The Church of Scientology has been sued again. This time former “Sea Org” member Laura DeCrescenzo (aka Laura Dieckman) has filed a complaint on April 2, 2009 alleging a long pattern of abuse that began when she was just 10. This is the third such lawsuit filed this year against the organization and alleges breaches of labor laws, infliction of emotional distress, forced abortion, and other grounds.
The complaint alleges that DeCrescenzo became a full-time staff member at 10 and, at 12, she left her parents to move to California to join Scientology’s elite Sea Organization. At that time, she signed Scientology’s famous contract to serve for one billion years. Both her parents were in Scientology and agreed to have her leave to join Sea Org.
She alleges that, while she was told that she could have a family and visit her parents, both promises were violated. Visits were curtailed and she was subject to weird “sec checks” (security checks) upon any return from her family visit to guarantee that she was still loyal. She says that she married another member at 16.
There are some interesting questions raised regarding a child working at that age. However, as a church, it is not uncommon to have kids working in the church or living at church-run school. She claims, however, that she was basically held at the school under tight controls and trained to be a member of the highly secretive Sea Organization. Recently, the church was sued for labor law violationsin January 2009 by Marc and Claire Headley.
She also claims that, at 16, she was coerced into having an abortion because she was told that the baby would be “out-ethics”, a Scientology term meaning “unethical.” Sea Org members are discouraged from having children since it would interfere with their work. She claims that she swallowed bleach in 2004 to get the church to let her go as suicidal.
The summary of the complaint reads as follows:
“Plaintiff started working for a Scientology organization in her hometown at the age of nine. She obtained a work permit and became effectively a full-time employee of Scientology from age 10. At age 12, plaintiff signed her first ‘Contract of Employment.’ She left school, home and family to work for the Church of Scientology International. This required that plaintiff move to another state. She was married to a co-worker at age 16, became pregnant while still a minor and was coerced by CSI to have an abortion at age 17. Plaintiff escaped in 2004 at age 25. For over 13 years, plaintiff worked under illegal conditions and for illegal pay. There are hundreds, probably thousands, of past and present employees of CSI who experienced similar violations of rights, however, most are ignorant of their rights, under the misapprehension they had no rights or surrendered them in various documents they were required to sign, or are afraid to come forward and challenge the dark side of Scientology.”