Laura DeCrescenzo forced-abortion lawsuit updates

Discussion in 'Media' started by The Wrong Guy, Mar 20, 2013.

  1. The Wrong Guy Member

    Here's another overview:

    Church Of Scientology Can’t Nix Forced-Abortion, Wage Suit | Law360

    Here are the last three paragraphs of the article:

    Laura Ann DeCrescenzo is represented by John P. Blumberg of the Blumberg Law Offices, and Raphael Metzger and Kathryn Saldana of the Metzger Law Group PLC.

    The Church of Scientology International is represented by Bert Deixler of Kendall Brill & Kelly LLP, Eric M. Lieberman of Rabinowitz Boudin Standard Krinsky & Lieberman PC, and Robert E. Mangels and Matthew D. Hinks of Jeffer Mangels Butler & Mitchell LLP.

    The case is Laura Ann DeCrescenzo v. Church of Scientology International, case number BC411018, in the Superior Court of the State of California, County of Los Angeles.
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  2. When Should Humanists Oppose Abortion? When Scientology Forces It on Church Members.

    The Humanist: When Should Humanists Oppose Abortion? When Scientology Forces It on Church Members

    * * * * * BEGIN EXCERPT * * * * *

    When Should Humanists Oppose Abortion? When Scientology Forces It on Church Members


    With reproductive rights constantly under attack in the United States, humanists spend a significant amount of time and effort defending abortion access, whether through volunteering and donating to pro-choice organizations or by explaining to friends and family why abortion is a valid and moral decision. However, in defending women’s right to reproductive freedom, humanists should also remember that the right to have a child is just as important as the right to terminate an unwanted pregnancy. While instances in which humanists, feminists, and other pro-choice advocates must defend women’s right to carry a wanted pregnancy from religious organizations may seem rare, we must be prepared to speak out against these situations if we truly care about women’s right to bodily autonomy under all circumstances.

    Recently, an instance of a religious organization pressuring women to have abortions has come into the spotlight through a lawsuit filed against the Church of Scientology. The lawsuit was filed by Laura Crescenzo, a former Scientologist and member of the Sea Org. The Sea Org is an organization made up of Scientology’s most committed members, often children of Scientologists, who are employed by the church and exploited as employees through withheld wages, long working hours, and threats of being ostracized for leaving. Sea Org members are forbidden from having children, and those who become pregnant are coerced into having abortions, despite the official Church of Scientology’s stance
    that abortions are “traumatic physically and spiritually to an unborn child.” (The trauma an abortion may cause to the mother is mentioned almost as an afterthought.) After being forced to terminate her pregnancy and enduring even more abuse, Crescenzo spent years seeking justice from Scientology.

    * * * * * END EXCERPT * * * * *

    * * * * * BEGIN EXCERPT * * * * *

    Being truly pro-choice means supporting all of the reproductive choices that a woman may make, and both abortion and keeping the pregnancy are part of the range of choices. Just as the humanist movement criticizes Catholics and evangelical Christians when they codify their religious beliefs into law, we should also criticize the Church of Scientology for coercing its members into having abortions against their will. And we should stand with other organizations, both religious and secular, that fight for women’s reproductive freedoms.

    * * * * * END EXCERPT * * * * *
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  3. The Wrong Guy Member

    Judge Doyle: I have Scientologists in the family, but I can be impartial in forced-abortion case

    By Tony Ortega, May 17, 2016

    A surprising new document showed up in the court file of Laura DeCrescenzo’s forced-abortion lawsuit in Los Angeles. Superior Court Judge John P. Doyle has submitted a detailed disclosure about his ties to family members who are Scientologists. They are his cousins, and in the six-page document Doyle details his interaction with them, which has been sparse. But those interactions do include a visit to East Grinstead, England, where Doyle says he had a tour and lunch at Saint Hill Manor, Scientology’s UK headquarters and the former home of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard.

    The disclosure comes just weeks after Doyle had denied the Church of Scientology’s most recent attempt to get DeCrescenzo’s seven-year lawsuit thrown out with a motion for summary judgment. Laura survived a previous motion for summary judgment in 2013, and this time Scientology had asked Doyle to kill the lawsuit as a violation of its religious rights guaranteed under the First Amendment. But Doyle sided with DeCrescenzo, saying that the church’s motion had been a longshot to begin with. (We were present, reporting live from the courtroom that day.)

    That decision paved the way for an actual trial, and Judge Doyle indicated that he might set a date for one about a year from now. In the meantime, Scientology’s attorneys indicated that they would be seeking a writ of mandamus with an appeals court to try and have Doyle’s decision overturned. DeCrescenzo’s attorney, John Blumberg, told us after the hearing that he expected Scientology to petition all the way to US Supreme Court on the summary judgment decision, which could push things back further.

    And now, Judge Doyle has added his potentially disruptive disclosure, admitting that he has family in the church. Namely, his first cousin Greg Smith, who has one of the longest Scientology course completions lists we’ve ever seen.

    Doyle says that his interactions with Smith have been limited, but they do include a visit to England in 1993: “…for an afternoon and evening at Scientology’s East Grinstead, England facility, where we had lunch at the dining hall there and later dinner at a Chinese restaurant in East Grinstead…I recall a limited walk around the facility with my wife and three very young children. I do not recall any discussion about Scientology at that time except in passing, or on any other occasion.”

    During that visit, Doyle met Greg Smith’s son, Hans, who is a Sea Org member — Hans shows up in a video we’ve posted in the past, and our sources tell that Hans was a member of the Commodore’s Messenger Organization Int Extension Unit (CMO IXU). In other words, Doyle’s cousins are very involved, longtime Scientologists. But Doyle says that those connections will not have an impact on his ability to handle the case, and did not have an impact on his decision to deny Scientology’s motion: “The family relationships here did not impact the Court’s determination of defendants’ summary judgment/adjudication motion. I can be fair and impartial in this matter. If, however, one of these family members might turn up as a witness in this case, that of course would present an untenable position.”

    Doyle seems to be suggesting that the quickest way for Scientology to get him off the case might be to find a way to call one of the Smiths as a witness. But Laura’s side might also have its reasons to ask for Doyle to recuse himself.

