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As former Los Angeles Sheriff Lee Baca awaits sentencing, Scientology sticks by its man

More than a year ago, we wrote a story about former Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca, who at that time was seeking a plea deal that would have sentenced him to only six months of incarceration.

Baca, who had been a popular (if odd) sheriff in LA for 15 years, had retired two years earlier and was facing charges that he’d obstructed an FBI investigation into his jails, which were notorious for mistreatment of prisoners. (County jail, it might be important to remember, is different from state prison. While some inmates are serving short sentences for criminal convictions, many others are only awaiting trial.)

What caught our eye, however, was that as Baca was no longer in office and was going through that criminal prosecution, he was still helping out the Church of Scientology. In the photo above, you can see Baca at an event held in 2015 by Scientology’s most unhinged front group, the Citizens Commission on Human Rights. CCHR attacks the psychiatric profession, and at its museum on Sunset Boulevard (“Psychiatry: An Industry of Death”), it even promotes the idea that the Holocaust was a product of psychiatrists rather than antisemitic Nazis. But here was CCHR, asking a Holocaust survivor to make a presentation, and Baca attended to show his support.

Weird, right? At the time, we wondered if the retired lawman didn’t have anything better to do than to help out Scientology’s nuttiest front group.


Anyway, a lot has happened since then — U.S. District Judge Percy Anderson rejected the plea deal, and indicated that six months in jail was not long enough for the crime Baca stood accused of. So that led to a trial, but it ended in mistrial when 11 of the 12 jurors wanted to acquit Baca but couldn’t convince the final juror to make it unanimous. Prosecutors tried Baca again, and last month they got a conviction. So now, the 74-year-old former sheriff, who his family says is suffering from dementia and an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, waits for Judge Anderson to decide how much time he should spend behind bars.

Prosecutors recently lowered their request from four years in prison to two, acknowledging Baca’s age and his mental condition. Meanwhile, more than 200 letters were sent to Judge Anderson by supporters of Baca asking for leniency. They included letters from his wife Carol, who detailed Baca’s dementia, as well as his son David, and Baca’s ex-wife, Judith. Letters were sent by members of law enforcement, current and former politicians, members of local clergy, and other community activists. Letters were sent by Vicente Fox, the former president of Mexico, former California governors Gray Davis and Arnold Schwarzenegger, former Los Angeles district attorney Steve Cooley, attorney Robert Shapiro, Dodgers legend Tommy Lasorda, businessman Lee Iacocca, and even former Rams player Rosey Grier.

Three letters were sent by Scientologists. Bob Adams is a former NFL player who works as a spokesman for Scientology. In his letter to the judge, he didn’t mention anything about his job working for the church. Caralyn Percy identified herself as a Scientology Volunteer Minister. And Janet Weiland, who has the title “vice president,” has been well known to us for a long time. She makes a pretty creepy appearance in our 2001 story about Tory Christman when she suddenly showed up at Burbank’s airport, somehow knowing that Tory was about to take a flight across the country to meet with people at the Lisa McPherson Trust, a group highly critical of the church. It was also Weiland who more recently was dispatched to get Fred Haseney kicked out of his low-income housing in Los Angeles after Fred repeatedly took photos of church property.

And so here Adams, Percy, and Weiland are doing what they can to help out Lee Baca. And why not? The sheriff was a loyal friend to Scientology for many years, showing up for parades and other events. The least they could do was go to bat for Baca as he’s facing prison.

Let us know if anything strikes you about what’s in the letters. They seem competent to us. But who knows what Judge Anderson is going to decide.








Miami gets the Miscavige treatment

Dave opened another building yesterday! Scientology must be expanding, right?


And the most telling photo, posted by Scientology itself. This is a tiny, tiny crowd. Maybe the smallest we’ve seen yet. (Scientology is calling it 2,000.)


And if that wasn’t enough, last night at the Fort Harrison Hotel in Clearwater, Foundation for a Drug-Free World was having its Drug-Free Heroes event…



Countdown to Denver!


HowdyCon 2017: Denver, June 23-25 at the Residence Inn Denver City Center. Go here to start making your plans, and book your room soon!


Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 4,736 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 1,839 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,333 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,373 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy in 1,085 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 611 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 4,700 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 1,840 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,160 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,135 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 491 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin in 4,793 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 900 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis for 1,302 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,175 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 756 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike in 1,261 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 1,505 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 12,614 days.


3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on April 30, 2017 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, Kindle, and audiobook versions. 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.

The Best of the Underground Bunker, 1995-2016 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Undergound Bunker (2012-2016), The Village Voice (2008-2012), New Times Los Angeles (1999-2002) and the Phoenix New Times (1995-1999)

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


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