By JOSEPH MALLIA
Date of Publication:3/2/981
A Church of Scientology school in Milton is enrolling large numbers of children from middle-class and professional black families in what critics say is part of the church’s nationwide plan to recruit minorities.
Officials at Delphi Academy do not tell parents that the school is part of the Church of Scientology, and that they are trying to recruit blacks for Scientology’s costly programs.
Yet they do admit that all staff members are Scientologists and they use Scientology materials.
A Herald review of the school has found that Delphi Academy:
Used precisely the same “Study Tech” as the Boston Church of Scientology on Beacon Street, where the methods are considered religious scriptures.
Sent up to 10 percent of each child’s tuition money to the Association for Better Living and Education, a Scientology organization in Los Angeles, according to its federal tax returns.
Got “referral” income of 10 percent to 15 percent of any Scientology course or book bought by a Delphi Academy parent, according to the school’s federal tax returns and ex-members of the church.
Has used an “E-Meter” – a device like a lie detector that measures emotional reactions – on Delphi children, according to a former student, Sabriya Dublin of Jamaica Plain. The E-Meter – the same device used by the church in counseling- sends a mild electric current through the child’s body, with fluctuations in a gauge showing emotional reactions, as a child answers questions while holding a shiny metal tube in each hand. A former Delphi student from Oregon, however, said the E-Meter was not used at his school.
Created a Delphi Parents Association so parents could pay for playground repairs and two new computers through fund-raising events – while Delphi made royalty payments to Scientology’s ABLE organization.
Promoted Scientology outside the school. Delphi’s headmistress, Ellen Garrison, helped establish a Scientology tutoring program for ninth-grade teachers at the Randolph Public Schools, said former Scientology church spokeswoman Kit Finn.
And a “Homework Club” sent older Delphi students to teach Scientology methods at the Tucker Elementary School, a Milton public school, a Delphi official said.
Attracted so many students in recent years that the school, in a converted gatehouse off a quiet stretch of Blue Hill Avenue, had to build two new classrooms. School spokeswoman Joanne List said most of the new students were black.
Critics of Scientology say the real motive of Delphi is to increase church membership, and make money by selling high-priced Scientology courses to parents, according to Priscilla Coates, an anti-cult activist in Los Angeles.
One parent, Harvard Dental School instructor Dr. E. Leo Whitworth, had just such an experience with Delphi Academy.
Whitworth said his son, L.V., was taught basic Church of Scientology methods like Study Technology during the four years he was enrolled at Delphi Academy.
The dentist said he did not learn that Delphi was linked to Scientology until after his son was enrolled, and then they recruited him for a variety of programs at the Church of Scientology on Beacon Street in Boston.
“I took two courses at the church,” Whitworth said. “It cost in the hundreds. They wanted me as a member. And they did try to get my wife. She started a course but she didn’t finish,” the dentist said.
During a vacation in California, Whitworth visited the offices of Sterling Management, a for-profit business linked to the Church of Scientology. There, Scientologists tried to sell him a dental office management program, Whitworth said.
“They were trying to get me to use their business techniques,” he said, but he didn’t like the program and it was too expensive. “It was too much like car salesman techniques. It cost a lot – around $ 10,000.”
Whitworth, who is also a Northeastern University trustee, said he knew of “several” non-Scientologist parents who enrolled their children in Delphi Academy and later became members of the church.
In retrospect, he said, Delphi Academy appears to be deceptive.
“I would rather they did say, up front, that they are part of Scientology. There are certain ways they could be more open,” he said. He also warned parents who enroll their children at Delphi to “be aware there are other aspects to it – the Scientology.”
Whitworth’s son, now 15, asked to be taken out of Delphi, the father said. “He didn’t want to stay there anymore. He was just uncomfortable.”
Several other black parents, however, said they were pleased with how well their children were learning at the school. And Delphi officials say students got high marks on the annual California Acheivement Tests.
New students to the $ 6,200-a-year school are recruited for Delphi and its summer camp by word of mouth, and through bulk mailings that do not mention Scientology. The school first opened in Belmont in 1980 under the name Apple School.
The 1,000-student network of Delphi academies in Oregon, Florida, California – and Milton – has recruited unsuspecting families for many years, Coates said.
But the interest in black citizens is new, because Scientology has few non-white members, she said. “They are looking for new niches for people and money,” Coates said.
A Herald reporter visited the 104-student Milton school twice, and found that the majority of its younger students are black. It enrolls children ages 3-13.
Parents who have enrolled their children at the school include professionals like Brockton obstetrician Dr. Dawna Jones and government workers like Barbara Hamilton, youth activities aide to Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino.
Dr. Jones did not return calls seeking comment, but Hamilton said her son is doing well at Delphi.
“I would say he’s just generally improved,” including better reading skills, Hamilton said.
Other black, non-Scientologist parents include a top manager at Lexington-based Stride Rite Corp., an investment analyst, a nurse, a Massachusetts state trooper, Boston police officers, computer executives at Digital Equipment Corp. and Lotus Development, and an MBTA welder, according to Delphi officials.
Several other black parents are medical doctors, one owns a Roxbury air-conditioning company, one is a Christian minister, while another is a Catholic religious education director, Delphi officials said.
“The Scientology thing, that was one thing I had to clear up. At first I didn’t know it was a religious school, and I wasn’t looking for a religious school,” said Lee Jensen, a Massachusetts Water Resources Authority official, who enrolled her daughter, Nicole, at Delphi. “I told them, ‘I need to know exactly what you’re teaching my child, because you have her for nine hours a day.’ ”
Not every parent is middle-class, and Delphi gives no financial aid or scholarships, so some parents just scrape by, said List. “We have a lot of single mothers who eat peanut butter sandwiches, and don’t drive fancy cars,” she said.
The school does not require its students to convert to Scientology, said former student Sabriya Dublin, who said she attended the school for eight years.
The founder of the Delphi Academy schools, Alan Larson, said in an interview from Oregon that they succeed because they require every child to learn everything – without exception – before moving on to the next task.
And the Rev. Heber C. Jentzsch, president of the Church of Scientology International, said Delphi students’ Scholastic Aptitude Tests are “400 points above the national average.”
But Dennis Erlich, a former Scientology trainer in California, said his two daughters had to spend two years in remedial math and English courses after he transferred them to public school from a Scientology-run school, where he said instruction was poor.
Another church defector, Robert Vaughn Young, said Scientology’s leaders do not care about traditional education. They only care about getting people to buy Scientology courses, he said.