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  4. mojo Member

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  5. anon8109 Member

    If, however, one of these family members might turn up as a witness in this case, that of course would present an untenable position

    The scientology corporation will undoubtedly be calling his homo novis family members as witnesses.
  6. Would they? Because that would clearly force the judge to recuse himself. It seems more likely they would try to use his family to influence him in a way that might technically not be illegal.
  7. anon8109 Member

    By the sound of it these family members don't have much actual influence with the judge. The more likely scenario is that Miscavige will make the case drag on as long as possible until just before it goes to trial, then whip out these family members as a further delaying and trial-avoidance tactic.
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  8. The Wrong Guy Member

    Scientology gets judge disqualified in forced-abortion lawsuit and wants recent order voided

    By Tony Ortega, May 20, 2016

    On Tuesday, we told you that Los Angeles Superior Court Judge John P. Doyle had submitted a surprising disclosure in Laura DeCrescenzo’s forced-abortion lawsuit against the Church of Scientology. Judge Doyle revealed that he had a first cousin, Greg Smith, who was a Scientologist. In fact, Doyle’s cousins are a longtime, hard core Scientology family, including Sea Org officials at Int Base in California and Saint Hill Manor in England, two of the most important Scientology compounds on the planet.

    Judge Doyle described his interactions with the Smith family as minimal, but he acknowledged that if Scientology called any of his relatives as witnesses, his position as judge on the case would be “untenable.”

    Now we have a copy of Scientology’s response, which reveals that the church does, indeed, plan to call one of the Smith family to testify in the lawsuit, and is therefore asking that Judge Doyle be disqualified from handling the lawsuit any further. And more importantly, Scientology is asking that Judge Doyle’s only action on the seven-year lawsuit, his April 27 denial of a Scientology motion for summary judgment, be voided so the motion can be heard again by a new judge.

    Although Scientology filed its response only this week, the superior court has already indicated that Doyle is now off the case and the lawsuit will be reassigned. But will Scientology convince the new judge to void Judge Doyle’s ruling, which was a crucial step that had cleared the way for an actual trial? Scientology argues that the law is on its side:

    Based on [the Church of Scientology’s] review of the governing law, it appears that if Judge Doyle is disqualified, the April 27, 2016 order is void. This is because the facts underlying the disqualification existed before April 27, 2016, and the degree of relationship between Judge Doyle and members of the Sea Organization was known to Judge Doyle prior to the date of that order.

    Attorney Scott Pilutik, who has been watching this case since it was filed, says he’s not sure that Scientology will prevail on that argument. “There’s zero reason to think that Judge Doyle’s then-hypothetical conflict could have possibly factored in to the April 27 decision, especially as it went against the bias of his conflict,” Pilutik says.
    In other words, Scientology may have to make the argument that having cousins in the Sea Org is something that would cause someone to have a bias against Scientology — and that’s something we’d really enjoy watching, we have to admit.

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  9. Guess I was 100% wrong on that one.
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  10. anon8109 Member

    The cult's most often used legal tactic is to always avoid a jury trial by drawing things out for as long as possible until the other side runs out of money/energy/willpower.
  11. DeathHamster Member

    And the judge order is:
    • Judge Ronald Sohigian (retired)
    • Judge Rafael Ongkeko (Scientology challenge)
    • Judge Robert L. Hess (DeCrescenzo challenge)
    • Judge Richard E. Rico (DeCrescenzo disqualification)
    • Judge Rolf M. Treu (Panic attack)
    • Judge John P. Doyle (Scientology disqualification)
    I'm going to grab a beer while the next judge warms up.
  12. JohnnyRUClear Member

    They had 5 "R" guys in a row to start with (Ronald, Rafael, Robert, Richard, Rolf)? Jinkies!!
  13. Random guy Member

    Perhaps they're aiming for R2-45?
  14. The Wrong Guy Member

    This was uploaded by Panopea Abrupta back on April 28.

    Ruthless? Miscavige Is Truthless and Clueless

  15. The Wrong Guy Member

    Forced-abortion lawsuit has a new judge as Scientology appeals ruling on religious grounds

    By Tony Ortega, June 24, 2016


    Laura DeCrescenzo’s seven-year forced abortion lawsuit against the Church of Scientology now has a new judge, and a new appeal submitted by the defendant.

    You’ll remember that we were dealing with a bit of a shock in the case recently: After denying Scientology’s most recent motion for summary judgment and clearing away the path to a trial, Judge John P. Doyle surprised everyone by announcing that he had cousins who were dedicated Scientologists. Doyle said this had no effect on his decision to deny Scientology’s motion, but it made him vulnerable to a conflict if any of his family members were called as witnesses.

    Scientology then claimed that it did, in fact, plan to call one or more of his cousins as witnesses if the trial were to happen, and Doyle had no choice but to disqualify himself.

    Now, the Los Angeles Superior Court has assigned Judge Samantha Jessner to the case, and Scientology has appealed Judge Doyle’s ruling, not only on its merits, but also because, the church argues, Judge Doyle should have disqualified himself before making it. We have the document for you, and we look forward to your thoughts on it.

    First, as to Judge Jessner. We asked attorney Scott Pilutik, who has been watching this case closely since it was filed, for his thoughts on her record. He said that he liked what he saw, and sent over this description of her that he found online:

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  16. RightOn Member

    Continued luck Laura! <3
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  17. The Wrong Guy Member

    Scientology’s appeal denied, trial date to be set in forced-abortion lawsuit

    By Tony Ortega, June 16, 2016


    Laura DeCrescenzo has won yet another victory in her seven-year legal odyssey to sue the Church of Scientology over abuse she claims she suffered during her childhood in the “Sea Organization,” including being forced, she says, to have an abortion at 17 years old.

    Twice, Laura has had to weather Scientology’s motions for summary judgment. We were in the courtroom both times as, in 2013, Judge Ronald Sohigian denied Scientology’s first motion which claimed that Laura didn’t have enough evidence to go to trial, and earlier this year as Judge John P. Doyle turned down Scientology’s argument that the lawsuit violated the church’s First Amendment religious rights.

