The suicide of Patrice Vic (31)

Patrice was badgered to come up with more money for Scientology and saw suicide as his only escape

Died 24 March 1988

Part of by Mike Gormez. Visit the message board.


LYON TRIAL French press report 30/9

The trial would not have taken place without the insistence ['volontee'] of Nelly Vic who witnessed the suicide of her husband Patrice on 24th of March 1988. At the time, their children were three and eight years old. [Discussion of Patrice Vic's involvement - same as in article from L'Express posted earlier.] On the 28th of March, accompagnied by Jean-Jacques Mazier, he informed his wife that he'd decided to borrow 30000 FFR for the second stage of his induction into Scientology, a 'purification cure.' Six hours later, he entered his childrens' bedroom, opened the window and leapt to his death. The day after, Nelly Vic filed charges.

LYON TRIAL French press report 1/10

The constant smile of Jean-Jacques Mazier, giving testimony about the suicide of an adherent of the church of scientology marked the first day of the trial in Lyon where 23 scientologists are tried. The 53 years old man is in every way the expected image of a high-ranking official of the sect. In the stand, the former leader of the Lyon org comes across as a softspoken man who frequenctly interrupts his speach with hand/arm movements.

Paris, France 1996
Issue 41
Der Spiegel

His young widow filed a criminal complaint, but it was seven and a half years before the people who first turned the industrial designer into an unapproachable loner with their constantly increasing demands for money and then drove him to suicide with their psycho-terrorism were brought to court. The criminal court hearing took place last week against 22 Scientologists charged with collective fraud and illegally practicing medicine, and against Jean-Jacques Mazier, cult chief at the time, who was also charged with homicide.

LYON TRIAL French Press report 2/10

On the first day of the trila, J-J Mazier presented himself as a "man of the church." Today, his personel has repeated the statements about religious activities in order to push out any questions about methods, about finances and about the international aspects of scientology. All statements centered on their own history as church adherents and left no impression of the possible circumstances in which Patrice Vic would have been driven to suicide.

Scientology: Of Blazing Successes
Le Progres 02 10 1996

Another contradiction, on the subject of the suicide of Patrice Vic. According to Jean-Jacques Mazier, a member cannot begin the purification treatment without his wife's consent, since "It cannot begin with a lie". That did not prevent Jean-Jacques Mazier from explaining that one of the checks destined for the Dianetics center had found its way into his personal account by saying that he he had rendered services to a member who wanted to keep his new religion secret...from his wife.

LYON TRIAL French Press report 3/10

It's written on the badge that the scientologists wear, the're "happy." Tuesday, 23 adherents (the accused, we assume..) told the court how happy they were. [..] Yesterday, former adherents, the civil parties in the case, told of the difficulties involved in leaving, and the dangers ['etre perilleux d'essayer d'en sortir'].

LYON TRIAL French press report 4/10

Thusly, states Jean-Marie Abrall, the young adherent Patrice Vic who was preparing himself for a purification cure, found himself "faced with an impossible choice: his family or scientology." His suicide, according to Dr Bgrall, was inevitable ['ineluctable' ?]. He attributes the problems of kidney, hepatitis and brain of the adherent to a taking of vitamins in high doses. "The disciple poisons himself with his own waste products, his liver and kidney stop working," in the opinion of the expert.

LYON TRIAL French Press report 5/10

A semantic counter-offensive, intended to bestow on scientology the status of a "politically religion treated like an anit-cultural phenomenon." This is the credo of the Italian Massimo Introvigne, founder of the Centre of studies of new religions i Turin [CESNUR]. He is indignated by the "French polemic" on sects. He pleads for a more nuanced view on "new religious movements," he is ironic: "I ask myself if there are really more suicides in scientology than in the French police or amongst Italian religious students?"

LYON TRIAL French Press reports 7/10 8/10

The prosecutor [referred to in Saturday's report as the 'minister de public'] demanded three years of prison ['trois and de prison avec sursis'] and a fine of 500000FFR for the former leader of scientology in Lyon, Jean-Jacques Mazier. J-J Mazier is accused of 'atteinte involontaire a la vie d'atrui' [ which I've translated as manslaughter]. He is accused of bein gthe cuase of the suicide in 1988 of Patrice Vic of an adherent of the sect. The charge should, in the opinion of Mr Richard be altered to 'homocide involontaire' [this could well be the actual charge of manslaughter, i.e. I might have mistranslated; too bad].