By JOSEPH MALLIA
Date of Publication:3/2/981
The Church of Scientology has targeted black families in Massachusetts with a learn-to-read program that critics say is just a rehash of old methods that leans heavily on the church’s religious teachings.
The learn-to-read program – the World Literacy Crusade – is part of a nationwide effort by the church to entice blacks into Scientology and then convince them to take other, expensive programs, according to critics and former members of the church.
A Herald review has found that Scientologists have:
- Targeted a literacy campaign at inner-city Boston programs for minority children, including Red Sox slugger Mo Vaughn’s Youth Development Program, the Roxbury YMCA and the Roxbury Youth Works.
- Attracted dozens of middle class and professional black families to Delphi Academy in Milton. This Scientology-run school uses E-Meters – devices akin to lie detectors – on children, according to a former Delphi student.
- Taught Scientology methods to ninth-grade teachers at Randolph High School – which has many black students – after persuading headmaster James E. Watson that their techniques work.
- Taught Scientology’s study techniques to Boston Public Schools students at Brighton High School through teacher Gerald Mazzarella, who is also a church member.
- Created 26 World Literacy Crusade programs – in Boston, New York, Los Angeles, Denver, Miami, Memphis, Tenn., and a host of other U.S. cities in the wake of the 1992 Los Angeles riots.
- Gained the endorsements of prominent local blacks such as Georgette Watson, co-founder of Drop-A-Dime and former anti-drug aide to Gov. William F. Weld.
Scientologists say the literacy campaign is nonreligious, and thereforedoesn’t violate laws separating church and state.
But critics say the church plays fast and loose with definitions, calling identical programs “religious” in one context and “secular” in another.
Church documents and books show that Scientology clearly identifies Study Technology as a religious practice. It is taught at the church’s local headquarters on Beacon Street in Boston in the $600 Student Hat program, as a first step into church membership.
This learn-to-read “technology” – or Study Tech as the church calls it – teaches children to distrust their own intelligence and rely passively on what the church teaches, said high-ranking church defector Robert Vaughn Young.
“Study Tech is an extremely dangerous technique,” Young said. “Critical thinking? There is no critical thinking. Criticism is the part that is not allowed,” said Young, who once directed Scientology’s worldwide public relations effort.
The Rev. Heber C. Jentzsch, president of the Church of Scientology International, denied that black children or families are being recruited through the literacy program.
“We’ve found that African-American families are as interested as everyone else in what works . . .. They might not necessarily join the church but the quality of their lives has been improved by it,” he said.
Scientologists say the literacy techniques offer the only way to end gang violence, teen pregnancy and other inner-city problems. “I think parents are being driven to find answers. They want their kids to be educated, for heaven’s sake. God bless the World Literacy Crusade,” Jentzsch said.
He said Scientology’s study techniques are so effective they raised his own IQ by 34 points, and helped his children read far above their grade levels.
The Herald asked Harvard University literacy expert Victoria Purcell-Gates to assess the World Literacy Crusade’s learn-to-read book, the “Basic Study Manual,” written by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard. “This is all `old stuff,’ and has been taught in the schools for at least 30 years (probably more) now,” the Harvard professor wrote in an assessment for the Herald.
“Basically, there is nothing new in this text that is not known by reading/study specialists at a very basic level,” she added. “The only thing really `different’ is that Mr. Hubbard has renamed basic concepts to fit into his overall scheme of things.”
Steve Hassan of Cambridge, a cult deprogrammer, warned that the way Scientologists use the book, in one-on-one tutorials, is a first step toward hypnotic mind control. And the literacy materials are the same as church scriptures – except the schoolbooks leave out the word “Scientology,” Hassan said.
For example, the “Basic Study Manual” teaches children about the Scientology practice of “disconnecting” – used to separate new recruits from non-Scientologists, including parents. ” `Experts,’ `advisers,’ `friends,’ `families’ . . . indulge in all manner of interpretations and even outright lies to seem wise or expert,” the manual says.
The manual also promotes Scientology’s anti-psychology agenda, linking psychology to German fascism and saying psychotherapists reduce humans to the level of animals.
Scientology spokesman Bernard Percy, however, defended the World Literacy Crusade, saying it has no harmful agenda, and that its study principles can turn a child’s life around. For example, Percy said, the program requires children to look up in a dictionary each and every unfamiliar word – and that becomes a lifelong habit with tremendous benefits.
Scientologists also claim the literacy campaign is not controlled by the Church of Scientology – so they are not breaking the laws prohibiting religion in the schools.
But that is a false claim, because the campaign is funded and directed by the Church of Scientology, Hassan said.
Although local Scientologists deny that the World Literacy Crusade is directed by the Church of Scientology, anyone who uses L. Ron Hubbard’s name, or his trademarked Study Technology techniques, is strictly controlled by licensing contracts with Scientology groups in Los Angeles, in particular the Religious Technology Center, according to Young and church materials obtained by the Herald.
The World Literacy Crusade’s independence from Scientology is a “fiction,” Young said.
A World Literacy Crusade videotape, viewed by the Herald, clearly states that it has a licensing agreement with RTC – Scientology’s most powerful organization – allowing it to use L. Ron Hubbard’s name.
Also, Scientologists get a 10 percent to 35 percent commission on any church course bought by someone they recruit through the literacy programs, according to Church of Scientology documents dated last month.
Once Scientology attracts a new recruit, its staff applies skillful, high-pressure sales tactics, Hassan said. Members must pay more than $300,000 in “fixed donations” – or barter their full-time labor – to achieve complete salvation.
When the Mo Vaughn group or another agency buys Scientology’s literacy books – which cost about $35 each – most of the money goes to several Scientology organizations in Los Angeles: Bridge Publications, the church’s in-house publisher; Author Services Inc., Scientology’s literary agency; and RTC, which owns the rights to the trademarked name L. Ron Hubbard. Also, church members sometimes get government funding.
Scientologists got a federal grant for the literacy program in Memphis, former church spokeswoman Kit Finn said.
Federal money was also spent in Boston on Scientology materials, said Gerald Mazzarella, a Scientologist who teaches at Brighton High School. Mazzarella told the Herald he used part of a $5,000 federal grant to buy Scientology textbooks and checklists during the 1980s, which he then used at Brighton High.
Boston’s kickoff of Scientology’s literacy program was an April 22, 1995, reception at Roxbury Community College.
The guest of honor was Isaac Hayes, the first black musician ever to win an Academy Award.