    Soon after Judge Doyle made that decision in April, he had to disqualify himself when it turned out that he had cousins in the Sea Org, at least one of whom Scientology planned to call at trial as a witness. So the church then petitioned for a writ with California’s second appellate court district saying not only that Doyle’s decision was wrong, but that it should be voided anyway because he was obviously disqualified when he made it.

    But this week the appellate court refused to take up the case, issuing a document with a single line: “The petition for writ of mandate or other extraordinary relief filed June 2, 2016, has been read and considered and is denied.”

    For some perspective on that, we turned to our attorney and webmaster Scott Pilutik, who has been following Laura’s case closely since she first filed it.

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  18. The Wrong Guy Member

    Scientology petitions California Supreme Court over disqualified judge in forced-abortion case

    By Tony Ortega, August 30, 2016


    When we came out of the courtroom in Los Angeles in April, we talked to Laura DeCrescenzo’s attorney, John Blumberg, about the motion for summary judgment that the Church of Scientology had filed in Laura’s forced-abortion lawsuit that has been dragging on for seven years now.

    Scientology had lost that day as the motion was denied by Judge John P. Doyle, clearing the way for Laura finally to get a trial, perhaps in a year’s time. But Scientology rarely gives up without an appeal. When we asked Blumberg if he thought the church would petition the motion’s denial to the state appeals court, he told us that he not only expected that Scientology would appeal, but that the motion looked to him like something that had been written with the US Supreme Court in mind.

    He may be right about that. After the state appellate court refused to overturn Judge Doyle’s decision, the Church of Scientology has now petitioned California’s State Supreme Court, asking it to take a fresh look at Judge Doyle’s decision. The US Supreme Court may be next — and it wouldn’t be the first time in this lawsuit.

    If you’ve been following this case for the years we’ve been covering it, you might remember that this is the second motion for summary judgment that Scientology filed, and that both of them failed. We were in the courtroom for both of those decisions. Laura originally filed her lawsuit in 2009, alleging years of abuse after she had been recruited into Scientology’s “Sea Org” at only 12 years of age, and then had been forced to have an abortion at 17. There are complex issues in this case about whether Laura filed her lawsuit on time, and the church has also opposed it by arguing that it can treat its Sea Org workers pretty much any way it wants under the protections of the First Amendment.

    In 2013, the original judge in the case at the Los Angeles Superior Court, Judge Ronald Sohigian, denied Scientology’s first motion for summary judgment by deciding that Laura did, in fact, have plenty of compelling evidence on her side that could not simply be dismissed by a judge and that did deserve to be heard by a jury. Then this year, Judge Doyle denied Scientology’s second motion for summary judgment, which had asked him to kill the lawsuit in favor of Scientology’s religious freedoms.

    But what makes Judge Doyle’s decision especially interesting is that shortly after he announced it, he revealed that he had cousins in England who were not only Scientologists, but Sea Org members. He said that it had no influence on his decision, but then Scientology indicated that it intended to call one of Judge Doyle’s cousins as a witness if a trial happened, and so Judge Doyle had no choice but to disqualify himself.

    Scientology then appealed Judge Doyle’s decision not only because the church argues that he got things wrong, but also because his ruling should be disqualified since the judge himself was disqualified.

    The state appellate court didn’t agree. But now, Scientology has appealed even higher, to the state supreme court. We have that document for you. And we also asked attorney Scott Pilutik, who has been following this case from the start, to give us his thoughts on the church’s petition.

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  19. RightOn Member

    The COS coerces a 17 year old girl to have an abortion and this is what they do?
    As if being their victim in the first place wasn't' enough, they have to continue to victimize her.
    Fucking skummy ass cult.
    Soon, very soon. Some day justice HAS to prevail, or else I want an explanation as to why the dots aren't being connected and why they can abuse people for so many years. Yeah I know, fear and money.. but it gets to the point where people have to demand answers to all this fuckery going on and why it is allowed to continue.
  20. The Wrong Guy Member

    SCIENTOLOGY DENIED: California Supreme Court rejects appeal in forced-abortion lawsuit

    By Tony Ortega, September 15, 2016


    More than seven years after Laura DeCrescenzo filed her lawsuit alleging abuse at the hands of the Church of Scientology, she has moved one step closer to a trial with the latest rejection of a Scientology time-wasting appeal.

    The California Supreme Court has denied the church’s petition to review a state appeals court decision that upheld the trial court’s denial of Scientology’s second motion for summary judgment in the lawsuit. As we explained in August, Scientology is unhappy that its motion, which tried to have the lawsuit thrown out on First Amendment religious rights grounds, was denied by Judge John P. Doyle just before he disqualified himself from the lawsuit once he revealed that he had cousins in Scientology’s Sea Organization.

    Scientology’s position is that because Doyle had to disqualify himself, his decision to deny the church’s motion should also be disqualified. But the state appeals court disagreed, and now the state’s highest court has refused to hear the matter.

    The case should now move closer to an actual trial, perhaps in 2017. But will Scientology take a shot at appealing Doyle’s decision to the U.S. Supreme Court? If that happens, it wouldn’t be the first time in this lawsuit. In 2013, the church made a futile attempt to get the U.S. Supreme Court interested in its desperate attempt to keep from having to turn over Laura’s own Scientology folders to her. And no wonder why the church was trying so hard not to turn over those documents: What we found in them was truly disgusting.

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  21. The Wrong Guy Member

    Scientology’s next move in forced-abortion lawsuit: Deposing defectors

    By Tony Ortega, February 17, 2017


    We finally have an update for you on Laura DeCrescenzo’s forced-abortion lawsuit against the Church of Scientology, which is nearing eight years since she filed it in 2009.

    In September, Scientology lost an appeal to the California State Supreme Court, which affirmed the trial court’s decision to deny Scientology’s second motion for summary judgment in the lawsuit. This cleared the way to a trial, but it still looks like it’s going to be a long time before Laura gets her day in court.

    No trial date has been set, but discovery is proceeding, and we’ve learned that Scientology’s next move is to pull in several familiar names for depositions in March.

    We confirmed with Marc and Claire Headley, Astra Woodcraft, and Nora Crest that they have all been notified that Scientology is pulling them in for depositions that will take place in Los Angeles.

    It might not surprise you to hear that they are not thrilled about it.

    “They’re just fishing for information. And they’re trying to get as much current information on us as possible, and they’re just using up more time and expenses,” Claire Headley tells us.