LYON TRIAL French Press Report 9/10

The client of Me Leborgne answers to his role in the suicide of Patrice Vic, a 31 year old adherent. His laywer claimed that this accusation was "fabrication ['romanesque']." He attributed the depressed state of this father of two to an unease ['mal-etre'], to an old suffering. According to him, "outside the walls of this courthouse, one can condemn scientology morally, sociologically, religiously, but one cannot condemn them in terms of penal law."

New York Times
22 Nov 96

The founder and former head of the Church of Scientology in Lyons was convicted of fraud and involuntary homicide today in the death of a church member who committed suicide after going heavily into debt to pay the sect for counciling sessions. A French tribunal sentenced the defendant, Jean-Jackues Mazier, to serve 18 months in prison, with an additional 18 months suspended, and fined him $100,000.

Ex-leader of church convicted (12 Scientologists given lesser terms)
Associated Press / 22 November 1996

Last month's trial centered on the March 1988 suicide of Patrice Vic, 31, who jumped from a window to his death. The trial centered around Vic's death, but its scope widened as investigators uncovered evience of financial wrongdoing, and more Scientology officials were charged. Prosecutors said Vic was under pressure from the church to take a $6,000 "purification treatment" including daily sauna treatments and a low-sugar, high-vitamin diet. Vic was subjected to "psychological torture," the court said in its 200-page ruling.

French press report on verdict, Nov 23rd, 1996

The court in Lyon sentenced on friday 15 members of the sect prosecuted after the suicide of an adhenerent in march 1988

On Oct 8th, in the course of a trial lasting seven days, the responsibles in Lyon of the church of scientology heard the public prosecutor demand suspended prison sentences. The criminal court ['Tribunal correctionel'] in Lyon, giving judgement on friday, went further: Jean-Jacques Mazier, accused of 'atteinte involontaire a la liberte autrui' and 'tentative d'escroquerie' was sentenced to 18 months in prison - not suspended - and a further 18 months suspended as well as a fine of 500000FFR (roughly 100000$). 14 other accused were sentenced to between three years and 18 months of prison and fines between 10000 and 50000FFR for 'tentative d'escroqurie, escroqueries, complicitee d'escroquerie et abus de confidences'. Finally, eight other members, mostly in senior positions in the sect - among them Danielle Gounord, national spokesperson - went free.

Time Magazine
January 27, 1997

Nelly Vic said that in early 1988 Patrice was restless and grew distant from her and their two children. The cost of his courses was a source of tension. In May that year, she said, she received a visit from local Scientology president, Jean-Jacques Mazier , suggesting a further course for Patrice at a cost of $6,000. "That evening," Nelly Vic recounted, "my husband was agitated. He kept hyperventilating. Early the next morning, he said: 'I can't help it, it's the only solution'." As their children, then aged 3 and 8, watched, she said, Patrice went to the balcony of their 12th-floor flat and stepped off.

Associated Press
28 July 1997

A French appeals court reduced the sentence Monday for a Church of Scientology leader convicted of involuntary homicide in the suicide of a member... The lower court said in November that Jean-Jacques Mazier had subjected Vic to "psychological torture." He was convicted of both involuntary homicide and fraud and sentenced to a 3-year jail term, with 18 months of it suspended. On Monday, the appeals court said Mazier's sentence was too harsh and suspended his sentence, meaning no jail time. He still must pay a $83,000 fine.

France 3, News, July 28th, 1997

(Attorney LLACER, for the family of the suicided person): I 'm believing that the most important here for the opposing [to scientology] party, is the fact that second degree murder has been recognized, and that also fraud has been recognized.

(Yvette Genosy, president of Lyon's french "CAN", the ADFI): The essential for me is the fact that one retained Mr Vic (the suicided person) has committed suicide, not because of M. Mazier, but because M. Mazier was under the scientology's founder influence ,and that he used L.Ron Hubbard technologies. That's what is important for us here.

