April 15, 1997: Scientology criticized the Clearwater Police Department in a blistering series of articles published in their tabloid "Freedom". Citing "an informed source" who is not named, the latest edition of the Scientology publication Freedom states that Clearwater police discriminate against black people, have a poor record of drug enforcement, and pad their law enforcement statistics. Police Chief Sid Klein said, "Freedom is at best journalistically bankrupt."
April 13, 1996: Clearwater officials have agreed to keep secret old police files on the Church of Scientology in order to settle the last remaining court battle between the city and the group. The agreement would require a judge's order to see the files, which are supposed to be open under the state Government in the Sunshine Law. The dozens of file boxes in question contain the results of numerous city police investigations dating to 1979, according to court records.
April 12, 1996: Two decades after Scientology secretly started buying property and establishing its considerable presence downtown, there remains an enormous amount of mistrust about its goals and motives. Unfortunately, Scientology has no one to blame but itself for much of the criticism its leaders adamantly argue is unwarranted. Scientology's recent secret purchase of three small motels north of downtown Clearwater will heighten suspicion. That secretiveness reminds Scientology critics of how the church secretly started buying land 20 years ago under the name United Churches of Florida.
April 6, 2000: Lawyers for the Church of Scientology argued yesterday that criminal charges filed against them in a church member's death were brought by prosecutors determined to negatively brand the church. Prosecutors countered this case is not one of religious freedom, but one of medical neglect. Lisa McPherson had been under the care of Scientology for 17 days following a minor car accident and a mental breakdown. Prosecutors said she was badly dehydrated, malnourished and that the medical care church members gave her was unlicensed and inadequate.
April 4, 2001: Leaders of Scientology, represented by at least one lawyer who works with Pope, were convicted in a plot involving infiltration and burglary of federal government offices. Scientology officials and organizations have been criminally convicted in Canada. If attorney Wallace Pope and Clearwater police Chief Sid Klein can't tell the difference between Calvary Baptist Church and a syndicate like Scientology, they are a lonely pair indeed.
April 4, 1982: A woman they called "Lee" recounted her 12 years in the Scientology and her emotional and physical struggle to break away from the sect. After four months in Clearwater, still finding no success with OT Level exorcisms, she was "physically and mentally in bad shape," but afraid to leave the church.
April 1, 1994: Police Chief Sid Klein is warning a prominent Church of Scientology official not to interfere in a police investigation again. Richard Haworth, Scientology's spokesman in Clearwater, could have been booked into the county jail March 24 for obstructing an investigation into an alleged battery of a Scientologist that night, Klein said Thursday in a letter.
April 8, 2000: In a ruling that stunned the Church of Scientology and its lawyers, a Hillsborough County judge said Friday that religious rights are not a central issue in the 1995 death of Scientologist Lisa McPherson. Hea also said it is not clear whether McPherson consented to her treatment by Scientology staffers before she died in their care. That question should be left to a jury, the judge said.
April 8, 2000: A judge says issues of consent - not religion - are at the core of a lawsuit against the Church of Scientology. As criminal charges against the Church of Scientology over the 1995 death of Lisa McPherson hang in the balance, a wrongful death lawsuit filed against the church by McPherson's family grinds toward a June trial. McPherson, 36, died after a 17-day stay at the hotel. Lawyers for McPherson's family contend the 13-year Scientologist was held against her will and force-fed medication.
April 9, 2000: How to explain the mental nose dives of the medical examiner and the chief circuit judge when they were confronted with the story of the slow, miserable death in 1995 of Scientologist Lisa McPherson at the Fort Harrison Hotel? This is the part I gag on: The Internal Revenue Service gave Scientology the tax-exempt protection of a religion. If what they do at Scientology headquarters in Clearwater is a religion, then I'm a planet. Saturn, say, rings and all.