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DENIED: Los Angeles judge rejects Scientology’s latest delay tactic in forced-abortion case

[Laura DeCrescenzo and Scientology attorney Bert Deixler]

Yesterday in Los Angeles, a state court judge denied the Church of Scientology’s latest attempt to delay a lawsuit alleging forced abortion and other abuses in the Sea Organization that has already taken nine years to reach trial, which is scheduled for August.

Laura DeCrescenzo was only 12 years old when she joined Scientology’s inner hardcore, signing a billion-year Sea Org contract and going to work more than 90 hours a week for almost no pay. When she turned 13, she was moved to the adult schedule — 112 hours a week. When she was 17, she alleges, she was coerced into having an abortion in order to keep working around the clock — which was church policy at the time.

Scientology has followed its usual scorched-earth legal strategies since Laura filed her lawsuit in 2009, throwing two motions for summary judgment at the case (both of which Laura defeated), and appealing a decision about her personal records all the way to the US Supreme Court. (Laura won that fight too, and got her personal folders from the church.)

This time, Scientology had really thrown a Hail Mary, filing a new lawsuit in federal court claiming that Laura’s case should have been killed eight years ago for complex jurisdictional reasons. But US District Court Judge George Wu granted Laura’s motion to dismiss that case with prejudice. Judge Wu’s harsh ruling didn’t faze Scientology, which filed notice of appeal in the US Ninth Circuit, and then filed a motion in the state lawsuit, asking that it be delayed once again in order to see what the feds will rule on Scientology’s longshot appeal to its dismissed longshot federal lawsuit.

In state court yesterday, Judge Mark Mooney was asked to apply the rule that any injunctive-type of action like the stay the church was asking for has to prove its likelihood of prevailing. Scientology, in other words, had to prove that its federal appeal is likely to win and will overturn Judge Wu’s ruling.


But Scientology was asking the court to overlook that this same argument has lost three times — its first go-round in federal court, with a previous state court judge (Ronald Sohigian), and with federal Judge Wu.

Mooney cited those previous rulings, and especially that Judge Wu had found that the state court was not bound by any federal decisions, and announced that Scientology’s request for a stay was denied.

He ruled, for now anyway, that trial should go forward as scheduled in August.

We asked attorney Scott Pilutik for his thoughts: “Scientology always had an uphill climb because it had to argue that its argument that had already failed would somehow, upon further reflection by the court, suddenly, magically prevail. Generally speaking if you continually lose the same argument the appeal only gets more difficult and narrowly focused. I think I’ve probably used the Hail Mary pass analogy before but only because it remains too perfect.”

Is it possible that Scientology will now ask the US Ninth Circuit to stay Laura’s lawsuit? We assume they’ll try it, because nothing ever seems to stop Scientology from abusing the US courts and the people trying to find justice in it.

At least for now, the momentum is with Laura, and her August trial looms large.



Hey, we’re only 12 days away from this year’s HowdyCon in Chicago, June 21-23. As in past years, we’re looking forward to meeting readers of the Bunker, culminating in Saturday night’s main event.

The biggest difference this year is that our Saturday night event is separate from that evening’s dinner. Chee Chalker is setting up an inexpensive pizza dinner that you don’t need to pay for ahead of time, after which we’ll walk over to the theater where our event, hosted by Chicago Fire star Christian Stolte, will take place. Because it’s a separate event, we’re asking that you pay $10 each to get into the Saturday night event, which will help us recoup what the Bunker paid for the venue. (We have never made a penny on our HowdyCon meetups, we only try to break even.)

Please email your proprietor (tonyo94 AT gmail) in order to reserve your spot for Saturday night’s main event. Seating is limited, and we’re going to have some really interesting people on stage and they may make a few announcements that you don’t want to miss.



Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 5,140 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 1,743 days
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 286 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 174 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,349 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,123 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 2,897 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,243 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 10,809 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 2,477 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,737 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,777 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,489 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,015 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,104 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,244 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,564 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,539 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 895 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,197 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,303 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 1,706 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,578 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,160 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 1,665 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 1,909 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,018 days.


3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on June 9, 2018 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 can also be found at the book’s dedicated page.

The Best of the Underground Bunker, 1995-2017 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Undergound Bunker (2012-2017), 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 | 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 non-Scientology stories: Robert Burnham Jr., the man who inscribed the universe | Notorious alt-right inspiration Kevin MacDonald and his theories about Jewish DNA | The selling of the “Phoenix Lights” | Astronomer Harlow Shapley‘s FBI file | Sex, spies, and local TV news


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