The “Shaft” composer impressed a few prominent local blacks – including James E. Watson, the Randolph Junior/Senior High School headmaster. “It obviously helps kids improve their learning. It seemed to be a positive,” Watson said.
Watson toured Delphi Academy in Milton about three years ago, then asked the school’s headmistress, Ellen Garrison, to begin teaching Study Technology to his ninth-grade teachers at the Randolph school in December.
“It’s at its infancy stage, and what it would cost isn’t clear yet,” the headmaster said at the time. Watson, who has been praised for easing racial tensions in Randolph, recently said there is no longer any connection between the two schools.
The head of a youth program founded by one of Boston’s most-admired black athletes was also interested.
“I think they’re right on when they say illiteracy is a problem that leads to other problems,” said Roosevelt Smith, executive director of the Mo Vaughn Youth Development Program.
“We contracted with the World Literacy Crusade to bring seven kids up to speed,” Smith said. Five of the children, who were 13-16 years old, improved their reading ability using the “Basic Study Manual,” he said.
Most of the stuff is free. They only asked us to pay for books and materials,” Smith said.
Mo Vaughn himself knew about the Scientologists’ program, but “he hasn’t met with them directly,” Smith said.
But the Scientology religion “is not a part of what we’re doing,” Smith said. “I don’t think the kids even know what Scientology is.”
Roxbury Youth Works, however, allowed World Literacy Crusade workers to tutor teenagers there three years ago, but had second thoughts after learning more about the group’s links to Scientology, said Roxbury Youth Works administrator Dave Wideman.
“We as an organization were a little apprehensive. It seems like they were trying to recruit people,” Wideman said. “The target group was the particular population we serve, predominantly young black men and women.”
But if the Randolph High School literacy program succeeds, Scientologists hope to teach the same “tech” in Boston classrooms, said Finn, the Scientologist.
“That’s definitely the plan,” Finn said. “It’s like Mr. Watson. Somebody has to be bright enough to want it.”
Virtually every top Scientology official is white, according to ex-members and photographs of church leaders. But the new literacy campaign shows Scientology wants to attract blacks and Hispanics, said Priscilla Coates, formerly of the Cult Awareness Network in Los Angeles – an anti-cult group that was bankrupted by Scientology lawsuits and then taken over by the church.
Any non-Scientologist youth who is taught Study Technology is ripe for recruitment, Coates said. “The child has a possibility of becoming a Scientologist,” she said.
Elsewhere in the United States, the World Literacy Crusade has installed its programs at a New York City police athletic league, a Los Angeles probation department, and the Tampa (Fla.) Housing Authority. Other programs are in Washington, D.C., Denver, and throughout California.
In Memphis, Tenn., public officials were angered to learn that the World Literacy Crusade had run a pilot program – with federal grant money – for 75 students in a public school building, without getting a needed permit and without disclosing its ties to Scientology. The church was not allowed to use the school facilities again.
In the inner-city Los Angeles neighborhood of Compton, more than 700 black children, including gang members, participated in the World Literacy Crusade and the program saved their lives by giving them an alternative to street life, Jentzsch said.
“If you know what the statistics are in Compton, (it is) just miraculous,” Jentzsch said. “I’ve seen kids from the Crips and the Bloods sitting there working with other kids to get them educated.”
Larry Campbell brought his daughter to the Scientologists at the Roxbury YMCA because she was having reading problems in a public school outside Boston, which he would not name.
“I brought my daughter here because these guys help,” Campbell said. The father acknowledged that he also enrolled himself in the literacy program, to improve his reading skills.
“This is what the public schools should be doing,” the father said. “It should be attended to not next year but now.”
So for two hours on Tuesday and Thursday nights, and each Saturday morning, Campbell, a deacon at St. John’s Missionary Baptist Church in Roxbury, brought his elementary school aged daughter to a neon-lit YMCA room furnished with an old sofa, two foldout tables and a stack of plastic chairs.
There, she and other black children were coached in Scientology’s study methods by church members Simaen Skolfield and Cliff Dufresne.
During one session observed by a Herald reporter, neither tutor had a spontaneous conversation with a child, but read from a script.
Dufresne, who dropped out of Boston College Law School to work on the literacy program, helped Doug Walker, a pupil at the William Monroe Trotter Elementary School in Dorchester.
Doug Walker’s mother said the school wanted to solve her son’s problems by giving him medication such as Ritalin, Dufresne said. But, he added, the mother wanted to try drug-free Scientology lessons first.
Meanwhile Skolfield, a bearded British emigre, helped Tanzania Campbell – whose ambition is to be a schoolteacher in Atlantic City, N.J. – with a Study Technology lesson.
Campbell and others at the Roxbury YMCA literacy program were expected to pay nothing at first. “Not yet,” Dufresne said.
But Dufresne hopes his students will, in turn, teach their friends the Scientology techniques. “That’s the whole idea. They learn this and then they circle back and teach somebody else. Because there’s not enough of us,” he said.
Scientology literacy sessions are no longer allowed at the Roxbury YMCA, after officials there learned that the program is associated with the church.
But, an official at Dennison House in Dorchester said Dufresne met with house representatives last year and Dennison House invited World Literacy Crusade workers to come in as tutors. The tutoring has not yet started.
By JOSEPH MALLIA
Date of Publication:3/1/98 1
MIT student Carlos Covarrubias had signed a contract to serve the Church of Scientology for the next billion years – in effect, pledging his eternal soul.
Now two Scientologists were helping him stuff underwear and socks into a suitcase at his Back Bay fraternity house while others sat outside on Beacon Street in a car with its engine running.
They were preparing to take the 19-year-old to Logan Airport, and from there to the church’s Los Angeles headquarters.
“His parents were coming up from Florida to save him, so the Scientologists were rushing to get him out of here,” said Marcus Ottaviano, president of the Pi Lambda Phi fraternity, recalling the May 1995 events.
Covarrubias’s interest in the church was first piqued by “Dianetics,” the Scientology book advertised on late-night TV and at national events like the Boston Marathon.
It wasn’t long before Covarrubias began skipping his MIT classes to spend the day studying at the church, Scientology’s four-story stone building on Beacon Street, a block from the Charles River and next door to his fraternity.
The church recruiters befriended him, promising that one day he would become “clear” – with a perfect memory and a higher IQ. Covarrubias paid for the Purification Rundown, a $ 1,200 detoxification program that required him to drink vegetable oil, take vitamin megadoses, and sweat in a sauna for several hours a day.