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  22. The Wrong Guy Member

    Ex-Scientologist Wins Ruling Over Documents in Her Lawsuit Against Church of Scientology | LA West Media


    A Los Angeles Superior Court judge ruled Wednesday that lawyers for the Church of Scientology are not entitled to obtain additional documents they say they need to defend the church against a former member’s claims that she was forced to work long hours before she was a teen and was coerced to have an abortion at age 17.

    Subject To Brainwashing And Mind Control

    Judge Samantha Jessner said the church’s attorneys could have asked for the information sooner and that she was not going to re-open discovery in the case, which was brought by Laura Ann DeCrescenzo in April 2009.

    Lawyers for the church had sought documents reviewed by plaintiff’s witness Stephen Kent, who is an expert in the sociology of religions. They wrote in their court papers that Kent used the records to form his opinion that DeCrescenzo, now 44, was subject to brainwashing and mind control that delayed her filing of her lawsuit.

    Forced Abortion, False Imprisonment And More

    The trial could have two phases, beginning with a non-jury trial before Judge Mark Mooney to determine whether DeCrescenzo acted reasonably in waiting so long to file her lawsuit. If he rules in her favor, a jury would decide on liability and damages.

    Mooney scheduled the non-jury trial for Aug. 13 and the jury trial, if needed, for Nov. 26, 2018.

    The church is a defendant along with its Religious Technology Center. The suit’s allegations include forced abortion, false imprisonment, intentional infliction of emotional distress, unfair business practices and wage and hour violations.

    She Began Volunteering With The Church At Age 6 Or 7

    Although now-retired Judge Ronald Sohigian previously dismissed the case, a three-justice panel of the 2nd District Court of Appeal reversed his decision in June 2011 and sent the case back to the judge to determine whether the church was permitted to raise the statute of limitations as a defense.

    According to a sworn declaration by DeCrescenzo, she began volunteering to do church work at age 6 or 7 in Orange County. She says that at age 7, she was part of a Scientology group organized to picket the very civil courthouse where trial of her lawsuit will take place.

    Consequences Of Taking Action Against The Church of Scientology

    She claims the demonstration showed the church’s ability to “go to every length to bring down people who filed lawsuits” against the institution, whose followers include actors Tom Cruise and John Travolta.

    “I believed that if I took any action against the Church of Scientology — whether filing a lawsuit or even speaking negatively about the Church of Scientology — that I would be subjected to severe retribution, including significant financial penalties and loss of my family,” DeCrescenzo stated.

    Required To Work 15+ Hours A Day

    When DeCrescenzo was 12, she was recruited to join the organization’s elite Sea Org, which she said is responsible for overseeing the delivery of the religion worldwide.

    DeCrescenzo alleges she was initially required to work daily from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. and that two more hours were later added to her work day. DeCrescenzo says she remained with Sea Org until 2004, when she was 25.

    Pretended To Attempt Suicide

    She says she was told she could not leave Sea Org and was released from duty only after she pretended to attempt suicide by swallowing bleach.

    DeCrescenzo alleges she became pregnant in February 1996 and was convinced by the church to abort her fetus to show her allegiance to Sea Org and its long hours.

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  23. The Wrong Guy Member

    Scientology sues Laura DeCrescenzo in latest plot to kill her 8-year forced-abortion claim

    By Tony Ortega, December 29, 2017


    From the “you have to be kidding us” department, we have this last-minute 2017 news. A week ago, Scientology’s attorneys Eric Lieberman and Bert Deixler filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of the Church of Scientology International in California. The defendant? Laura DeCrescenzo.

    Yes, the church has filed a federal lawsuit against the woman who has been suing Scientology for more than eight years in a forced-abortion and abuse case that we’ve been following closely, and which has managed to survive being dismissed once, brought back on appeal, vindicated through two motions for summary judgment, and delayed with appeals all the way to the US Supreme Court.

    But now, in maybe the most cynical (and yet completely characteristic) Scientology legal filing we’ve seen in a long time, CSI’s attorneys are telling a federal court that it should erase the last eight years of litigation that have occurred at the state-level Los Angeles Superior Court and toss out Laura’s lawsuit entirely.

    The reasoning behind their argument is rather murky, but it goes something like this:

    If you’ve followed our reporting on this case, you know that a central issue with it was the timing of Laura first filing it, in 2009. By then, five years had passed since she left her job working for Scientology’s Sea Organization and its billion-year contract, 112-hour work weeks, and pay of pennies an hour. Scientology has always argued that she waited too long, and that by statute any lawsuit regarding her treatment in the Sea Org had to be filed within four years of her leaving it.

    Also, when Laura first filed her lawsuit, one of the many claims she made was that her treatment violated human trafficking laws, which is actually a federal issue. So Scientology had the case “removed” to federal court initially, and they successfully argued that it was too late to file a trafficking claim, and that part of her lawsuit was dismissed. The lawsuit then moved back to state court, where Judge Ronald Sohigian dismissed the rest of the lawsuit, also on grounds that Laura had waited too long to file it. But an appeals court agreed with Laura’s attorneys that Scientology’s actions since Laura had left the Sea Org should be taken into account — Laura argued that she had been surveilled and harassed after leaving the Sea Org (but remaining in the church), and it was only later that she realized that she’d been victimized and should take the church to court.

    Years have passed since then, and we were in the courtroom as twice the merits of Laura’s lawsuit were judged by the court to be sufficiently solid so that Scientology motions for summary judgment were defeated. LA Superior Court has moved at a glacial pace, however, and it was only recently that the lawsuit was given to yet another new judge and a trial date in August 2018 established, at least for the first of two trials, which will deal once again with the timing issue and whether Laura filed too late or not.

    Got all that? Now, with that as background, Scientology’s attorneys have gone back to federal court, and are arguing that when the human trafficking claim was thrown out eight years ago, the rest of the lawsuit should have been as well — in other words, they’re asking a federal court to ignore all of the stuff that’s been going on in LA Superior Court for the last eight years.

    If that sounds desperate, it sure reads that way, and we have the document for you, below.

