The following comes from a July 18 story in New York’s Village Voice.
Laura DeCrescenzo had just got out of a two-and-a-half-hour deposition with attorneys for the Church of Scientology when I talked to her on the telephone yesterday at her home in Albuquerque.
All told, over the three years she’s been suing Scientology for the way she was treated as a young Sea Org employee — including, she alleges, being forced to have an abortion at 17 so she could keep working extreme hours without interruption — she’s been deposed a total of four and a half days.
“The depositions are awful,” she says. “It sets me on fire so I want to keep fighting, but it’s also so exhausting.”
Just keeping up with what’s happened to her lawsuit since she first filed it in 2009 has also been exhausting — the case has been to state and federal courts, to a state appeals court, and now back to a state trial judge, and it’s still a year from an actual trial date. And, as our legal expert Scott Pilutik tells us, DeCrescenzo still has serious hurdles to overcome to even reach that jury trial. But a year ago, Pilutik explained to us that the consequences of this single case are enormous for Scientology, which helps explain why the church is fighting it so hard.
If Laura DeCrescenzo can get her story heard in court, the result could be devastating.
Those of us who have been watching the progress of her case were somewhat caught off guard, however, when a couple of tabloid websites yesterday proclaimed that DeCrescenzo’s lawsuit was somehow new and also “exclusive” breaking news, neither of which are true.
“Yeah, that was really strange,” Laura says. But even if her case isn’t new, it’s still a remarkable one that’s worth wider coverage.
But here’s the thing about that coverage: it really should explain that DeCrescenzo’s experience has been as much about the way Scientology litigates a case as the horrors her lawsuit is alleging.
It’s stomach-turning to hear about DeCrescenzo’s life as a young Sea Org member, working under extreme conditions, and then forced to terminate a pregnancy or risk losing her job, her husband, her family.
But it’s just as frustrating to learn that the reason she’s had such trouble in court is that she says Scientology spent years intimidating her with even more threats to her well-being should she dare go against the church, and then had the audacity to argue in court that it was DeCrescenzo’s fault that she didn’t file her lawsuit sooner.
That’s what is really at the center of the DeCrescenzo legal odyssey, and why she was being interrogated by five representatives from the church yesterday.
“They’re still focusing on the statute of limitations,” she says. “They’re trying to discredit me.”
Poring over thousands of documents from her time as a church employee, the attorneys were trying to build a case, DeCrescenzo says, that the documents showed that she had actual “successes” as a Scientologist, and had not expressed the kind of emotional distress that she’s alleging in the lawsuit.
“Honestly, I was totally brainwashed and thought I was bettering myself,” she says. And if she didn’t show much emotion then, it was because a key part of Scientology is training members to banish it from their lives.
But now she knows better.
Also, she says, she constantly has to battle the church attorneys during the depositions over terminology. “They’re always trying to put words in my mouth.”
When she gave an answer about having a forced abortion, for example, she says one of the church attorneys began his next question by saying, “So, when you made the decision to have an abortion rather than leave…”
“I had to stop him. ‘No, I was forced to have an abortion.’ So we ended up going back and forth arguing about that,” she says.
“I think my case is too unbelievable for most people to grasp,” she adds. “It’s almost too unbelievable for me. The fact that I started in the Sea Org at 12 and all that happened, it’s just incredible.”
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Not unbelievable at all. When I first settled in to ucdavis summer ’66, I roomed in a frat house which was open to any student during the summer months. The dorm room was large like a barracks and had many bunkbeds. One of the others there was a Scientologist. Bright kid, and a couple years later I ran into him one night at a local Davis dance hall. He was living and working on Hubbard’s main yacht in the Mediterranean. A year or so after that I enrolled in the entry Scientology course in town. After it was over, I tried to get my $50 fee back but the manager lied and that was that. Yet more, especially for max’ ears: the following year I rented a small duplex room adjoining the back yard of a house where Scientologists lived. My kitchen window looked on to their backyard swimming pool. One day after glancing out, I immediately then phoned up all the dudes I knew to come quickly and take a look. Two or three of them arrived within minutes. Two Scientology girls were swimming totally nude in the pool, despite a gaggle of ganders practically falling out the window observing them. Well, so far normal, ok, max? Weeks later one late saturday night, I walked into the kitchen and looked out the window to see where the rock music was coming from … through their sliding glass door off the patio, there were two young men dancing nude with each other … not holding each other but pirouetting and flitting around each other totally naked. That is my observation of Scientology. But one day years later on a job I had, I delivered a package to their HQ in Hollywood; the place was as friendly as Hell, and they had patrols of mean looking Dobermans wandering around. There are good Dobies and Scientology Dobies. There also is a Scientology facility that I one time drove through inadvertanly out by San Jacinto … it occupies both sides of the highway there. These freeks were so stiff and robotic like para-military as to be a Marine Corps drill instructor’s worst nightmare. Scientology is a dark religion.