He also took a course that required him to talk to inanimate objects like dolls and ashtrays. “You had an ashtray, and you’d say, ‘Stand up.’ You’d lift it up and say, ‘Thank you.’ And then you’d say, ‘Sit down,’ and ‘Thank you.’ You’d try to have the intention for it to move on its own,” Covarrubias said.
Altogether, he paid about $ 2,000 to the Church of Scientology. But they wanted more.
“They asked me about student loans, bank loans, and they asked me, ‘What’s the limit on your credit cards? What’s your overdraft protection?’ “Covarrubias said. “They said, ‘There’s always a way to get money.’ ”
It is just such tactics that cause critics to call the church – founded in 1953 – a cult and a money-grabbing machine that separates thousands of ordinary church members like Covarrubias from their free will and their money.
It is also just such tactics that have the church in the midst of an international and highly public feud with the German government – which steadfastly refuses to grant Scientology the tax-exempt status of a religion – a status the church holds in this country.
While high-profile celebrity members, including John Travolta, Tom Cruise, Kirstie Alley, Chick Corea, Lisa Marie Presley and others, earn goodwill for the church, ex-members and critics say there is a dark underside to Scientology.
Some of that underside was allegedly laid bare in the 1995 death in Clearwater, Fla., of church member Lisa McPherson, 36, according to Florida state police, who recommended in December that Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney Bernie McCabe bring criminal charges against the church. The county medical examiner said she died of a blood clot due to dehydration, after being denied water for at least her last five to 10 days.
The church says McPherson died accidentally of a pulmonary embolism and denies that its members caused the death.
McPherson’s family filed a wrongful-death suit against the Church of Scientology last year, saying she wanted to leave the church but was held against her will during a 17-day church “retreat.”
Former insiders told the Herald that the Church of Scientology is a wealthy and powerful organization strictly controlled by its reclusive leaders at the Religious Technology Center in California.
In 1993 – the last year the church had to declare its income for federal tax purposes – it had $ 398 million in assets and took in $ 300 million a year. It claims to have 8 million members, though opponents put that number at only 200,000 or so – with about 40,000 in the United States.
In Massachusetts, there are several groups – an Everett drug-rehab office, a Brighton literacy program, private schools in Milton and Somerville and an anti-psychiatry group in Boston – that deny they are controlled by the Church of Scientology.
The groups share a primary goal with all other Scientology organizations, critics say: To recruit for the church and sell its programs.
But the president of the Church of Scientology International, the Rev. Heber Jentzsch, objected in a telephone interview from Los Angeles to allegations of abuse or deception.
Church members are sincerely motivated to bring happiness to mankind, Jentzsch said. They work in prisons and among the poor to eradicate gang violence, teen pregnancy and drug abuse, he said.
Scientology is thriving in 115 countries, Jentzsch said, despite the venom of what he said were only a few critics. It thrives, he said, because “it is the path to total freedom.”
And Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard’s books and lectures are popular, selling more than 140 million copies – including more than 17 million copies of “Dianetics” – in 34 languages, Jentzsch said.
Long before Hubbard died in 1986, he was accused of creating the Church of Scientology only to make money. His lectures and writings – totaling more than 100,000 pages – still generate millions of dollars in income every year. That stream of money is now controlled by Hubbard’s heir, Religious Technology Center board chairman David Miscavige, 37, who has worked for the church since he was a teenager.
Jentzsch said Scientology is attacked – as Mormonism was in its early years – because it is a new religion with a unique and vital message. “A person who is a Scientologist – he wakes up,” he said.
Local Scientologists recruit on college campuses in Boston and on the street.
A favorite spot is outside the front door of the Boston Architectural Center at Newbury and Hereford streets, where church recruiters regularly hand out free tickets for “personality and IQ tests” at the “Hubbard Dianetics Foundation.” The tickets – “a $ 30 value” – list the address and telephone number but not the name of the Church of Scientology at 448 Beacon St.
And for several months there was an outpost in Watertown’s Arsenal Mall where a vendor’s cart offered free stress tests on an an “Electropsychometer” or “E-Meter” – a kind of lie detector used for Scientology training.
Potential members are routed to the Beacon Street church where high-pressure “registrars” sell costly church programs.
In the church’s vocabulary, the recruiter is a “body router,” and potential converts are “wogs” or “raw meat.”
An offer of a free personality test enticed Reem Rahim, 31, who said in a Herald interview that she was recruited to Scientology in 1991.
New to Boston, unhappy with her job as an immunology researcher at Children’s Hospital, Rahim accepted when a man on the street offered the church’s personality test.
Within six weeks she had paid the Boston church $ 82,000 for Scientology courses – money from an insurance settlement she got after nearly losing her legs in a 1987 car accident. Church salespeople promised Scientology would give Rahim happiness and advanced mental powers, including the ability to remove from her legs the scars caused by the auto accident, she said.
Rahim’s family helped her leave Scientology. And she later got all her money refunded, but not before she hired lawyers who threatened to sue the church for fraud.
“I used to feel sorry for them, because there were some nice people there. Now I feel angry with the whole organization. What a bunch of creeps – stealing money from people,” Rahim recalled.
Another Boston resident, John Wall, was recruited when he found a Yellow Pages “career counseling” listing for the Scientology group Hubbard Dianetics Research Foundation, according to a fraud complaint he filed against the church on Dec. 8, 1992, in Suffolk County Superior Court.
“The personality test is the gimmick routinely used by Scientology missions, orgs (organizations) and front groups . . . (to) identify the emotional sore spots of the targets for recruitment,” said the lawyers for Wall, who was recruited soon after graduating from college.
In a little more than two years, Wall claimed, he gave $ 17,000 to the church but never got career counseling.
“He was bombarded with contacts” from Scientologists pressuring him to take more courses, Wall’s lawyers said in the court documents. “He was told that Scientology was every bit a scientific discipline as physics or chemistry,” they said.
“Defendants continued to utilize mind control techniques which pervade Scientology pursuant to the boast of (L. Ron) Hubbard, the founder of Scientology,” Wall’s lawyers said in the documents, and then quoted Hubbard as saying: ” ‘We know more about psychiatry than psychiatrists. We can brainwash faster than the Russians.’ ”
After buying courses for 18 months from the Beacon Street church, Wall became a full-time Scientologist and moved to Los Angeles in October 1990.
Seven months after moving to California, Wall quit Scientology. He settled his lawsuit in 1993, and could not be reached for comment.
