Scientology Crime Syndicate

Here's an excellent article that appeared in the Edmonton Journal on August 22, 1980. More to come soon!


Costly escape from Cult: A four-year nightmare for Scientology Critic

Lorna Levett faced her board of directors, some of whom she had led into bankruptcy, and told them she was convinced they were involved in a criminal conspiracy worse than the Mafia.

She said she wanted out, even though she expected the organizationıs optimum threat against dissidents ­ Process R-245 ­ which ends in a shotgun to the head.

Although scared, her directors agreed and in 1974 she and 43 others left the Church of Scientology in Calgary.

At the time of her "escape" Ms. Levett had brought more than $500,000 into the church coffers while earning a salary of $25 a week and eating one meal a day.

She had helped turn booming Alberta into a prominent Scientology basecamp with 1000 members ­ 700 in Edmonton and the rest in Calgary.

University of Saskatchewan chaplain Rev. Colin Clay is one of Canadaıs leading crusaders against some of the so-called "new religions." He describes Scientology as one of the most vicious cults around and says Alberta, because of itıs wealth, is one of the major target areas of the group.

"I talked people into selling their homes, leaving their families and mortgaging their fortunes for the Scientology courses", says Ms. Levitate.

"I was so anxious that the evil leave their bodies so they could become perfect."

"Looking back I am embarrassed at what I was part of. It was a terrible and corrupt con game," she now says.

But not terrible and corrupt enough apparently, for either provincial or federal politicians to step in, even though Ms. Levett has sent them letters outlining her experiences.

Her background includes a term as a Western Canada secret police section representative for the church in charge of the "dirty tricksı squad.

She was to handle SPs or suppressive persons ­ anyone out to hurt the church. In Scientology terms, she says, "to handle" an opponent can mean resorting to blackmail, spying, and spreading false rumors and manipulation of files.

One of the people Ms. Levett was asked to investigate was former Alberta solicitor-general Roy Farran, then editor of the North Hill News.

An article appeared in that paper quoted Crown prosecutor Chris Evans. During a murder trial, he had asked whether the accusedıs membership in the Church of Scientology had anything to do with the case.

"I was told to get any dirt I could on them both, which meant talking to people who know them and looking through any clippings," Ms. Levett says.

But before passing the information on to the church, she left Scientology and gave the data to Mr. Farran and Mr. Evans.

Mr. Evans later became one of her lawyers.

Other actions included an order to steal or at least copy files on Scientology held by Calgaryıs Better Business Bureau and to razor-blade out any negative information in the public library.

The attempt by Ms. Levett and six others (five of them also former Scientologists) to involve politicians in her fight against Scientology led to the church starting a marathon defamation lawsuit that was dragged on for four years.

This week, the Scientology suit was dismissed in Court of Queenıs Bench because the church did not produce a $45,000 security to cover costs.

In addition, Ms. Levett says she has been accused by Scientologists of being a prostitute, blackmailer, which and lesbian, among other things.

At one time she was put under protection after the police heard rumors she was going to be kidnapped.

The seven Albertans, including Ms. Levett, are fighting and organization they say is a dangerous cult engaged in brainwashing and bankrupting itıs members.

Scientologists say the charges are one more example of the religious persecution and harassment their church has had to endure for the past 30 years.

They claim the CIA, Interpol, and the RCMP are out to destroy them because the church is revealing the corruption within those organizations.

The Church, which attempts through an endless series of expensive courses to take members to a state of perfection called "clear" has repeatedly come under attack in the United States, where nine members have been found guilty of criminal conspiracy for actions similar to those described by Ms. Levett in her "dirty tricks" program.

What is the basis of Scientology?

It mixes a militaristic form of secret codes and covert operations with psychoanalysis and a belief in an intergalactic world 74 trillion years old.

Non-Scientologists, referred to as "wogs" are recruited on the streets with an offer of a free intelligence test. They then may be told they lack things like communication skills or confidence ­ all solvable by the Church of Scientology.

Once signed up, the new member then submits to a psychological test on an E-Meter, which the church says detects engrams (painful mental images of past occurrences or happenings in previous lives). Scientologists describe the e-Meter as a religious artifact ­ opponents call it a primitive lie-detector.

After many courses, and according to former members, at least $50,000 he or she will be "clear" ­ free of the stupidities and uncertainties of the average person.

But once clear, the courses continue, so a Scientologists can become immune to the demons assaulting other humans.

The alleged illegal activities of some U.S. Scientologists ­ including stealing of government documents, blackmail, and smear campaigns against opponents ­ have been well documented. There have even been instances when a pregnant woman has been sent to a criticıs office to accuse him of being the father.

But in Canada, which ahs become a haven for many cults, Scientology has managed to keep a low profile in most of the communities in which it exists.

The group of seven feels politicians are reluctant to attack an organization that has the label "Church" attached.

And most critics say Scientologists have perfected a system of legal game playing that has kept many of their opponentsıs silent.

In the four-year life of the defamation suit, the seven Albertans have spent about $60,000 in legal fees.

After this weekıs dismissal of the Scientology suit against them, the seven are planning to launch their own suit to recover the court costs.

The legal tangle began when the church obtained copies of letters the seven (originally eight but one settled with the church) sent to their MPs and MLAs, asking for an investigation of the church.

The church said the letters defamed its good reputation. The seven said the church doesnıt have a good reputation to defame.

The church was seeking $1000,000 in general damages, special damages of $15,102, punitive damages and court costs that could reach about $100,000.

The only money that has been awarded so far, however, has been to the defendants.

In a previous precedent-setting decision, partial solicitor-client costs of $9800 were given to the seven after several angry judges said the church was playing with the law to delay the action.

At one time the church ad decided to drop its action, only to change itıs mind the day the case would have been dismissed in court.

The delays in the Alberta court case are not unique. The Church of Scientology has 51 actions across Canada that are stalled in court, or have not been continued.

But the fact Ms. Levett was such an integral part of the organizationıs Alberta campaign and is now itıs most bitter critic makes the case here the most fascinating.

The 48-year old Ms. Levett became a Scientologist in her native Austrailia in 1961.

She spent all her money and free time on courses and, although at times finding herself vomiting and with serious headaches because of the stress, she accepted the churchıs claims her sickness meant evils were leaving her body.

Her hair started going grey in patches and during a course using a book and a bottle ­ "you would follow commands to pick up the book, then put it down and then go over to the bottle .. to be repeated for 36 hours straight" ­ she started hallucinating, believing the book had changed into aliens.

Now Ms. Levett, a psychic counselor and match-making consultant, says Scientology takes innocent people and brainwashes them.

"They find people who are looking for easy answers an think someone else can tell them how to do things. As with other cults, the person has to be willing to put themselves totally in someone elseıs hands."

In fact, Ms. Levett claims she initially thought of leaving the fold not because of the reports of criminal activities in the U.S. ­ "I still believed Scientology was good and that some rotten people had just infiltrated" ­ but because of the astronomical prices her flock was being asked to pay.

"I would send people down to Los Angeles for higher courses and they would be told they needed an additional $5000 processing" she says.

Ms. Levett began complaining to the churchıs Vancouver office and to the Los Angeles franchise office that they were being "ripped off".

The conflict became unresolvable when members came back "clear" as perfect persons but she, as a confessor, found out differently.

"One of them was a child molester. [Hmm, I wonder who this could be ­ Uncle Al perhaps?]. I couldnıt convince myself he was better than people who werenıt Scientologists," Ms. Lovett says.

The dissident group went public, advertising in the newspaper the reasons why they no longer accepted Scientology.


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