    We asked Laura’s attorney, John Blumberg, for a comment, and he indicated that a response on Laura’s behalf would be filed in federal court that will demonstrate why Scientology’s attempt to derail her state case will fail.

    We also asked our attorney Scott Pilutik to look at the complaint — Scott has been watching Laura’s case for nearly its entire history and knows it intimately. Here’s what he sent us:

    ​That’s some convoluted stuff there. It feels like a Hail Mary pass though, because I can’t imagine the federal court accepting their argument on its face. ​Their entire argument is reduced in the Wherefore clause:

    “Plaintiff requests that the court issue a declaratory judgment stating that its prior judgment, dismissing LD’s federal human trafficking claim on the ground that the claim was barred by a four year statute of limitations and that equitable estoppel did not bar CSI from raising that defense, precludes LD from raising the issue of equitable estoppel in her claims pending in the state court action because those claims accrued on the same date as did her federal human trafficking claim, those claims also had statutes of limitations of four years or less, and this court’s prior judgment decided that equitable estoppel does not apply to the period running from the date LD’s claims accrued and the date she first filed the state court action.”

    They’re essentially saying that because Laura lost on one statute of limitations argument in federal court (the one relating to human trafficking), she should automatically lose any statute of limitation argument where the facts occurred around the same time. So the state court’s scheduled trial on the issue of statute of limitations for the newer claims shouldn’t go forward.

    The problem with this argument is that the reasons why a court might set aside statute of limitations are fact-specific and the outcomes can differ depending on the circumstances. I’m not going to speculate on what differences there might be but I think the federal court is going to laugh at Scientology’s bold presumption that one four-year statute of limitation is effectively as good as any other.

    There’s also the question of why this issue is only coming before the federal court at the eleventh hour, since the facts necessary to rule on Scientology’s request gelled, oh, seven plus years ago, at the time of Laura’s second amended complaint. This is basically the same argument that failed before the California Court of Appeal and California Supreme Court, except aimed at the federal court, which will likely take a very dim view of the suggestion that it step on a state proceeding concerning the very same issue, scheduled only months away.

    Thanks, Scott.

    And we want to remind readers, once again, it was Bert Deixler who told the California State Supreme Court and the US Supreme Court that Laura DeCrescenzo should not get her own personal files out of Scientology for this case because of their “religious” content. Both courts ignored him, and when Laura finally got her files, what was in it wasn’t “religious,” it was nasty material showing a “church” using harrowing techniques to control a 12-year-old child who merely wanted to see her mother.

    We just hope, someday, that some other news media organization besides the Underground Bunker takes an interest in Bert Deixler’s work in this case. And here’s another gem from him:

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  24. The Wrong Guy Member

    Laura DeCrescenzo fires back at Scientology’s desperate new federal court gambit

    By Tony Ortega, February 23, 2018


    Late last year, we told you about Scientology’s latest and rather desperate attempt to derail Laura DeCrescenzo’s nine-year odyssey to seek justice after being forced to have an abortion as a 17-year-old Sea Org worker.

    Laura first filed her lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court in 2009, but its history since then has been tortuous. It was removed to federal court by Scientology, where one of its claims (under a federal law) was knocked down, but then the federal court sent the remaining case back to the LA state court. Judge Ronald Sohigian then dismissed the case, agreeing with Scientology that Laura should have filed in 2008, within four years after leaving her Sea Org position. But an appeals court revived the case, agreeing with the argument that since Laura had remained in the church after leaving the Sea Org, she had been intimidated by the church from filing sooner. Her case has also survived two motions for summary judgment (we were there both times!), and she also got her folders of data after the church appealed all the way to US Supreme Court to keep them out of her hands.

    Now, she finally has a firm trial date set for August 13 of this year, but Scientology is trying a pretty wild new tactic: It filed a new federal lawsuit against Laura, claiming that when her case was previously in federal court, it should have been thrown out entirely. That’s after the church has spent years litigating the case in state court, including its two defeated motions for summary judgment.

    This is sort of like a trailing football team, halfway through the fourth quarter, asking for a forfeiture because it says the pregame coin toss didn’t go its way.

    Now we have Laura’s answer to the new lawsuit, submitted by her attorneys John Blumberg and Ave Buchwald.

    As you can imagine, it’s pretty dismissive of Scientology’s new lawsuit. It goes through the history of the case and argues a lot of dry law about state and federal courts and we’d quote it at you but it’s really not exciting. But in this case, that’s probably for the best. Scientology’s longshot move simply reeks of desperation.

    But who knows? Scientology often finds a way to make a mockery of our court system.

    Take a look at Laura’s answer for yourself and let us know how it strikes you.

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  25. The Wrong Guy Member

  26. The Wrong Guy Member

  27. The Wrong Guy Member

    Federal judge smacks down Scientology’s shameless attempt to delay forced-abortion case

    By Tony Ortega, May 4, 2018


    It was quite obvious to us that Scientology’s most recent shameless legal gambit — suing the woman in federal court who is already suing the church in a forced-abortion abuse case in state court — was simply an outrageous waste of time as the trial in Laura DeCrescenzo’s nine-year legal odyssey finally draws nearer.

    And now, a federal judge has agreed. Yesterday in Los Angeles, Judge George H. Wu granted Laura’s motion to dismiss the federal lawsuit Scientology filed in December, ending it outright.


    “Scientology has tried to prevent this case from going to trial. Superior Court judges denied Scientology’s two motions for summary judgment. The California appellate courts and the US Supreme Court denied its attempts to prevent production of their supposedly secret documents. And after a trial date was finally set, Scientology filed a federal court lawsuit hoping to get an order to prevent the trial. The federal judge obviously saw through the frivolous argument and we are looking forward to finally going to trial,” says Laura’s attorney, John Blumberg.

    The way should now be cleared for Laura’s trial — which we will remind you is going to be “bifurcated.” There will be an initial bench trial (before the judge, and without a jury) about the timing issues on the case and whether Laura filed it in time when she started this process in 2009. If she wins that, it will go on to a jury trial on the merits of her case.

    Based on the history of Scientology litigation, it’s extremely unlikely that the church will roll the dice and face a jury with the facts in Laura’s case. The records she obtained after the church lost its appeal to the Supreme Court are stomach-turning.

