Judge James Whittemore

Scientology Legal Cases — July 2018: Scientology Wins Garcia Sham Arbitration; Settles Forced Abortion Case in DeCrescenzo

Laura DeCrescenzo

Events in a mediation last weekend signaled that the Church of Scientology was preparing to settle with Laura DeCrescenzo in her nine year old lawsuit that detailed numerous abuses she suffered at Scientology’s hands as a Sea Org member: Forced abortion, sleep deprivation, brainwashing, and false imprisonment.

Scientology’s Religious Technology Center (RTC) was named as a defendant in the lawsuit. Scientology dictator David Miscavige exercises supreme control over Scientology from his position as Chairman of the Board RTC.  DeCrescenzo’s lawsuit threatened to pierce Scientology’s corporate veils and show that Scientology is the alter ego of David Miscavige.

News of the settlement with Laura DeCrescenzo has just been published by Tony Ortega. In her long and grinding legal battle, DeCrescenzo was able to defeat Scientology’s contract called Agreement Regarding Confidential Religious Files. In this particular contract, Scientologists forever sign away all their rights to ever read, inspect, review, or own their preclear folders.

Among her other legal victories in pretrial, Laura DeCrescenzo was able to establish that over 100 people in Scientology had access to her confessional folders and there was no priest-penitent privilege. This struck another major blow against Scientology’s demonstrably false claim that pc folders are confidential. Scientology’s former members who speak out have consistently testified that their “private” pc folder data was used against them in retaliatory Scientology Fair Game attacks. Fair Game puts the lie to all claims made by Scientology that anything a former Scientologist said in session is private. L. Ron Hubbard himself sanctioned the use of pc folder data against former members who speak out.

The upcoming trial in DeCrescenzo posed enormous risks for the Church of Scientology. These risks included the setting of legal precedents that would be adverse to Scientology in all future litigation filed against it.

GARCIA

On July 17, 2018 Federal Judge James Whittemore ruled in the Church of Scientology’s favor in the sham arbitration it conducted with former Scientologists Luis and Rocio Garcia. In his ruling, Judge Whittemore’s concluded that the First Amendment prevented him from interfering in the outcome of Scientology’s arbitration procedure with the Garcia’s. To outsiders, it was abundantly clear to see that the arbitration was a complete sham.

The Garcia case was predicated on the fact that the Garcia’s had signed Scientology’s scammy “Religious Services Enrollment Application, Agreement, and General Release” contract. In this contract, the Garcia’s agreed to be bound by Scientology’s ecclesiastical rules including arbitration. According to the contract, Scientology was entitled to set all the rules in what became a one-sided farce that served to highlight the bad faith that is integral to the Church of Scientology.

We covered specifics of Scientology’s bad faith in two previous articles:

How Scientology Inc. Legally Cripples Its Own Members: The Four Unconscionable Contracts

Why the Church of Scientology Gets Away with Flagrantly Abusing and Harming its Own Members and How to Stop It.

An excerpt from our second article:

Churches, temples, mosques, and ashrams are free to determine their own internal form of government, rules, and discipline. The government is prohibited from intruding into these ecclesiastical matters. The First and Fourteenth Amendments to the US Constitution guarantees these rights. In the legal case Serbian Eastern Orthodox Diocese, Etc. v. Milivojevich, the Court stated:

“…the First and Fourteenth Amendments permit hierarchical religious organizations to establish their own rules and regulations for internal discipline and government, and to create tribunals for adjudicating disputes over these matters. When this choice is exercised and ecclesiastical tribunals are created to decide disputes over the government and direction of subordinate bodies, the Constitution requires that civil courts accept their decisions as binding upon them.”

So long as the “rules and regulations for internal discipline and government” do not violate US law, the members of a religious group can be subjected to harsh ecclesiastical tribunals, severe punishments, and even the humiliating public disclosure of their sins and the US courts cannot do anything about it. This is the dark side of “freedom of religion.”

Judge Whittemore cited Serbian Eastern Orthodox Diocese, Etc. v. Milivojevich in his ruling in Garcia.

In our opinion, Judge Whittemore issued an intellectually lazy and judicially incompetent ruling. Rather than focusing on the bad faith of Scientology during the entire arbitration process — which is a serious issue — he simply took the easy way out.

An exhausted old cow can’t deliberate properly: A perfect metaphor for Judge James Whittemore’s ruling in Garcia. 

Had Scientology’s attorneys known in advance that Judge Whittemore was so slovenly, they would have had Scientology’s arbitrators throw chicken bones on the floor; read the patterns; deny the Garcia’s any award; and have this chicken bone ecclesiastical procedure confirmed by Scientology’s IJC Mike Ellis. Judge Whittemore would have accepted their decision and issued the exact same ruling: The court may not interfere. Whittemore is 66 years old. He needs to be put out to pasture like an old cow before he does further judicial damage to other parties in his lackadaisical dotage. The poor old boy is tired.

