Woman: Church Guard Made Threats

Source: Tampa Tribune
Date: October 19, 1995

A Mexican national says a Church of Scientology official said he'd kill her.

A young Mexican woman came to town thinking she would receive free classes if she joined the Church of Scientology staff.

But last month she told police a tale of deception, overwork and verbal abuse after fleeing a Scientology security guard who threatened to kill her for breaking her "billion year contract."

Police interviewed the guard, Bill Johnson, whom they identified as the head of security for the church's service organization.

"He said that at one point he did say something to her about killing her if she did not leave the country," Detective Tom Miller said in his report.

The State Attorney's Office is reviewing whether to file charges in the Sept. 28 incident. The Immigration and Naturalization Service, which issues visas, also is investigating.

Johnson's lawyer, Paul Johnson of Tampa, who also represents the church, said his client never chased 22-year-old Naxielly Sofia Perez-Morales.

When he told her he would kill her, "it was an expression; it was not a threat," Paul Johnson said.

Police said the guard told them he followed Perez to tell her she owed the church money for breaking her contract and that she was violating her visa.

"He said he was upset and began calling her obscenities," Miller wrote.

Police say since Perez left the church a few months ago, she has lived with various Scientologists who are not on the church staff.

"She has continued to have problems with the group at all of her residences and has moved repeatedly to avoid them," Miller's report said.

Perez could not be located for comment.

According to police, Perez got into Scientology through a Dianetics course in Mexico. Police said Perez gave the following account of her encounters with the church:

She was promised free classes for joining the church's staff. Instead she was put to work remodeling the former Clearwater Bank building into Scientology offices, where she injured herself. The report does not specify how.

She told police she was repeatedly ridiculed for not working fast enough, and, though she worked from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. as a maid at the Fort Harrison hotel - the church's headquarters - she was often asked to work more.

After an unrelated medical "attack," Perez left the church and lived with a Scientology friend. On Sept. 28, the friend wanted to show Fort Harrison to another friend and brought Perez to watch their children.

Perez said she was spotted by her former supervisor, who called security. The guard, Bill Johnson, began yelling about her owing money for courses and escorted her outside. He followed her down the street, calling her vulgar names.

"You're a suppressive," he said, "you denigrated the church, we're going to kill you! You will be dead!"

Frightened and crying, she ducked into the Clearwater Martial Arts Academy. The guard attempted to follow her inside, but the business owner stopped him.

Brian Anderson of the church's legal affairs office issued a written statement Wednesday night in response to questions from The Tampa Tribune. His answers did not address Perez's allegations.

The statement said Perez left the church in June after three months. Her "religious worker" visa expired in August and she was advised to return to Mexico.

It said the church discovered Perez had "misrepresented facts about herself which disqualified her for staff. She was often very emotional and caused upsets with other staff and was unreliable."

Perez is not the first with similar accounts about Scientology.

"Other ex-members have claimed they have been treated this way," said Cynthia Kisser, of the Cult Awareness Network in Chicago.