Scientology Crime Syndicate

22 Sep 2000

German_Scn_News <german_scn_news@hotmail.com>

Artist not taking action against accusations
of membership in Scientology

Frankfurt, Germany
September 22, 2000
Rheinpfalz Online

Gottfried Helnwein, the Austrian painter, may now be described with impunity as a Scientologist and an auditor or a clergyman of the Scientology organization. The artist waived hearing in the Frankfurt Superior State Court (case number: 16 U 163/95), thereby dropping his complaint against Jeannette Schweitzer, a former Scientology member.

That ends a legal dispute between the artist and Jeannette Schweitzer that lasted over six years. She had protested Helnwein's intention to take part in a commemoration for the "Neue Bremm" concentration camp near Saarbruecken. Schweitzer objected to an adherent of an organization as questionable as Scientology taking part in such a memorial.

A short time later, there was lively political discussion at the state level when Culture Minister Rose Goette, who was collaterally responsible for state sect counseling, authorized an exhibition on cartoonist Carl Barks in 1995 which was conceived of by Helnwein and which was lent some of his works. Goette stood by Helnwein, even after a number of written sources were made available which proved the artist's connection to Scientology.

The Frankfurt Superior State Court decided in June 1996 that three of four statements made by Schweitzer about Helnwein were permissible (we reported on the Suedwest page on June 21, 1996). But Helnwein brought it to the Federal Constitutional Court, which repealed the superior court's decision in December 1998. At the time, the constitutional court stated that an assertion supported by evidence could be false. Helnwein had to be given the opportunity to contradict the truthfulness of the evidence presented against him.

It never came to that, although Schweitzer was confident of being able to provide proof. Helnwein announced in February that he withdrew his complaint because he no longer lived in Germany (he last lived in Burgbrohl in the north of Rheinland-Pfalz) and because the proceedings no longer meant anything to him. Schweitzer, however, did not agree to withdrawal of the complaint because that would have stopped her from being able to prove the truthfulness of her statements. So a new hearing was scheduled which Helnwein has now ended by waiving due procedure. In contrast to withdrawing a complaint, that means that all statements in question may now be repeated with impunity.

According to Wolfgang Boehm, Schweitzer's attorney from Heidelberg, the outcome was not surprising, it was more par for the course for the Scientologists who shrank back from having witnesses heard in court who would give incriminating testimony. Boehm's assessment was that new evidence of a connection between Helnwein and Scientology, evidence supported by numerous witnesses, would have been extremely incriminating to Scientology. (boe)


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