JLS wow you sure lived an adventurous life. Your story sounded better than those James bond movies, especially because it shows how you made it through the wilderness and came to the real faith!
america is full of zany non-catholic cults.
we have more religions in this country that carter has liver pills!
Do they still make Carter’s little liver pills, Max? Maybe our younger readers need to have an explanation. Actually, I take milk thistle for a healthy liver..I wonder if that’s what is in those little pills? hmmm.
max, not to be outdone, the Catholic Church also full of zany non-Catholic cults and religions.
Any one who knows about Scientology knows, or should know by now, that they’re all about MIND CONTROL in service to their, unfortunately, evil agenda. And that’s mainly because Scentology’s founder, the science-fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard, was into MANY shady and wicked things, including the satanic. More later. God bless all, Markrite
Laura DeCrescenzo was a child victim of Scientology’s evil practice of total mind control. Hopefully Laura’s story and all of the negative publicity from the recent escapees like Katie Holmes will help many leave or avoid the very frightening danger of looking into the cult of Scientology.
Laura DeCrescenzo said, “I think my case is too unbelievable for most people to grasp.” Well, Rod Serling of The Twilight Zone surely grasped how these controls worked when he wrote a specific narrative for one of his terrifying episodes. Since Scientology preys upon the weaknesses of wealthy vulnerable victims from Hollywood, maybe the currently imprisoned inmates who are not even aware of their own imprisonment will relate to this warning narrative that was written by one of their own. This fellow movie character is the late Rod Serling. May God bless the parents of both of these women for helping them to open their eyes to escape. Congratulations Laura Decrescenzo and Katie Holmes! You had entered but you have stepped out of experiencing a long terrifying episode of the Twilight Zone.
“The tools of conquest do not necessarily come with bombs and explosions and fallout. There are weapons that are simple thoughts, attitudes, prejudices to be found only in the minds. For the record, prejudices can kill, and suspicion can destroy, and the thoughtless frightened search for a scapegoat has a fallout of its own; for the children and the children yet unborn, and the pity of it is that these things cannot be confined to THE TWILIGHT ZONE.”…Rod Serling
I don’t know much about this cult. I do know is that they have a book and they tried getting me to read it and was even invited to their meeting one time. I recall driving to go to their meeting, to help me gain control of my will power, so they said or something like that. I remember driving to their place. As I was about to enter their place, I got this spooky feeling and something was telling me to run and leave. So I did. I also remember in the mid 1990’s, we knew of a chorus singer from our Catholic church whom also attended Scientology church, she was in their choir too. I couldn’t believe that a Catholic would attend their church too and ours. I never bothered to ask her why, I was young and naive.
That something that was telling you to run and leave was God through your own Guardian Angel!
I once dated a Startlet actress who was into Scientology, and she was one mixed up gal. When I think of her, I pray for her.
God bless, yours in Their Hearts,
Kenneth M. Fisher
Thank you Mr. Fisher, I agree, I thank God for my Guardian Angel. God bless you for being a good gentleman!
Scientology is a dangerous cult. It’s leaders are bullies and tyrants. They exercise full control over nearly every facet of life involving those unfortunate enough to become embroiled in their evil cult. The only way to successfully counter their baneful influence and power would be to remove their protected status as a ‘religion,’ – which they are not, confiscate all their property and real estate, freeze all their bank accounts, and arrest and charge their leaders with fraud, The entire organisation should be outlawed and its leaders banished. They don’t have what it takes to die for their faith in an old fool like Ron Hubbard. They aren’t exactly ‘martyr’ material. Hubbard himself aborted his own children with coat hangers, according to his own son.
