Given the recent refusal of a Scientology spokesman to discuss the basis of Church’s beliefs, we are unlikely to get much of a response on the conviction this week of the Church for fraud in Paris. The court convicted the Church and fined it more than 600,000 euros ($900,000). However, the court stopped short in banning the group entirely as demanded by the government.
Six Scientology leaders were convicted of fraud in a case that looked at the Church’s long controversial methods of getting followers to contribute increasing amounts of money. It also found that the Church engaged in “commercial harassment” of recruits.
Prosecutors wanted a ban and even larger fine, but the Court said that the Church would likely continue to operate outside of the law if banned.
Scientology spokeswoman Agnes Bron called the verdict “an Inquisition of modern times.” He might have said it is a modern version of being tied to a volcano and blown up with H-Bombs by a galactic warlord — but that is precisely what Scientology spokesmen decline to discuss on principle, here.
In the case, prior followers alleged that they were systematically bilked through escalating charges for “purification packages” and other material.
What will be interesting is how this case impacts the ongoing efforts to ban the Church as a cult or a criminal enterprise in some countries. In the very least, it is likely to inspire other such lawsuits in the future. Recent cases include an allegation that the Church is hampering a criminal investigation in Australia, here.