SCIENTOLOGY: BAD FAITH, DIRTY CONTRACTS, BROKEN DREAMS

Although the Garcia’s lost in what was a sham arbitration, the Church of Scientology lost in a much bigger way. What the world saw in Garcia was Scientology’s bad faith and lies at work. For example, the Garcia’s were fraudulently induced to donate $65,000 to cover the costs of placing the Scientology cross atop the Super Power Building. This same fraudulent inducement was propounded to other Scientology by Scientology’s dishonest and predatory registrars (sales people)

Scientology’s registrars and certain other public-facing staff members can be so craven and dishonest that the Church of Scientology had to write a specific policy in which it does not stand behind any statements made by any of its staff members:

Laura DeCrescenzo prevailed in her case because Scientology’s conduct was so abhorrent that it appears to have exceeded First Amendment religious protections and, in this writer’s opinion, to have crossed the line into criminality. In any event, Scientology did not want to risk appearing in a public court of law where a jury would hear a shocking litany of horrific acts Scientology perpetrated against a young woman.

And under all circumstances, Scientology could not risk having David Miscavige placed on the stand. This is because the entire operating basis of the Church of Scientology is to protect David Miscavige from the consequences of his own actions. The same operating basis was at work when L. Ron Hubbard was alive and in control of the Church. The coddled and brutal tyrants at the top of the Scientology crime syndicate must always be protected at all costs. Mary Sue Hubbard learned this the hard way as has Shelly Miscavige.

In my view, the Church of Scientology lied to and swindled the Garcia’s out of hundreds of thousands of dollars and got away with it due to its First Amendment protections. The same holds true of the many people Scientology has swindled out of money these people have placed as “Monies on Account.” The fact is that there is no such thing as “Monies on Account” in Scientology. The actual contract Scientologists sign characterizes the monies as irrevocable donations and states that Scientology is under no obligation to return it. Again, this emphasizes why the IRS must move to revoke Scientology’s tax exemption.

The bad faith, lies, greed, hostility, and malice the Church of Scientology continually exhibits towards its own members is contained in the series of dirty contracts Scientologists must sign at every step of their journey up the falsely named “Bridge to Total Freedom.”

Bottom Line: No one should ever sign any contract with the Church of Scientology — and no one should ever donate money to this already wealthy and dishonest organization.

There is no Bridge to Total Freedom in Scientology.

There is only a Bridge to Total Slavery and Ruination.


Judge Whittemore’s Ruling in Garcia:

Garcia-v-Scientology-Order-denying-Garcia-motion

Palm Beach Post: Scientologists ‘committed fraud upon the court’ West Palm lawyer claims


Rivenbark/Maurice

Palm Beach Post staff writer Jane Musgrave just released a story stating that Luis and Rocio Garcia’s attorney Ted Babbitt has asked Federal judge James Whittemore to declare the Church of Scientology’s arbitration process to be a fraud upon the court. This move on the part of the Garcia’s is electrifying as it goes to the very core of Scientology’s notorious bad faith financial dealings with its own parishioners and former parishioners. Musgrave writes in her article:

In court papers filed in U.S. District Court in Tampa, attorney Theodore Babbitt contends the church made no pretense of conducting a fair and impartial hearing on his clients’ claims that it defrauded them out of $465,000 before they became disillusioned with its tactics. He is asking U.S. District Judge James Whittemore to reverse his decision to allow the Garcias’ lawsuit to be decided by Scientologists in arbitration and instead order that it be decided in a court of law.

“The arbitration was a mockery that no judge should countenance,” Babbitt wrote.

While he suspected the arbitration – the first ever conducted by the church – would be tantamount to “a kangaroo court,” the reality was far worse, he said.

The Garcia’s challenge to Scientology’s first-ever arbitration will be widely watched by former members who have been defrauded by the Church of Scientology — and particularly for advanced payments on services that were never delievered.

Update: Please see Tony Ortega’s article on the Garcia case.

We at the Scientology Money Project consider Scientology’s predatory practice of taking money in advance — and then refusing to refund that money when a person decides to no longer practice Scientology — crosses the line from civil fraud into conspiracy and criminal racketeering. It is our hope that Scientology’s top executives and lawyers will one day be charged in a RICO action. We consider that these people are criminals hiding behind religion. By L. Ron Hubbard’s own definition a criminal is someone who wants something for nothing:

First consider a group which takes in money but does not deliver anything in exchange. This is called rip-off. It is the “exchange” condition of robbers, tax men, governments and other criminal elements. — L. Ron Hubbard – HCO PL 10 Sep 82

The Church of Scientology is criminal in this practice per the definition of its own Founder.

One the four contracts all Scientologists must sign is called the “Religious Services Enrollment Application, Agreement, and General Release.” In this contract, one gives up the legal right to sue the Church of Scientology or to have a lawyer represent them in any dispute with Scientology. One also surrenders the right to a refund of any donations they have made to the organization. (For more details see our article DOX: How Scientology ensnares the unsuspecting in a series of binding contracts). Excerpt:

Here is the dirty Scientology contract at the heart of the dispute; hover your mouse over the document to invoke the controls that will appear at the bottom of the document:

Scientology.Religious.Enrollment.Contract

The new Garcia legal filings:

Garcia-vs-Scientology-Motion-to-Vacate
Garcia-vs-Scientology-Affidavit-of-Luis-Garcia
Garcia-vs-Scientology-Garcia-Suppressive-Declare