Controversial Church Sued

Source: Irish Voice
Date: December 10, 2002

A Dublin woman who claims she was brainwashed by the Church of Scientology has begun a High Court legal action for damages.

Mary Johnson from Foxrock was a member of the Church of Scientology for two years between 1992 and 1994. The 40-year-old woman, who runs a sports shop in Dublin, claims that she suffered psychiatric injuries as well as post traumatic stress disorder.

She is now suing the organization because of the experiences and pressures she claims she suffered while a member and because of threats and intimidation she claims to have suffered when she tried to leave. She is also claiming a breach of her constitutional rights, defamation and conspiracy by the church.

In the High Court on Tuesday her lawyer Sean Ryan said the evidence in the case will show that she was sucked into the organization and subjected to processes and procedures which brought her under its control and influence. He described the language of the organization as psycho-religious/mythical expressions that have no meaning other than that defined by Scientology.

Johnson was introduced to the Church of Scientology in 1992 when she was upset after a relationship break-up. She was brought to their Dublin mission where she took a number of personality tests.

Her lawyer said the tests were calculated to produce defects in a person. She then embarked on a number of costly courses to overcome those defects.

Her lawyer claims that Johnson became uneasy with the organization. Her family asked her to come and visit them but prior to the visit, he claims, she was "prepared" for the meeting by members of the church.

Her family eventually persuaded her to leave, but when she did it is claimed that she was subjected to a barrage of telephone calls which continued to this day.

The Church of Scientology denies her claims and will vigorously defending the case, with two of the country's leading senior counsel.

The court case, which is the first of its kind in Ireland, is expected to last two weeks.

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