Scientology's Crimes

"Since 1986 authorities in France, Spain and Italy have raided more than 50 Scientology centers. Pending charges against more than 100 of its overseas church members include fraud, extortion, capital flight, coercion, illegally practicing medicine and taking advantage of mentally incapacitated people."

- Time Magazine, May 6, 1991

Current news... Convictions... General information

Current News

Trial pending: USA: Lisa McPherson - Wrongful Death, Practicing Medicine Without a License, Torture, more
The state of Florida has decided not to prosecute the two felony charges of unauthorized practice of medicine and abuse and/or neglect of a disabled adult in the case of Lisa McPherson, who died in Scientology's custody on December 5, 1995. However, a civil suit has been filed by her estate, alleging wrongful death, intentional infliction of emotional distress, false imprisonment, fraud, battery, negligence, and practicing medicine without a license.
 
Other people have also reported fraud, the unauthorized practice of medicine, and false imprisonment.
 
Trial pending: Ireland: Brainwashing
Mary Johnston is suing Scientology, saying she underwent a personality change and her health suffered while she was undergoing Scientology processing. She recently won the right to see her auditing folder (notes kept on her from Scientology processing sessions).
 
Trial pending: USA: Fraud, false imprisonment, assault, extortion, kidnapping, defamation, invasion of privacy, infliction of emotional distress, and racketeering
Michael Pattinson is suing Scientology for several counts of fraud and a variety of other extremely serious charges. The suit garnered some national press (including stories in the Guide and Fab! and at MSNBC ) because it names John Travolta, alleging that Scientology claimed they could "cure" Pattinson's homosexuality and used Travolta as an example of a homosexual whose orientation they had changed.
 
Trial pending: Spain: Scientology leaders charged
Scientology officials face up to 30 years in prison on charges ranging from tax evasion to establishing an illegal organization. Narconon is also charged with criminal acts.
 
Trial pending: Undue influence and deceit
David Cresswell is suing Scientology for a refund of money he paid under "undue influence," relying on "deceit and misrepresentations."
 
Trial pending: USA: Fraud
A trust established by L. Ron Hubbard is one of several parties sued by attorneys seeking to recover funds; several of the suits allege fraud.
 
Ongoing investigation: Russia: Secret service investigating Scientology
"The Russian secret service has recently stepped up its surveillance of the Church of Scientology amid suspicions that it is violating basic rights of members, using violence if need be, and engaging in illicit financial business." Russian police raided Scientology's offices in February 1999.

 

Convictions

1999: Greece: Scientologists found guilty
15 Scientologists were accused of systematically keeping files on politicians, journalists, judges, clergymen and other Greek leading personalities. The Scientologists were found guilty, but they were not sentenced, due to procedural errors. (In other words, they got off on a technicality.)
In 1998, a judge ordered the Scientology organization in Athens to stop operating, since the organization was established under false pretenses. According to the ruling, the organization was not operating as a non-profit, and was putting people's mental and physical health at risk.
 
1997: Italy: Scientologists jailed
29 Scientologists were sentenced to jail for criminal association.
 
1996: France: Scientology executive found guilty of involuntary homicide
"A former Church of Scientology leader was convicted Friday of involuntary homicide and sentenced to 18 months in prison in the 1988 suicide of a church member. Twelve other defendants facing lesser charges - theft, complicity or abuse of confidence - were given suspended sentences of eight to 15 months each. Charges were dropped against 10 others." The Scientologists were charged in the death of Patrice Vic.
 
1996: France: Scientologists guilty of interfering with a witness
Three Scientologists were given suspended prison sentences for interfering with an expert witness in a Lyon trial. Charges of theft were proven.
 
1995: Canada: Scientology pays the largest libel award in Canadian history
Scientology was found guilty of libelling Casey Hill, the prosecutor responsible for bringing Scientology to justice for its egregious illegal acts in Canada.
 
1994: USA: Scientology fined for filing a frivolous lawsuit
Helena Kobrin, representing RTC (a Scientology corporation), was fined $17,775 for filing a frivolous lawsuit. (Using the law to harass critics is Scientology policy.)
 
1992: Canada: Scientology found guilty of breach of the public trust
Scientology itself and three Scientology executives were found guilty of breach of public trust in a case involving the theft of information from government offices.
 
1989: USA: Scientology Found Guilty of Inflicting Emotional Distress
In 1986, former Scientologist Larry Wollersheim sued Scientology for intentional infliction of emotional distress. The jury awarded him $35,000,000, which was reduced on appeal to $2,500,000. Scientology refuses to pay, and now owes Larry more than twice that (with interest accruing).
The appeals court agreed that Larry had been badly hurt by Scientology: it found that Scientology "coerced Wollersheim into continued participation," "seized Wollersheim and held him captive," and that "the Church's conduct was manifestly outrageous." In October 1997, the court found that the Church of Scientology International and Religious Technology Center are liable for the debt.
 
1984: USA: Clearwater Police Investigator Recommends RICO Charges
Lt. Ray Emmons investigated Scientology as part of his duties. He found clear evidence of fraud and other crimes and recommended that federal and state authorities prosecute Scientology under anti-racketeering laws.
 
1980: USA: Top-ranking Scientologists guilty of burglary, forgery, infiltration, and obstruction of justice
Eleven Scientology executives, including L. Ron Hubbard's wife, pled guilty to a number of serious crimes. The stipulation of evidence included the following statement: "At all times material to the indictment, L. Ron Hubbard was, by virtue of his role as the founder and leader or Scientology, overall supervisor of the Guardian's Office."
 
1979: USA: Julie Christofferson Titchbourne sues Scientology for fraud
Julie Christofferson Titchbourne sued Scientology for fraud and outrageous conduct. She won her original trial and the first appeal; Scientology appealed a second time but settled with Julie before that appeal was heard.
 
1978: France: Fraud
Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard was convicted of fraud in a trial held in absentia.

 

General Information on Scientology's Crimes

What Judges Say About Scientology
"Scientology is evil" ... "socially harmful" ... "both immoral and socially obnoxious" ... "practices that are dangerous and harmful" ... "caused real harm" ... "replete with false medical and scientific claims devoid of any religious overlay or reference."
  
Is Scientology breaking the law?
There's evidence that Scientology has a pattern of breaking the law in accordance with official Scientology policy.
 
Contact Your Attorney General
The Attorney General is responsible for enforcing the law in most states. The Attorney General's office often takes on fraud and large criminal prosecutions. You may also want to contact your District Attorney - the local version of the Attorney General. Feel free to use this sample letter, asking for an investigation - or better yet, write one of your own.
 
FACTNet's archive on Scientology crimes
An extensive resource on Scientology's fraud and criminality.
 
SCIENTOLOGY/L. RON HUBBARD GOVERNMENTAL OFFENSE TIMELINE
A list of actual government offenses by Scientology and Scientology officials.
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