    We would expect the church to settle rather than have that evidence play out before the press in a jury trial. But will they try first to win the initial part of the trial — which won’t be before a jury and will be highly technical — before throwing in the towel?

    More at
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  28. The Wrong Guy Member

    Scientology files notice of appeal in time-wasting federal court attack on forced-abortion case

    By Tony Ortega, May 15, 2018


    Well-regarded California attorney Bert Deixler has once again genuflected to his client, Church of Scientology leader David Miscavige, filing a notice of appeal after the church got roundly defeated in a calculated move to slow down a lawsuit that scares the bejeesus out of Miscavige.

    We’re talking about the forced-abortion lawsuit filed nine years ago by former Scientology employee Laura DeCrescenzo who was but 12 years old when she indentured herself to the servitude known as the Sea Organization, which requires signing a billion-year contract and, in her case, working 90-hour weeks until she turned 13, when she was put on the 112-hour adult schedule.

    When she was 17, she’s testified, she was coerced into having an abortion because that’s been Scientology policy since at least the 1970s, that its Sea Org women end their pregnancies so they can keep up the grueling schedule. The policy was supposedly ended in 2010, but we’ve seen some evidence that it’s still continuing today.

    Bert Deixler, Scientology’s expensive legal hired gun, is trying everything he can to keep Laura from having her day in court, when her trial is finally scheduled to begin in August. In December, Deixler filed a long-shot lawsuit in federal court, trying to argue that a federal judge should step in and wipe out Laura’s state court lawsuit, even though Scientology has been litigating it there for years.

    That federal judge, George Wu, saw through Scientology’s gambit, and he granted Laura’s motion to dismiss on May 3, with prejudice, preventing the church from refiling the case with some changed language. It was about as much a slam-dunk as Laura could hope for, and the way seemed clear for her state trial.

    But now Deixler has filed a notice of appeal with the US Ninth Circuit, and we have no doubt it’s because Miscavige threw a temper tantrum and demanded that it be done, even with Judge Wu slamming their cynical ploy so hard.

    The church will have to file a motion asking the appeals court to stay Laura’s state lawsuit while the appeal is heard. But our legal experts tell us this is unlikely to be granted.

    Let us remind you once again that it was Deixler, bookstore owner, pillar of the community, who fought hard on behalf of the church when Laura won a court ruling ordering the church to turn over her private folders — her own files, mind you — and Deixler told both the California Supreme Court and the Supreme Court of the United States that what was in Laura’s folders was so “religious” in nature it would violate Scientology’s religious freedom rights to force the church to turn them over.

    Well, both courts ignored that argument and Laura did finally get her folders, and they contained vile material showing how a church manipulated a 12-year-old girl who merely wanted to communicate with her own mother.
    This is the “religious” content that Deixler didn’t want the world to see.

    And now, he’s going to argue that a federal judge screwed up when he knocked down Scientology’s latest ploy to throw a road block in front of Laura — when, if there was any real justice in this country, the church should be sanctioned for all of the ways it’s trying to keep Laura from her day in court.

    And not only that. We have another beef. Deixler has shamed himself time and again, but he’s just a hired gun working for a bad actor. What really puzzles us is this:

    When the hell is the Los Angeles fricking Times going to start paying attention to this monumental court case in its own effing backyard?

    The Times is going through a big transition right now, with a new owner who is moving the newsroom out of the city center itself. The Times will be undergoing something of an identity crisis. What better way to show its readers that it’s serious about local news than to get rid of its near-total aversion to Scientology stories and start digging into Laura’s case?

    Continued at
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  29. The Wrong Guy Member

    Scientology asks court to freeze Laura D’s forced-abortion case for a long-shot appeal

    By Tony Ortega, May 23, 2018


    We told you that Bert Deixler, Scientology’s top-flight attorney, had filed a notice that the church planned to appeal a federal court ruling even after getting shot down in its latest attempt to throw up a roadblock before Laura DeCrescenzo finally gets her day in court this August on her 9-year forced-abortion lawsuit.

    Now, we have the actual argument that Deixler is making to the Los Angeles Superior Court that it should put a stay on Laura’s case while the church pursues a long-shot appeal even after its Hail Mary federal lawsuit was stomped by a judge who killed it “with prejudice” to keep it from coming back.

    As a sign of the church’s desperation, Deixler uses some pretty intimidating-sounding language in this motion for a stay to convince the state court in Los Angeles that it should hold things up since the church’s federal appeal could win the day and make everything go away.

    “This Court should not proceed to trial in the matter when there is a real possibility that trial will be unnecessary or, worse, that trial would go forward in a case later enjoined by the federal courts, thus wasting both the parties’ and the Court’s resources,” Deixler writes.

    Continued at
  30. The Wrong Guy Member

    Laura D’s attorneys answer Scientology’s latest delaying tactic with a legal blast of their own

    By Tony Ortega, May 29, 2018


    Laura DeCrescenzo’s legal team has answered Scientology’s latest delaying tactic in her 2009 forced-abortion lawsuit, and attorneys John Blumberg and Ave Buchwald state up front what’s really at stake as Scientology asks for a stay in Los Angeles Superior Court.

    Scientology wants Laura’s nine-year state lawsuit put on hold as the church pursues a long-shot appeal of a long-shot federal lawsuit it filed in order to throw up a roadblock before Laura’s scheduled August trial. That federal suit was dismissed, but the church wants to pursue its appeal even though that might delay Laura’s trial for years.

    “The federal court dismissed the action and [Scientology] appealed, triggering a process that can take years before final resolution. The issue is whether [Scientology]’s use of the federal system, after many years of voluntary participation in the Superior Court, is a subterfuge whose purpose is to further delay plaintiff from her day in court,” Laura’s attorneys write.

    Well, that’s exactly what it feels like — simply a way of preventing Laura from finally getting her day in court, the latest cynical Hail Mary from Scientology’s unlimited legal budget.

    Laura’s legal odyssey is long and complex, and her attorneys go through its details pretty quickly in this document, which we have for you below. But in summing up, they explain best why the Los Angeles court should ignore Scientology’s request for a stay after it has already spent so much time trying to deny Laura her day in court.

