2 Scientology Aides Guilty Of Burglary

Source: New York Times
Date: November 27, 1980

Two high-ranking members of the Church of Scientology were convicted of burglary charges today in what Federal prosecutors have called a widespread scheme by the church to infiltrate Government offices and steal documents.

The two church members, extradited earlier this year from England, were accused of ordering subordinates in Washington to infiltrate offices of the Internal Revenue Service and the Justice Department in an attempt to copy or steal documents. A spokesman for the church, which has been locked in a long battle with the revenue agency over its tax status, called the convictions "an obvious vendetta" by the Government.

Last December nine other members of the church, including Mary Sue Hubbard, wife of the church's founder, were found guilty of obstruction of justice and sentenced to prison terms in connection with the same alleged scheme.

Jane Kember, a British subject, and Morrison Budlong, an American, showed little emotion today as the jury foreman pronounced them guilty on all nine counts of aiding and abetting burglary.

Sentencing Set for Dec. 19

Both defendants remain free on bail while awaiting sentencing and pending a probable appeal. The nine other church members also are free on bail pending appeal of their convictions. Federal District Judge Aubrey E. Robinson Jr. set the sentencing date for Dec. 19.

During the month-long trial here, Mrs. Kember and Mr. Budlong contended that they had nothing to do with efforts by Washington-based church members to steal Government documents, saying they were more than 3,000 miles away.

The prosecution, however, presented to the jurors church documents and letters between the church's headquarters in England and the Washington office showing that the two church leaders knew of, and in fact at times ordered, the thefts. They also produced a former church member, Michael Meisner, who testified that he was certain the two defendants had condoned the infiltration plan.

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