French prosecutor to appeal Scientology case
AP 29 July 1997

A day after a French court reduced the sentence of a Church of Scientology leader convicted of involuntary homicide, the prosecution said it would appeal the decision. The court also threw out the convictions of nine Scientologists on charges of theft, complicity or abuse of confidence, and reduced the fines of four others.

Lyon Supreme Court of Appeal, Criminal Division
30 June 1999

Basically this court uphold the the guilty verdict of Mazzier by the initial Apeals Court but didn't adjust the sentences back to the ordinary court ruling before that. Provided here are two translations, the first by Roger Gonnet and the 2nd by Google

That the Appeal Judges have uphold the accusation of Mr. J.J. , Mr. C, wife B, and D. P., wife G, leaders of Lyons associations, by way of authors of the swindles and some others prevented in the capacity as accomplices, depending that the first, with the assistance and the assistance of the seconds, had made center of dianetic and church of scientology of Lyon of the companies of collecting of funds to the damage of their followers, by employing two kinds of fraudulent schemes;

Scientology got blame for French suicide
St. Petersburg Times 8 February 1998

Nelly Vic's sad eyes begin telling her story, even before she gets to the part about how her husband jumped to his death from their children's bedroom window. The 41-year-old widow puts her head in her hands and swallows hard as she recalls that last night before her husband, Patrice, jumped from the 12th-floor window. Next to her sits a son, now 13, who slept through his father's suicide.

Gedarmes in Lyon seize Church of Scientology leader Jean-Jacques Mazier after he was convicted charced related to manslaughter and fraud
Image courtesy Arnie and Mark

En Français

Vingt-trois scientologues devant les juges à Lyon
L'Humanité, 01 Octobre 96

Adeptes de l'Eglise de scientologie, ils comparaissent depuis hier devant le tribunal correctionnel de Lyon, accusés d'escroquerie et de complicité d'escroquerie. L'un d'eux devra répondre 'd'atteinte involontaire à la vie d'autrui'.

Scientologie: les prévenus ont des absences de mémoire
L'Humanité, 02 Octobre 96

La treizième chambre correctionnelle a entendu quelques uns des prévenus, accusés 'd'escroquerie ou de complicité d'escroquerie'. Ils se se sont tous montrés des plus laconiques sur leurs parcours respectifs.

Les victimes de la scientologie témoignent de leur drame
L'Humanité, 09 Octobre 96

Huit jours d'audience auront permis de démasquer l'organisation qui se targue d'être une église et se révèle une pompe à fric et une broyeuse de consciences. Vingt-trois adeptes ont comparu devant le tribunal de Lyon pour escroquerie et l'un d'eux pour 'atteinte involontaire à la vie d'autrui'. Le jugement a été mis en délibéré au 22 novembre.

Scientologie: verdict le 28 juillet
L'Humanité, 07 Juin 97

LE ministère public a réclamé la 'confirmation' du jugement de première instance à l'encontre de treize des quinze scientologues jugés en appel à Lyon, notamment pour 'escroquerie', et la condamnation des deux prévenus relaxés.

Les peines contre les scientologues revus à la baisse
L'Humanité, 29 Juillet 97

La cour d'appel de Lyon a prononcé une peine de sursis pour l'ancien président de la Scientologie à Lyon, et deux relaxes pour des responsables nationaux de la secte. Des peines bien moins sévères que celles rendues à l'issue du procès de novembre dernier.

Jugement num 7388 Du 22 Novembre 1996
Tribunal Grande Instance de Lyon, Département du Rhône

Le 11 octobre 1988, Madame Nelly VIC se constituait partie civile des chefs de tentative d'escroquerie, exercice illégal de la médecine et infraction aux dispositions du Code de la Santé Publique sur les substances vénéneuses, toxiques et stupéfiantes, à la suite du suicide par défenestration, intervenu le 24 mars 1988, de son mari Patrice VIC, âgé de 31 ans, qui fréquentait le Centre de Dianétique de Lyon depuis plusieurs mois.

Return to main-index