    Continued at
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  31. The Wrong Guy Member

    DENIED: Los Angeles judge rejects Scientology’s latest delay tactic in forced-abortion case

    By Tony Ortega, June 9, 2018


    Yesterday in Los Angeles, a state court judge denied the Church of Scientology’s latest attempt to delay a lawsuit alleging forced abortion and other abuses in the Sea Organization that has already taken nine years to reach trial, which is scheduled for August.

    Laura DeCrescenzo was only 12 years old when she joined Scientology’s inner hardcore, signing a billion-year Sea Org contract and going to work more than 90 hours a week for almost no pay. When she turned 13, she was moved to the adult schedule — 112 hours a week. When she was 17, she alleges, she was coerced into having an abortion in order to keep working around the clock — which was church policy at the time.

    Scientology has followed its usual scorched-earth legal strategies since Laura filed her lawsuit in 2009, throwing two motions for summary judgment at the case (both of which Laura defeated), and appealing a decision about her personal records all the way to the US Supreme Court. (Laura won that fight too, and got her personal folders from the church.)

    This time, Scientology had really thrown a Hail Mary, filing a new lawsuit in federal court claiming that Laura’s case should have been killed eight years ago for complex jurisdictional reasons. But US District Court Judge George Wu granted Laura’s motion to dismiss that case with prejudice. Judge Wu’s harsh ruling didn’t faze Scientology, which filed notice of appeal in the US Ninth Circuit, and then filed a motion in the state lawsuit, asking that it be delayed once again in order to see what the feds will rule on Scientology’s longshot appeal to its dismissed longshot federal lawsuit.

    In state court yesterday, Judge Mark Mooney was asked to apply the rule that any injunctive-type of action like the stay the church was asking for has to prove its likelihood of prevailing. Scientology, in other words, had to prove that its federal appeal is likely to win and will overturn Judge Wu’s ruling.

    But Scientology was asking the court to overlook that this same argument has lost three times — its first go-round in federal court, with a previous state court judge (Ronald Sohigian), and with federal Judge Wu.

    Mooney cited those previous rulings, and especially that Judge Wu had found that the state court was not bound by any federal decisions, and announced that Scientology’s request for a stay was denied.

    He ruled, for now anyway, that trial should go forward as scheduled in August.

    Continued at
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  32. The Wrong Guy Member

    Scientology scrambles to keep Miscavige out of forced-abortion trial

    By Tony Ortega, July 13, 2018


    One month from today, Laura DeCrescenzo is finally scheduled to get the trial against Scientology that she first asked for more than eight years ago — and the church is scrambling to keep leader David Miscavige out of it.

    Today, the court will hear a request by the church to shorten the time it can file a motion to keep Miscavige out after he was served with a notice to appear by Laura’s legal team. As we’ve seen in previous cases, particularly one in Texas, the church will go to enormous lengths to keep Miscavige out of a witness chair, and it seems pretty clever for Laura to demand his presence so close to her trial.

    Laura joined the Sea Org at twelve, alleges she was forced to have an abortion at seventeen, and was so desperate to leave the Sea Org she drank bleach. She also believes she was intimidated by the church from filing her lawsuit sooner, which is a central issue in this first of two trials, scheduled for August 13 at Los Angeles Superior Court.

    To help us understand what’s at stake in this first trial, and how bad it portends to be for Scientology, we asked attorney Scott Pilutik to explain what’s about to happen.

    Continued at
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  33. The Wrong Guy Member

    Judge to Decide if Scientology Leader Must Testify in Upcoming Trial |


    A Los Angeles Superior Court judge is scheduled to rule next week on whether the leader of Scientology should be compelled to testify in a lawsuit by a former member, who alleges she was coerced to have an abortion at age 17.

    Laura Ann DeCrescenzo also claims she was forced to work long hours as a young child.

    Lawyers for the church’s Religious Technology Center last week asked that church leader David Miscavige — described in their court papers as having a role analogous to the pope in the Catholic Church — not be subject to a subpoena.

    They asked Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mark Mooney to quash the subpoena filed by DeCrescenzo’s lawyers, on the grounds that Miscavige’s testimony would not be relevant to the claims leveled in the lawsuit, filed by DeCrescenzo in April 2009.

    “(DeCrescenzo) never has met Mr. Miscavige, never communicated with him and never had anything to do with his activities, or he with hers,” the RTC court papers state.

    “Plaintiff’s last-minute attempt to drag Mr. Miscavige into these proceedings not only is pure harassment, but would seriously interfere with his ongoing worldwide exercise of his unique religious responsibilities and commitments, thereby impeding the operation of a church with congregants throughout the world.”

    Mooney did not immediately rule on the motion to quash Miscavige’s subpoena, and scheduled a hearing for Monday.

    Continued at
  34. BigBeard Member

    From the story, "“(De Crescenzo) never has met Mr. Miscavige, never communicated with him and never had anything to do with his activities, or he with hers,” the RTC court papers state."

    A lot of people never met Al Capone either, but that doesn't mean their lives weren't impacted at his direction.

  35. The Wrong Guy Member

    Scientology leader David Miscavige will not testify in forced-abortion trial

    By Tony Ortega, July 19, 2018


    We have some updates for you from Laura DeCrescenzo’s forced-abortion case as it rapidly approaches its August 13 trial date.

    A week ago, we told you that Scientology’s attorneys were scrambling to deal with a last-minute surprise from Laura’s legal team — she had filed a “notice to appear” requiring church leader David Miscavige to testify in the trial, which will consider her allegations of abuse as a child working for the church’s “Sea Organization.”

    Scientology’s lawyers filed a motion to quash that subpoena, and asked Judge Mark Mooney to expedite his handling of it. The judge set a hearing date of Monday to make a decision about whether Miscavige would have to show up for the trial.

    We have now learned that during that hearing on Friday, the attorney for the Religious Technology Center — the nominally controlling entity of Scientology as a whole — told the judge in open court that a mediation hearing on the case would be going on the next day.

    We don’t know the result of that Saturday mediation hearing. However, we did learn that earlier today the Church of Scientology International dismissed its Ninth Circuit appeal on a federal lawsuit it had filed against Laura in one of its final gambits to try and delay her trial.

    Also today, Laura’s attorneys withdrew the notice to appear that would have required Miscavige to testify in the trial. As a result, the Monday hearing to quash that subpoena won’t be held.