I feel that now is a good time for the Christian community to start asking more questions about scientology’s relationship with Christianity. Their cross logo is a good place to start. They call it ‘an 8 point cross’ and have 8 meanings associated with it. Critics of scientology tend to call it ‘the crossed out cross’ and indeed that is what it often looks like when displayed by scientology. When people raise the question, scientologists generally go on the offensive, stating that the cross is an ancient religious symbol and is not a particularly Christian one.
HOWEVER, the cross in its many ancient symbol forms has EQUAL LENGTH ARMS, symbolising balance. All crosses except the scientology cross with one bar longer than the rest are some form of Christian cross.
The scientology cross is based on the so-called Latin cross. If you go into many Catholic or Episcopal (Anglican) churches you will find the ‘scientology’ cross on at least one altar as it is a form of the Latin cross which evokes the resurrection of Jesus Christ – the cross in glory. I understand that Hubbard got the idea from a cross he found near an abandoned Jesuit mission in I think Arizona.
So the scientology cross is not ‘like’ a Christian cross it ‘is’ a Christian cross. If the Christians were as fussy about copyright as the Church of Scientology is then they would have ample evidence going back hundreds of years that scientology pinched the actual form of their cross from Christianity.
It makes me uncomfortable, therefore, when scientology volunteer ministers go into Catholic countries like Haiti (80% of the population) wearing their logo in a highly visible way. It would perhaps be more honest to have a caveat printed adjacent to it saying that scientology does not have any affiliation with the Christian church.
But more importantly Christians need to start looking into the occult origins of scientology which may provide a darker significance of their appropriation of the Christian cross.
I’ve always thought it strange that Tom Cruise married two Catholic women! What were they thinking? That is an interesting point, Jane about the darker significance (like witchcraft or satanic imitation). And Catherine, thanks for the Rod Serling quote! I used to love that show, and can remember some of them to this day…like the one where a young woman is driving across country and she witnesses a car crash and she calls home, and her mother says “Who is this?? Who could be so cruel as to call me like this” and the daughter is all confused and hangs up and continues on her way and keeps encountering the eerie looking man with his thumb out in a hitchhiking jesture. She doesn’t pick him up, but she keeps passing him. Remember that one? I won’t spoil it in case someone watches it for the first time on youtube. I suppose they still play them? Anyway,the quote is so true and not just about cults, but rock bands, and entertainers like those two repulsive blonde women whose names shall not sully my computer keys…but they’re so bizarre and into such kinky evil things. Poor children that get sucked into any of that. I hope that this young woman has a wonderful life from now on and that she seeks cleansing and healing in a good church so that she can’t fall back into something like that again. What was her family doing all that time? I wondered about Katie Homes family, who are practicing Catholics from Toledo? They surely must have tried to talk her out of it…but Cruise is awfully rich and handsome. Sorry, but I think he’s just gorgeous. I must be so shallow! What a waste for him, a man that was once a Catholic, to be so into something utterly negative and scary. The only people who come to my door like that are Jehovah’s witnesses and they’re just so humorless and sad. The poor children can’t even have cookies at birthday parties at school. And imagine no Christmas stockings or new clothes at Easter? Actually, I have many stories of mormons when I was living in Oregon, but I hate to say anything now that we must vote for one for president or have obama for another four years. Wow! How did we get to this point?
dear JANE, thank you for this very informative piece.
i had never heard of the “scientology cross” but just googled it and can see what you mean: this is the sort of symbol one might encounter on any catholic vestment, protestant altar, etc.
one interesting thing about another odd group, the MORMONS, is that they don’t wear a cross, nor do they put one on top of their buildings. the mormons who serve as military chaplains HAVE to wear a cross, but they don’t like it, and would prefer to wear a pin with the angel moroni, but the military won’t allow it.
“All crosses except the scientology cross with one bar longer than the rest are some form of Christian cross.” just FYI, some genuine christian crosses have the bars of an equal length, such as the greek cross, the new coptic cross, and the macedonian cross.
I find it troubling that so many Catholics have become involved in the Scientology cult.
You are so right its a damn tragedy
Wow! Four and a half days of depositions would indeed be exhausting. I have found a couple of hours of depositions exhausting. Pray for her, all the forces of Hell will be against her.