Skillful techniques induce even highly educated people like Wall, Covarrubias and Rahim to join groups like the Church of Scientology, said Steve Hassan of Cambridge, author of the book “Combatting Cult Mind Control.” Hassan was hired by Rahim’s family to help persuade her to leave Scientology.
Scientology is clearly a destructive cult, said Hassan, who has established a new local resource center to educate people about coercive religions.
“This group is unlike legitimate religions which tell what their beliefs and practices are in the beginning,” said Hassan, 43,a one-time member of the Unification Church.
“Scientology systematically deceives, hypnotizes, indoctrinates and exploits people for its own purposes,” he said.
First, Scientologists find a new recruit’s “ruin” – the thing that bothers him or her the most, according to Hassan, court documents and former members.
Then they promise to fix it, said former members who sued the church for fraud.
Whether the problem is psychosis or cancer, illiteracy or insanity – or legs scarred from an auto accident – Scientology is the answer. That’s the enticement offered to new recruits by church salespeople who are paid a 10 percent to 35 percent commission on every course they sell, defectors said.
Covarrubias, Rahim and Wall spent far less than the $ 300,000-plus cost of completing Scientology’s “Bridge to Total Freedom.”
Former Scientologist Gloria Neumeyer of Glendale, Calif., who owns a solar heating company, told the Herald she spent $ 200,000 for herself and another $300,000 for family members and employees to take Scientology courses.
“I donated $ 500,000 to Scientology. I was the kind (of recruit) who had money and paid for everything,” said Neumeyer, a former Lexington resident who left the church in 1991 and then decided to expose what she says are the church’s destructive practices.
Scientology counseling can create a feeling of well-being or even ecstasy, and that can become addictive, according to cult experts. It can also be expensive, costing up to $ 520 an hour, they said.
For the money, Scientologists are promised extraordinary powers – like controlling the weather and flying without their bodies, according to critics and former members.
Scientologists “claim with confidence that trillions of years ago they knew each other on other planets, that they had the power to see at submicroscopic levels and leave their bodies at will,” said Jim Siegelman and Flo Conway, authors of “Snapping,” a book on personality change in cults.
Like all Scientology churches worldwide, the Boston organization is required to send a percentage of its income to top church groups in California, which own all rights to the use of L. Ron Hubbard’s name, said Robert Vaughn Young, a former high-ranking Scientology official.
Many of Scientology’s more idealistic members sign billion-year contracts with the Sea Organization, the church’s quasi-military corps based in Clearwater, Fla.
Dressed in blue mock-Navy uniforms with gold braid and ribbons, it was two Sea Org officers who visited Boston and convinced Covarrubias that he should wear the same nautical garb while learning to save the world.
Even today, the church still considers Covarrubias a member, because his billion-year contract is irrevocable.
His friends and family disagree.
When his Pi Lambda Phi brothers saw Covarrubias become more and more immersed in Scientology, they alerted his parents in North Palm Beach, Fla.
Using the Internet, they found ex-Scientologists who volunteered to meet Covarrubias face-to-face.
The defectors told Covarrubias that he would sink more and more deeply under the mental control of the church, completely cut off from family and non-Scientology friends.
Meanwhile, on that day in May 1995, his parents’ plane was approaching Boston. The church had learned – from Covarrubias during a counseling session – of the plot to rescue him. That’s when the Scientologists came into the Pi Lambda Phi house to help Covarrubias pack his suitcase, Ottaviano said.
But before the Scientologists could take Covarrubias to Los Angeles, his friends blocked the frat house door, Ottaviano said.
“The only reason they didn’t leave that second is that there were 40 of us and two of them,” he recalled.
After Covarrubias was safe with his parents, the Pi Lambda Phi wanted to alert other college students. So they picketed the church next door.
“All the neighbors came out to support us. We were joined by a common enemy – we all hated Scientology,” Ottaviano said.
After a year with his family in Florida, Covarrubias felt strong enough to come back to Boston, rejoin the fraternity and re-enroll at MIT. He is scheduled to graduate with a philosophy degree this spring. Raised Catholic, he has a deep interest in spiritual matters.
But he said he does not consider Scientology a spiritual group.
“It’s an organization. Any other word, like religion, doesn’t seem to fit. It’s not a religion because they don’t ask for faith,” he said. “I would actually call it a cult.”
Comments? Questions? Mail us: email@example.com
Church of Scientology International
Office of the President
November 5, 1994
Assistant Commissioner (Employee
Plans and Exempt Organizations)
Internal Revenue Service
1111 Constitution AVe., N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20224
Re: FACTNET, Inc.1
I have written to you previously in February 19942 and again in August 1994 concerning “Fight Against Coercive Tactics Network (“FACTNET”) describing the purposes and activities of this group and demonstrating that the application for tax exemption that they filed — and which was granted by the Service in August 1994 — was fraudulent. I will not repeat the information set forth in those letters but attach copies, (without exhibits) here for your reference. (Exhibits 1 & 2). I am writing this letter to bring to your attention additional evidence concerning FACTNET that has come up since my last letter.
In my earlier letters I described the close relationship between FACTNET and the Cult Awareness Network (“CAN”), an anti-religion hate group that serves as a referral service for deprogrammers, and evidence that FACTNET itself was carrying out similar referral services. Further evidence has been brought to light of these two organizations working together and carrying out similar functions.
FACTNET’s former president, Gerald Armstrong, testified in the last two weeks that in November 1993, shortly after FACTNET was formed, its founder, Larry Wollersheim, gave a demonstration of the FACTNET system to the Executive Director of CAN, Cynthia Kisser and other CAN principles. FACTNET and CAN use very similar language for.describing what they do and similar euphemisms for promoting their deprogrammer referral network. A recent computerized advertisement by FACTNET promoted via the Internet system, says that they can connect up anyone who contacts them to
6331 HOLLYWOOD BOULEVARD, SUITE 1200, LOS ANGELES, CA 90028-6329
TELEPHONE (213) 960-3500 FAX (213) 960-3508 / 960-3509
“an assortment of key mental health professionals, clergy, attorneys, support groups, ex-members, and organizations who work with victims and families of this group.” (Exhibit 3) Compare this to a recently promotional piece for CAN that describes who they are as “. . . mental health professionals, lawyers, physicians, legislators, clergy, law enforcement officers and educators” and in the`next paragraph admits that “CAN recognizes the need for voluntary exit counseling/deprogramming . . ..”