    We called Laura’s attorney, John Blumberg, asking him what we should conclude from these changes, and he responded that he was unable to comment on the developments.

    Even without Miscavige’s participation, the trial should be an ugly mess for Scientology, as attorney Scott Pilutik explained last week. “For Scientology, goal number one has always been to prevent any trial where the types of grisly abuses alleged by Laura are made public,” he told us.

    So, here’s what we know. After a mediation hearing, both sides have now given up something going into the trial. Scientology’s Ninth Circuit appeal was a longshot attempt to overturn the dismissal of a longshot federal lawsuit it filed in December, hoping to convince the federal courts to kill Laura’s state court action. But even though the federal lawsuit seemed like a Hail Mary pass, if the appeal somehow succeeded, it would make her state lawsuit moot. So getting that dropped is one less headache for Laura.

    And is she giving up a lot by letting Miscavige off the hook? A significant increase in media attention occurred in the last 24 hours over the prospect of Miscavige trying to get out of the case — imagine the press feeding frenzy if he’d actually been compelled to testify. So yes, this does seem like a pretty big chip to lose.

    But either way, Scientology is still facing a major headache with the trial just a little more than three weeks away. Expect more fireworks as it nears.

  36. Triumph Member

    My News LA
    Settlement Reached in Former Member’s Suit Against Church of Scientology

    Posted by Contributing Editor on July 23, 2018 in Crime
    Lawyers for the Church of Scientology and a former member settled a lawsuit she filed nearly a decade ago, in which she alleged she was forced to work long hours before she was a teen and was coerced to have an abortion at age 17, lawyers for the parties told a judge Monday.
    Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mark Mooney met with the attorneys for the church and plaintiff Laura Ann DeCrescenzo in chambers, then announced from the bench that the upcoming Aug. 13 first phase of trial was vacated in light of the settlement.
    Lawyers for both sides confirmed outside the courtroom that a resolution was reached, but they declined further comment.
    The church was a defendant in the suit along with its Religious Technology Center. The suit’s allegations included forced abortion, false imprisonment, intentional infliction of emotional distress, unfair business practices and wage and hour violations.
    Although now-retired Judge Ronald Sohigian previously dismissed the case, a three-justice panel of the 2nd District Court of Appeal reversed his decision in June 2011 and sent the case back to the judge to determine whether the church was permitted to raise the statute of limitations as a defense.

  37. Triumph Member

    Underground Bunker Tony Ortega


    After nine years of characteristic scorched-earth legal maneuvering which included numerous appeals and delays and long-shot Hail Mary passes, Scientology has finally chickened out of actually going through a trial over the forced-abortion allegations of Laura DeCrescenzo. The two sides hammered out a settlement to end the case before trial was scheduled to begin on August 13, more than nine years since Laura first filed her lawsuit. The settlement of the case was announced in open court this morning.
    The sides won’t divulge the terms of the deal, but we can tell you it’s pretty likely that Scientology leader David Miscavige cut the largest check he ever has to end a lawsuit, and for good reason. As attorney Scott Pilutik explained just a few days ago, this trial was going to be very ugly for Scientology, with evidence that it works children under horrific conditions, over endless hours, and that it forces young women to have abortions to keep them working around the clock.
    Scientology threw two motions for summary judgment at the case and lost them both, appealed one ruling about turning over Laura’s personal files all the way to the US Supreme Court, and most recently filed its own lawsuit against Laura in federal court. Add several judge changes, a dismissal and successful appeal, and it took an enormous time to get here. But with the trial only weeks away, Scientology had run out of its last chance to delay things, and Laura’s legal team cranked up the pressure by serving Miscavige with a notice to testify in the proceeding.
    While publicly Scientology was filing a motion with the court to get that subpoena quashed, privately they scrambled to cut a deal to end the case entirely.

  38. chuckbeatty77 Member

    This overall is disappointing for some reason to me, I'm too ignorant to understand how this is good.
  39. Triumph Member

    story Is going out thru the Associated Press wire

    Washington Post

    Church of Scientology, former member settle long lawsuit

    by Associated Press July 23 at 9:39 PM
    LOS ANGELES — The Church of Scientology and one of its former members have settled a lawsuit she filed nearly a decade ago alleging she was forced to work long hours as a pre-teen and was coerced to have an abortion at 17.
    Judge Mark Mooney met privately Monday with attorneys for the church and plaintiff Laura Ann DeCrescenzo and then announced the settlement in court. Trial was scheduled to begin Aug. 13.
    John Blumberg, an attorney for DeCrescenzo, says terms of the deal are confidential. Attorneys for Scientology didn’t return calls seeking comment.
    The church was a defendant along with its Religious Technology Center. The allegations included forced abortion, false imprisonment and unfair business practices.
    Blumberg says the defendants’ lawyers’ actions indicated that they didn’t want the case to go trial.
  40. Life News: Church of Scientology Settles Lawsuit With Woman Who Says It Forced Her to Have Abortion.

    Micaiah Bilger, the author of story, goes beyond the AP report, adding:

    * * * * * BEGIN EXCERPT * * * * *

    Other former Scientologists also have accused the group of forced or coerced abortions. In 2015, LifeNews reported former Scientologist Samantha Domingo said she and other women were treated like “criminals” when they became pregnant and wanted to keep their babies. She said the religious leaders eventually succeeded in manipulating and coercing her to abort her unborn child.

    “I bought into it. I had an abortion to prove I wasn’t this evil person, this Satan that everybody was saying I was,” Domingo said.

    Domingo said she can never forgive herself for killing her baby.

    “I murdered a child, that’s the way I look at it, and it will forever live with me that I murdered a child. I will never forgive myself for that, I will never be able to rewrite it,” she said.

    In 2016, former member Claire Headley told documentarian Leah Remini a similar story. Headley said she and other women she knew were forced or coerced into having abortions — and one woman had six. She and her husband, Marc, another former Scientologist, said they both were abused by the religious leaders and later left the religion.

    “It’s a heavily guarded property, and a lot of secrecy and a lot of control.… You’re not allowed to make phone calls without permission or someone listening.… People would escape frequently,” she recalled.

    * * * * * END EXCERPT * * * * *

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