyone know what her involvement in Scientology is today?

We asked former Scientology spokesman Mike Rinder, who left the organization in 2007, if he had any knowledge of what was happening between the church and Hayes in 2006. He said he didn’t.

Roger’s reporting on this story is the best we’ve seen, and it’s a tragic tale. We hope more news organizations pick up on what Roger saw at the time.


Chris Shelton on ‘Scientology’



Funny new play about Scientology getting a reading

Last year during our book tour we got to know Jacques Lamarre, who set up our appearance at Mark Twain House in Hartford, Connecticut. The result? One of the better stops on our tour, which featured us being interviewed by our friend, cartoonist Tom Tomorrow.

Anyway, during our stop in Hartford we learned not only that Jacques was a great admirer of all things Mark Twain, he was also an ardent Scientology watcher as well as a playwright. He shared with us his latest work: a very funny send-up of the church he’d written featuring a colorful character he named Honey LaBrea.

If you happen to be in the Hartford area, we’d recommend attending as “Honey LaBrea — The Lonely Thetan” gets a public reading at the Playhouse on Park in West Hartford on Tuesday, September 27 at 7:30 pm.

As the play’s description promises, “Discover how hard it is to go Clear when you have a dirty mind!”


3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on September 15, 2016 at 07:00

E-mail 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. After every new story we send out an alert to our e-mail list and our FB page.

Our book, The Unbreakable Miss Lovely: How the Church of Scientology tried to destroy Paulette Cooper, is on sale at Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions. We’ve posted photographs of Paulette and scenes from her life at a separate location. Reader Sookie put together a complete index. More information about the book, and our 2015 book tour, can also be found at the book’s dedicated 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 L.A. 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

Other links: Shelly Miscavige, ten years gone | The Lisa McPherson story told in real time | The Cathriona White stories | The Leah Remini ‘Knowledge Reports’ | Hear audio of a Scientology excommunication | Scientology’s little day care of horrors | Whatever happened to Steve Fishman? | Felony charges for Scientology’s drug rehab scam | Why Scientology digs bomb-proof vaults in the desert | 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 | Scientology boasts about assistance from Google | 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


Share Button
Print Friendly, PDF & Email