Exhibit 4 FACTNET and CAN are working together and FACTNET appears to be taking part in the deprogrammer referral business.
Recent additional evidence of the extent of CAN’s involvement in deprogramming demonstrates what such referrals actually mean.
A declaration from the manager of a Bed and Breakfast house in Albany, Ohio (“The Albany House”) situated near the Wellspring Retreat and Rehabilitation Center, (run by CAN Board member Paul Martin), states that between 1988 and 1993, about 20 different families who stayed at The Albany House said they were having a family member deprogrammed at Wellspring. Members of about 10 of these families stated that their adult child had been kidnapped during the deprogramming upon the advice of CAN. Exhibit 5
Similarly, in a deposition of CAN’s Office Manager, Marty Butz, he admitted that he had given 500 referrals to deprogrammers since he started working at CAN in 1989, including referrals to deprogrammers like Rick Ross known for using force and violence. Exhibit 6 As demonstrated above, FACTNET is also part of this network, working with CAN in its deprogramming referral activities.
That FACTNET is playing an active role in deprogramming is further demonstrated by the fact that its president, Jon Atack, who lives .in the United Kingdom, is himself a deprogrammer, specializing in attempts to deprogram Scientologists. He has been paid tens of thousands of dollars over the years for such services. As described in my August 1994 letter, Atack has also exported FACTNET’s operation to the United Kingdom and has attempted to spread its activities into other parts of Europe by forming a “Counter-Scientology Europe” network. Among other things he has done through this group, he has attempted to incite opposition to the Church’s application for religious recognition with the United Kingdom Charity Commission and has disseminated to the Charity Commission some of the same false information put out by FACTNET.
Atack is also a litigant against the Church in the UK and thus personally interested in causing the Church as much trouble as he can. Recently, however, the suit that Atack filed against the Church was dismissed for lack of merit. The Church was
awarded costs, which Atack has refused to pay. The Church is taking the necessary collection actions.
My earlier letters briefed you on the kinds of scurrilous and defamatory information that FACTNET has put out about Scientology and the plans of its founder, Larry Wollersheim, to sell this information and otherwise solicit “tax deductible” contributions to fund harassive litigation against Scientology. Recent evidence shows that this is exactly what FACTNET is doing.
One of the major sources of the false information disseminated by FACNET has been Steven Fishman, who was previously convicted for obstruction of justice for falsely trying to implicate the Church in his crimes as a way of deflecting guilt from himself. It didn’t work and he went to jail. Fishman is currently under investigation again by the Probation Department for involvement in a new round of fraudulent schemes and violating his parole by associating with felons.
Fishman recently sought legal representation from an attorney in North Hollywood for a “malicious prosecution” case against the Church of Scientology he wishes to bring. In making this request for representation, Fishman repeated many of the same blatantly false allegations against Scientology that have been promoted by FACTNET. Included in these is the scurrilous allegation that the tragic suicide of David Miscavige’s mother-in-law was actually a murder for which Mr. Micavige may be charged. Fishman also represented that with respect to the funding of this proposed litigation, funds may be forthcoming from FACTNET, a tax-exempt organization headquartered in Golden, Colorado, to help cover the costs of the suit. This shows FACTNET’s funds being earmarked for harassive litigation against the Church, which is not a tax exempt purpose. Exhibit 7
Attorney Graham Berry, who earlier paid about $20,000 to FACTNET for false information (which Berry proceeded to file in court in the Fishman case) attempted to get Senator Chafee of Rhode Island to connect up with FACTNET so as to get Senator Chafee’s assistance in getting the tax exempt status of the Church of Scientology revoked.
Last week, FACTNET’s Systems Op, Bob Penny, posted a letter from Graham Berry in which Berry solicited data which could support his false allegation about the confidentiality of the advanced levels of Scientology religious services. Even though Berry stated that his letter was to be kept confidential, FACTNET posted it broadly on its computer system asking people to send information about Scientology confidential advanced levels to Larry Wollersheim clearly for the purpose of supporting private litigation. This is not an activity that should be supported by tax exempt contributions. Tab 8
My letters in February and August 1994 showed that FACTNET does not qualify for tax exemption, that its exemption application was a sham and should have been more than ample to result in revocation of its tax exempt status. The additional evidence provided here demonstrates that FACTNET is operating in the non-exempt manner described in those earlier letters.
Please contact me if I can provide any other information.
[signed] Heber Jentzsch
Church of Scientology
Church of Scientology International
Office of the President1
February 24, 1994
Assistant Commissioner (EP/EO)
[Employee Plans/Exempt Organization]
Internal Revenue Service
1111 Constitution Ave., N.W.
Washington D.C. 20224
Re: F.A.C.T.Net, Inc.
Information has come to my attention concerning an organization which is either in the process of seeking tax exemption under section 501(c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code, or shortly will be seeking such exemption. As the organization is located in Golden, Colorado, its application should have been, or shortly will be, filed with the Dallas IRS District.
This organization, “Fight Against Coercive Tactics Network” or “F.A.C.T.Net, Inc.” (“FACTNET”), puts up a thin veneer of charitable and educational purposes to disguise its true purpose: to serve as a vehicle for certain individuals with a fanatical hatred of the Scientology religion to carry out a malicious smear campaign against members of the Scientology religion. This organization i5 closely affiliated with the Cult Awareness Network (“CAN”) which I have written to you about previously.
The purpose of this letter is to provide you with information which must be taken into consideration when reviewing any application by FACTNET for tax exemption.
FACTNET was originally incorporated an .July 7, 1993 as “FACT,” and changed its name to “FACTNET” on December 14, 1993. Its articles of incorporation state that the corporation “is organized exclusively for charitable, educational and scientific purposes ….” (Exhibit A) The articles also state that “the corporation shall not carry on any other activities not permitted to be carried on (a) by a corporation exempt from federal income tax under section 501(c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code …. ” However, FACTNET’s true activities bear no relationship to any of
February 24, 1994
the purposes permitted under section 501(c) (3). FACTNET was founded by two former Scientologists, Gerry Armstrong and Larry Wollersheim, who have been zealots against the Scientology religion for many years. Their actions were described in the Church’s November 1992 submission to former Assistant Commissioner EP/EO, John Burke. (See pages 10-36 through 10-47 on Armstrong; pages 10-49 through 10-51 on Wollersheim.) Armstrong was earlier involved in a scheme to forge documents and get them planted on Church premises as part of a plot to overthrow Church management. More recently, he has been quoted in the press expressing his opposition to the use of currency as the basis for the economy, as the self-proclaimed founder of the “Organization of United Renunciants.” (Exhibit B) Wollersheim is similarly delusional. He once accused the IRS of being in league with other federal agencies which are running Scientology as an intelligence experiment, and which would temporarily “rough up” the Church to help maintain its “cover.” (Exhibit C)
Armstrong’s and Wollersheim’s conspiracy to attack the Scientology religion through FACTNET is a direct violation of a preliminary injunction entered on May 28, 1992 which enjoins “Gerald Armstrong, his agents, and persons acting in concert or conspiracy with him” from, among other things:
“Voluntarily assisting any person (not a governmental organ or entity) intending to make, intending to press, intending to arbitrate, or intending to litigate a claim against [various organizations and individuals affiliated with the Scientology religion as specified in the preliminary injunction].