God bless, yours in Their Hearts,
Kenneth M. Fisher
I had a coworker whose boyfriend’s sister was a Scientologist. My coworker told me that she was trying to get her to join Scientology as well because they could help her with her emotional difficulties. This woman, by the way, had been married 7 times in the church of Scientology so it was puzzling to both of us how she thought that they could be helpful. Fast forward a few years. Another friend of mine was struggling with interpersonal problems. He was taken in by L. Ron Hubbard’s commercials and decided to read every one of his books. Well, with that he was hooked. He quit his job and went to work for slave wages just as DeCrescenzo did. He would call me on the phone and try to convince me how great the organization was. Piecing together what I had learned from my former coworker and from what this current friend was telling me, I quickly realized that L. Ron Hubbard had claimed aspects of Cognitive Therapy as his own (although he had another name for it). Furthermore, he was used Cognitive Therapy in conjunction with a type of shock therapy as a means of brainwashing the people who were seeking help. I tried to point this out to my friend but he would hear non of it. Finally, he begged me to go to a large event of theirs in a huge city auditorium. I went hoping to find out more and to gain his trust. The place was filled to capacity. While I was uncomfortable being there, I decided to approach the event as if I was at an event with pro-lifers in order to shake any prejudice that I might have had. I discovered everyone smiling. I’m not sure that I have ever before seen so many smiling faces in one place. What I couldn’t shake though, was this overwhelming realization that all of these “smiling” people were walking corpses. The things I found out about Scientology would make most peoples blood curdle. Their stated goal was to take down all schools of psychology as well as the companies providing psychiatric medications. Twice they said that “racism” was first started by psychiatrist in Nazi Germany! At the end of the program they read from one of L. Ron Hubbard’s books, as a preacher would read from the Bible. They had a large picture of Hubbard displayed above the stage and at the end of the reading, everyone, except myself and a handful of people, stood up and in unison saluted Hubbard’s picture, in a Nazi like fashion, shouting “Hip Hip Hooray! Hip Hip Hooray! After the event, I was able to point out to my friend, who was himself clearly on the way to being brainwashed, some of the absurdities presented that night. While, he did not leave the organization immediately, he did start to accept that what I was saying was true and eventually left. Praise God!
**all of these “smiling” people were walking corpses**: Yep, what I’ve been trying to describe.
Scientology managed to get the Federal Discounts for qualifying as a religion. Since scientology is about money and money only and nothing about religion. The “brainwashing” is true and for quite awhile they focused on college students who would fall for their lies. How the students were ever used to bring money into the “system” I don’t know.
In a post I did this morning, I referred to one of the sinister figures of the twentieth century, L. Ron Hubbard, founder and continual mentor of Scientology, until his death on January 4,1986, re the feaure story done today on “Scientology & forced abortion” Like I mentioned in my earlier post, Hubbard was into “many shady and wicked things, including the satanic.” And he most certainly was. In the book “Strange Angel” by George Pendel, Hubbard is mentioned as a very prominent fixture in the life of one Jack Parsons, one of the founders of JPL in Pasadena, California, for many years a huge employer of those involved in rockets and space exploration. And Parsons himself is surely one of the very bizarre and wicked figures of twentieth century America. For he and Hubbard were heavily involved in what I believe to be part of the “mystery of iniquity” mentioned in the New Testament. There was a collaboration of sorts between the two concerning an incantation they both worked on to bring about the age of antichrist. Like I said, both Hubbard and Parsons were figures in the “mystery of iniquity”, along with THEIR mentor at the time, mid to late ‘forties, Aleister Crowley. Much more later. God bless all, MARKRITE
markite thank you for post. I recall now the book that they were trying to promote to me back in the mid 90’s was one from Ron Hubbard, I recall reading some of it, but it was confusing to me and I didn’t feel right reading it, so I stopped about less than half way through it. I praise God that, like Mr. Fisher has pointed out that it may have been my guardian Angel, something told me to run and not attend their meetings. I’m grateful I did and I praise God for looking out for me. I’m grateful for my guardian Angel or whatever warned me to run and stay away. : )
I’m thankful for this article because it can help unsuspecting Catholics to stay better informed about any cult out there trying to take them away from the truth.