Scientology contracts

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

 

 

 

DOX: How Scientology ensnares the unsuspecting in a series of binding contracts

trap-e1432275170433

(Note: This article was originally published on Tony Ortega’s Underground Bunker and is republished here for archival purposes)

How do good people get trapped in something like Scientology? One way is through the series of unconscionable legal contracts the Church of Scientology uses to strip its members of their civil and legal rights. As revealed in its own documents, Scientology is designed to ensnare its members legally, and as soon as practically possible. Contracts are the legal backbone of the “Prison of Belief.”

The public doesn’t know about this malicious series of Scientology contracts. New Scientologists are never informed, advised, or counseled in advance about the potential adverse legal consequences they could face as a result of signing these contracts. These contracts are one-sided and give the Church all of the power while taking away power from individual members.

The first thing a new Scientologist must do is watch an introductory video. Simply entitled “Orientation,” the film serves as the legal basis for the first contract all new Scientologists must sign. The essence of this contract is that a new member agrees that he or she considers Scientology to be a religion. This contract is called “Attestation of Religious Belief Regarding the Scientology Religious Film called Orientation.” Excerpt:

Trapped1

We have seen recently in the Luis and Rocio Garcia fraud lawsuit against the Church of Scientology how useful such a declaration can be. In that case, the Garcias never got a chance to have their claims of fraud heard before a jury because the judge felt it would infringe on Scientology’s religious rights. When the Garcias objected that they never granted that Scientology was a religion, Whittemore pointed to statements made by Luis in deposition which showed that he had, at one time, considered Scientology a religion. Statements like that matter, and Scientology knows it. So it wants a new member on the record — this is church, not self-help.

The second contract the new Scientologist 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.

Trapped2

The third contract a new Scientologist signs is called Agreement Regarding Confidential Religious Files. In this particular contract a Scientologist forever signs away all their rights to ever read, inspect, review, or own their preclear folders. Excerpt:

Trapped3

Although Scientologists pay the Church of Scientology hundreds of thousands dollars to go up the Bridge, no Scientologist may ever read, inspect, review, or own their preclear folders. The Church owns these folders forever. When a member leaves the Church and speaks out, OSA typically breaks the contract by culling a person’s preclear folders to look for dirt on that person in an attempt to shudder them into silence. Failing this, OSA uses materials from folders in its hate websites.

The fourth standard contract a Scientologist signs is called “Agreement and General Assistance Regarding Spiritual Assistance.” Shockingly, this is Scientology’s infamous “Kidnap Contract” which allows the Church to take any of its members and lock them up for an indefinite duration of time — and this without the kidnapped member having the benefit of any legal representation, legal hearing, medical evaluation, or medical intervention. All a Scientology “case supervisor” has to say is that a member has gone Type III. After this pronouncement, the member is bodily seized, locked up, and held against their will. This is exactly what happened to Lisa McPherson.

Lisa McPherson died while being held captive in Scientology’s Introspection Rundown. In the contract excerpt below, the Scientologist agrees to not sue the Church for any injuries or damage — and this release contemplates death — that might or could occur when one is being held as a religious prisoner in the Introspection Rundown. Excerpt:

Trapped5

Scientologists must sign onerous contracts all the way up the Bridge to Total Freedom. For example, Scientology OT’s sign a contract wherein they agree to pay a $100,000 fine — falsely called a reimbursement — if they ever publicly disclose anything from the secret OT levels.

10. Parishioner acknowledges and agrees that the continuing harm to FSO, to all other churches of Scientology and affiliated organizations that would result from his/her breach of any of the provisions of this Agreement, including but not limited to Parishioner’s unauthorized use or disclosure, of all or in any part, of the Advanced Technology or the information, materials or works comprising it, would not be readily compensable monetarily and would hence constitute irreparable harm. Therefore, Parishioner hereby consents to the entry of temporary, preliminary and permanent injunctive relief against Parishioner should Parishioner breach or threaten to breach any of the terms of this Agreement, without requiring the enforcing party to post a bond or make any undertaking as a condition of such relief except to the extent an undertaking may, under applicable law, be required, in which event Parishioner recognizes that an undertaking of $10,000 shall be adequate to cover any economic interest (including Parishioner’s attorneys’ fees). In addition, Parishioner acknowledges and agrees that not only would it be extremely difficult to determine or calculate the actual monetary damages resulting from his/her breach of any of the provisions of this Agreement, but that FSO and/or its licensor will be required to incur significant legal fees and costs to protect and preserve the Advanced Technology, as it is scripturally and contractually bound to do. As such, Parishioner agrees to reimburse FSO and/or its licensor, for FSO’s or its licensor’s legal fees for each such breach by Parishioner. Further, Parishioner agrees to pay FSO and its licensor the total amount of $100,000 for each such breach by Parishioner.

As covered previously by Tony Ortega at the Underground Bunker, all Sea Org and Scientology staff members have been made to sign a new non-disparagement agreement that prevents them from speaking out if they ever leave. The contract screams this in caps that could have been written by David Miscavige himself:

3. I therefore agree that in exchange for the opportunity to serve on the Church’s staff and to receive the benefits available to all staff members, including the right to receive Scientology religious auditing and training to forward my own spiritual growth, I swear to forever use the full extent of my ability to uphold my obligations under this Religious Covenant of Non-Disparagement (“Non-Disparagement Covenant”). I will never do less. Accordingly, I PROMISE AND SWEAR NEVER TO SAY OR ENCOURAGE OR INDUCE OTHERS TO SAY OR WRITE ANYTHING NEGATIVE OR DISPARAGING ABOUT L. RON HUBBARD (“LRH”), THE CHURCH, CSI, RTC OR ANY OTHER CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY OR THEIR STAFF, OFFICERS, DIRECTORS OR TRUSTEES, IN WHATEVER CAPACITY, OR ABOUT THE RELIGIOUS PRACTICES, MATERIALS, TECHNOLOGY AND SERVICES OF THE SCIENTOLOGY RELIGION. I UNDERSTAND AND AGREE THAT THIS NON-DISPARAGEMENT COVENANT APPLIES NOT JUST WHILE I AM SERVING ON THE CHURCH’S STAFF BUT ALSO IN PERPETUITY, SHOULD I EVER LEAVE STAFF.

The Scientology non-disparagement contract calls for an offending Sea Org or Staff member to pay the Church $25,000 in liquidated damages per breach:

B. In addition to anything else a court may require me to do for violating this Non-Disparagement Covenant, that I shall pay the Church $25,000 as liquidated damages (and not as a penalty) for each individual violation of this Non-Disparagement Covenant and/or for each individual instance of causing, participating in, cooperating with or encouraging the publication or broadcast of information that results in a violation of this Non-Disparagement Covenant. I understand that it is difficult to ascertain the exact extent of damage and harm a violation would cause the Church, but I acknowledge that $25,000 is fair and reasonable.

The Church of Scientology’s contracts serve to make “donations” nonrefundable, subject all disputes to internal binding arbitration, and act to protect the Church’s legal interests while obliterating the legal rights and protections of Scientologists. None of this is surprising coming as it does from a “Church” that was legally designed by lawyers to fend off lawsuits, discovery, and trials to the greatest degree possible.