“Voluntarily assisting any person (not a governmental organ or entity) arbitrating or litigating a claim against [various organizations and individuals affiliated with the Scientology religion as specified in the preliminary injunction].”
I am attaching a copy of a brochure published by FACTNET which was mailed broadly to members of the Church. One of the avowed purposes of this mailing is “to assist ongoing civil or criminal litigation…” which places the mailing squarely within the terms of the preliminary injunction. Indeed, a version of this brochure has already been filed in and has been used as a central part of the defense in litigation in which Church of Scientology International is a party. Moreover, Larry
February 24, 1994
Wollersheim has been in constant litigation with the Church since 1979. There is no doubt that Wollersheim’s significant financial interest in his own litigation against the Church is a major, if not the primary, motivating factor behind his attacks on the Church through FACTNET.
A reading of the entire FACTNET mailing reveals that it is a thinly disguised attempt to foment litigation against the Church of Scientology with a plethora of false, sensational allegations.
FACTNET describes itself in this mailing as a ” nonaligned, nonprofit, research and educational public service consisting of an electronic lending library, electronic mail service, and electronic news transfer service.” (Exhibit D) Yet the text of this brochure is rife with false and malicious claims, revealing the true purposes and activities of the organization. As I advised you in earlier correspondence regarding CAN, that organization’s original application for tax exemption was denied because the Service found that CAN was not an “educational” organization because it did not provide a full and fair exposition of the facts. Following its review of CAN’s literature the Service stated .”a significant portion of your viewpoints are not supported by relevant facts … and disparaging statements about organizations and individuals … were based on unsupported opinions or incomplete facts. Your publications did not present a sufficiently full and fair exposition of the pertinent facts as to permit an individual or the public to form an independent opinion or conclusion.” FACTNET’s literature presents the same picture. FACTNET is not an “educational” organization. Its literature does not present the fair exposition of the facts required by 501(c) (3).
For example, it contains the absurd contention that in order to obtain tax exemption for the Churches of Scientology, Mr. David Miscavige had to admit to criminal conduct on the part of Mr. L. Ron Hubbard. You know for yourself that nothing could be further from the truth. That’s just the beginning.
The mailing purports to solicit information concerning a list of 112 individuals who were allegedly murdered, ordered to commit suicide, had nervous breakdowns or threatened suicide as a result of their affiliation with the Church of Scientology — an unbelievable pack of lies which could not be further from the truth. Scientologists have never been associated with murder and are well known for a very anti-suicidal stance.
The fact of mailing this document, in and of itself, is
February 24, 1994
outrageous, clearly designed to upset and cause suffering to members of the Scientology religion on a broad scale. It is as if an arm of the Ku Klux Klan culled the obituary notices for Jewish names and then sent a mailing to synagogue members asking if they had any information regarding the mysterious deaths of those people, claiming their deaths resulted from their affiliation with the Jewish faith. This mailing is as charitable and educational as spray-painting swastikas on synagogue walls.
Maligning a religion by listing the alleged deaths of a number of its members over a 40-year period is grotesque. Moreover, of the 112 items on the list, 60 do not describe deaths at all. Six of the people listed are listed twice and 20 of the listings do not even identify the person allegedly involved by name, using instead such statements as “an individual (name unknown)” or “a man in LA.” At least seven of the items on their face indicate death by natural causes.
A closer examination of the allegations in this brochure shows that they consist of the worst form of attack by falsehood and innuendo. FACTNET’s allegations are designed to hold the Church, its leaders and its parishioners in the worst possible light and have forced the Church to consume a tremendous amount of time and energy in an effort to discover the truth behind them in order to defend ourselves. This information is precisely the kind of “disparaging statements about organizations and individuals … based on unsupported opinions or incomplete facts” that led the Service to initially deny exemption to CAN. The following are a few examples:
a. Exemplifying the unsupportable and malicious nature of FACTNET’s assault on the Church and on senior Scientologists is the implication of wrongdoing by Mr. Miscavige in the death of his mother-in-law, Mary Florence Barnett. This is a pernicious effort to exploit a family tragedy and shows that FACTNET’s principals have absolutely no sense of decency. As reflected in the medical examiner’s records and sworn testimony (which FACTNET has), Ms. Barnett was despondent after failing to fully recover from a brain operation when she took her own life. There was no argument between them as claimed. In fact, Mr. Miscavige had not been in communication with his mother-in-law for some years prior to her tragic death, his only involvement in the matter was consoling his grief-stricken wife.
February 24, 1994
b. Under the heading of “other deaths while an individual was associated with Scientology” is the name John Peterson. Mr. Peterson was an attorney for the Church who died of a heart attack while at his home. Apparently the only reason Mr. Peterson is on this list is because he represented the Church. Yet, FACTNET has placed his name in the context of a “chilling story,” “coverups” and “calamities.”
c. One falsehood which has long since been discredited is the fabricated claim by one Steven Fishman that he was ordered to commit suicide by the Church. He made such a claim following his arrest on charges of mail fraud to which he ultimately pleaded guilty and served a federal prison term. While FACTNET reports this suicide claim as factual, Fishman was convicted on a charge of obstruction of justice for perpetrating this very lie, a crime for which he was also sentenced to prison, along with the underlying mail fraud charges.
d. And on a personal level, the FACTNET allegation that is particularly offensive to me is the false charge that my wife, Yvonne Jentzsch, was denied medical treatment and was allegedly induced to commit suicide due to problems she was supposedly having with me and with Mr: Hubbard. There is not one word of truth to these claims. My wife was suddenly stricken with what appeared to be a stroke. After performing several tests at hospitals on both coasts, it was finally discovered that she was suffering from a form of cancer, which at the time of her death in Morton Plant Hospital in Florida, was medically untreatable. I stayed by her side to the very end and she died in my arms. She was loved by a great many Scientologists, including and especially by Mr. Hubbard. FACTNET’s implications concerning the circumstances of her death are a perfidious and vile assault on her good name, mine and Mr. Hubbard’s.
