Scientology Sued Again By Former “Sea Org” Member Alleging Abuse and Coerced Abortion

488px-scientology_symbolsvgThe 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.”

For the full story, click here and here.

10 thoughts on “Scientology Sued Again By Former “Sea Org” Member Alleging Abuse and Coerced Abortion”

  1. This is what I was looking for and couldn’t find: It was an interview from Talk of the Nation on Monday. These things all seem to work the same way.

    “Jayanti Tamm grew up fully devoted to the teachings of Guru Sri Chinmoy. In her new memoir, Cartwheels In A Sari, Tamm tells the story of living in the Guru’s inner circle, and her decision to lead a more independent life.

    Tamm’s parents were disciples of the Guru. He arranged their marriage. Not long after, he declared his followers — even those who were married — should be celibate. But then, Tamm’s mother became pregnant.

    The Guru decided the baby born would be his disciple. He chose her name, Jayanti, which means “the absolute victory of the highest Supreme.”

  2. Where are the state authorities? This is just like FLDS. I am so sorry for this young woman. To take advantage of a child or any vunerable person is reprehensible. The techniques she described are used in many situations, including by our govt. on our detainees. They try to break down the person completely. It is incredible that she managed to escape, having been indoctinated and abused at such a very young age.

  3. I read some of the info on that web site, Scientology is a very scary organization and should probably be shut down. Very repressive, disregard for the individual.

  4. This situation is another example of how the law’s deference to religion permits abuses to go unchecked until they become a national scandal. I assume that it’s only a matter of time before Sea Org becomes the newest subject of societal outrage.

  5. You are somewhat correct in your observation that kids live at religious schools and work for their churches.

    However, if you look at these cases a little deeper, you will see that these children are working more than eight hour days, get marginal care and inadequate education.

    They, and their parents are lied to about the conditions inside the Sea Org.

    Happily, Scientology’s own materials refer to Sea Org members as “employees,” so these lawsuits are likely to open floodgates of lawsuits from other members who slaved away for years without decent compensation.

    Scientology is about to die the Death of A Thousand Cuts, as every victim demands their share of compensation.

    And since when does a 10 year old get to sign contracts that are legally binding?

    There is a website by and for children who grew up in Scientology who want to tell their stories.

    Some stories aren’t too bad. The ones where children were turned over to the not-so tender care of the Sea Org are truly disturbing and saddening.

    Scientologists believe that children are just thetans in small bodies. As such, they can be put to work, don’t need nurturing, and are often neglected and abused.

    This is still going on, you know. And for some reason, authorities who’ve been notified still choose to look the other way.

  6. We have yet another case of an organized religion abusing a child.

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