Ex-Scientology Official Testifies He Was Bullied For $67,000 Payoff

Source: Boston Globe
Date: December 10, 1986

A former official of the Church of Scientology testified in US District Court yesterday that a Methuen man threatened to have him bullied or killed unless he gave him $67,000.

Geoffrey Shervell, who was chief of the church's investigation section, said George T. Kattar warned him: "Your name is going in the hat."

"My impression was that someone was going to be selected to bully me, or kill me, or harm me in some way," Shervell told the jury.

Kattar, 67, and Harvey Brower, 49, of Swampscott, a former lawyer turned writer, are on trial charged with extorting funds from the church.

Kattar and Brower allegedly obtained $33,000 from the church in return for providing it with false information about an attempt to steal $2 million from the church. The two defendants allegedly attempted to extort another $67,000 payment before church officals went to the FBI.

According to the indictment, Kattar and Brower provided church officials with false information about a $2 million forged check drawn on the account of L. Ron Hubbard, the church founder. The check written on an account at the Bank of New England was presented at a New York bank but was not cashed when a teller questioned its authenticity.

Shervell testified that he was assigned by the church to investigate the attempt to pass the $2 million check.

He said he was told by Brower that Kattar was willing to provide information about the check in return for the $100,000 reward that the church had offered in newspaper advertisements.

Although he rejected Kattar's offer, Shervell said he later agreed to let Kattar "see" $33,333 when Kattar threatened to break off negotiations and go to church adversary Michael Flynn with his information.

Flynn is a Boston lawyer who has filed numerous suits against the church on behalf of dissaffected church members.

Shervell said he gave the $33,333 in cash to Brower after Brower assured him: "I just want to show it to him Kattar. I'll bring it right back."

But Shervell said Brower returned without the money and said Kattar had insisted that the cash be placed in a bank safe deposit box.

At an Oct. 2 meeting at Indian Ridge County Club in Andover, Shervell said he told Kattar he felt deceived and wanted the money back.

Kattar became furious and accused Shervell of backing out of a deal, the jury was told.

Shervell testified Kattar shouted at him: "You're finished . . . Your days are numbered."

The witness said Kattar claimed "he was connected with a lot of nice people who could do damage to us . . . and if our well-being was to be preserved we should come up with the rest of the $100,000."

Unless the remaining $67,00 was produced in two days, Kattar threatened that "the church is going to come down," Shervell testified.

During his investigation, Shervell said he learned that another former Boston lawyer, Larry Reservitz, had confessed to church officials that he was involved in the attempt to pass the $2 million forged check.