The above are only a few examples. The rest of the brochure is similarly rife with lies. The Church only became aware of the existence of FACTNET and its malicious campaign of slander and innuendo when several Church members reported receiving this brochure in the mail and it became necessary to respond to these scurrilous accusations. This involved having to search out the individuals named in the brochure, some of whom were never even Scientologists and some of whom were impossible to identify from
February 24, 1994
the limited information provided by FACTNET. The results of this search so far prove that the brochure is a compendium of false allegations, generalities and innuendo. The tactic of calling it a.”questionnaire” which is part of an “investigation” is a transparent attempt to conceal its true purpose — to defame and malign the Scientology religion and its members and spread turmoil and upset among Church membership.
Needless to say, individuals who were named in this list whom we have contacted were appalled to learn that this false and malicious information was being circulated widely without their knowledge or consent. The purpose of distributing such a vicious and libellous mailing could not possibly be “educational” or “charitable.” It is nothing more than hate propaganda.
The motives of FACTNET also show through the veneer in the kind of information being solicited from subscribers. For example: “How might we locate or contact the parents or non-Scientology families of the senior Scn executives?” What other purpose could it have for soliciting this information other than to terrorize and harass the families of Church leaders?
FACTNET attempts to cloak its hate-mongering by using pseudo-scientific terminology such as “coercive persuasion.” Such “theories,” supported by Margaret Singer and others, have been utterly rejected by the courts (U.S. v. Fishman, 743 F.Supp. 713, 717 (N.D.Cal 1990)), and have been disclaimed by the American Psychological Association and the American Sociological Association.
The primary purpose of FACTNET is to attack the Scientology religion and the Church’s members. Any doubt of this fact is put to rest with a letter dated January 20, 1994 from Lawrence Wollersheim on behalf of the organization to the County Property Tax Department in Clearwater, Florida. Based on the IRS’s recognition of tax-exempt status to Church of Scientology Flag Service Organization, settlement was recently reached with the county property tax officials regarding that Church’s qualification for property tax exemption. Having gotten wind of this favorable settlement, Wollersheim wrote to the county officials imploring them not to go through with the settlement and stating that FACTNET “shortly … will have all 12,000 pages of the IRS ruling scanned into our searchable computer data base” for the purpose of using former members of the Church “and possibly several former high ranking IRS officials” to re-examine “this data base for fraud in Scientology’s application.”
February 24, 1994
The county officials were obviously not too impressed with Wollersheim’s offer, as the settlement is now complete with the Church recognized as exempt with respect to most of its properties.
And the latest turn of events, an attempted extortion of the Church by Los Angeles attorney Graham Berry, claiming to represent Wollersheim and his cronies, proves the real intent of this scam. Berry demanded tens of millions of dollars from the Church to prevent further dissemination of this material in civil litigation and to government agencies, including the IRS, while admitting it was intended solely to create “PR problems” and to harass the Church into paying money.
As a front group for CAN, another of FACTNET’s nefarious purposes is to serve as a referral service for deprogrammers. “Deprogramming” is a process in which bigoted or mercenary individuals use force and coercion to dissuade a person from his religious beliefs. It very often involves kidnapping and holding the person against his will and acts of violence as part of the process. FACTNET’s articles of incorporation state, “Our sixth purpose is to support the networking and subject related efforts of individuals or organizations for whom having, sharing, and using this information on coercive psychological influence technology is critical to stopping, recovering from, helping others recover from, or preventing abuse in this area.” This psycho-babble is meant to conceal another aspect of FACTNET’s activities. “Helping others to recover” from alleged psychological influence is merely a euphemism for assisting deprogrammers to violate the rights of members of religions by criminally seizing them and attempting to change their beliefs through coercion. This is done for large fees, and I have no doubts that FACTNET intends to use its computerized bulletin board as a computerized referral network for deprogrammers in exchange for the referral fees.
Neither the pursuit of an extortion scheme nor religious bigotry are educational or charitable activities.
As set forth in my recent letter to you concerning CAN, there is strong evidence that FACTNET is simply a “high tech” appendage to CAN and its deprogramming-for-hire referral service. That letter set forth numerous examples of CAN-influenced deprogrammers having been arrested for kidnapping, assault and other crimes in connection with these activities. Galen Kelly, CAN’s security chief for many years, for example, was convicted and sentenced to 7 1/2 years in prison in March of 1993 for
February 24, 1994
kidnapping in connection with a deprogramming attempt by him in May of 1992. CAN’s involvement in that deprogramming was well documented in the evidence of the case.
CAN’s relationship with FACTNET is also well- established. For example, provision four of FACTNET’s Articles of Incorporation, regarding the distribution of assets on
dissolution, states as follows:
“Assets will be divided equally between Cult Awareness Network, 2421 W. Pratt St., Suite 1173, Chicago, IL 60021 and American Family Foundation, P.O. Box 336, Weston, MA 02193.” (Exhibit A)
In addition to demonstrating FACTNET’s close association with CAN, this dissolution clause also fails to meet the organizational test under section 501(c) (3), as there is no guarantee that either CAN or American Family Foundation (another hate group also affiliated with CAN) will continue to qualify for exemption. Indeed, as demonstrated by my letters to you concerning CAN, it does not qualify for exemption.
Additionally, CAN and FACTNET share a common board member, Kent Burtner, a long-time opponent of new religions.
Lawrence Wollersheim, one of FACTNET’s founders, attended CAN’s annual convention in November 1993. While there, he promoted the computerized bulletin board service offered by FACTNET for $1000 per applicant.. Additionally, CAN Board member Paul Martin promoted FACT in the speech he gave at the convention, encouraging CAN members to support it. Wollersheim has a long history of shady money-making schemes and this time has combined making money directly with his vendetta against Scientology. These are not exempt purposes or activities.
FACTNET does not qualify for tax exemption. It is seeking to use 501(c) (3) status to have the government in effect fund its campaign of hate and bigotry through tax exempt contributions. Its application for tax exemption should be rejected.
Please let me know if I can provide additional information in connection with these matters.
February 24, 1994
Thank you very much for your consideration.
Heber C. Jentzsch