British child custody and visitation cases involving Scientology children

Part of Tax-exempt Child Abuse and Neglect by Mike Gormez. Visit the message board.


To get a better understanding of the following child custody case below, read Chapter two of A Piece of Blue Sky, by Jon Atack

In Spring 1984, I learned of a child custody case in which Scientology was at issue. The father, a Church Scientologist, was seeking to retain custody of his two young children. The mother and stepfather had left Scientology.

Child custody case involving scientologist father and ex-scientologist mother
Latey Judgment Re: B & G (Minors)   (en Français)

"Children also become damaged pawns in family conflicts as the result of Scientology policy which teaches people how to manipulate others. One sees the untoward effects of this policy within the family home when the group works to alienate a child from a spouse who has incurred the 'church's' disapproval and who must be shunned by any means available. A prescribed tactic often used to this effect is called 'third-partying' by which a child can be subtly alienated from a parent who may not be acceptable to the 'church' of Scientology by blaming problems and conflicts on the non-conforming spouse or other close family members. Apart from direct psychic damage, a most significant result of this process is that the child loses half of his parental nurturance."

Court of Appeal 19 September 1984

I have carefully considered all the points so ably and forcefully made by Mr Johnson, but I cannot find any ground for saying that the judge's execution of the balancing duty, to which I have already referred, was either coloured or distorted. Mr Kennedy has reminded us that the judgment was reserved and delivered after 18 days. He has described it - and I cannot find any reason to object to his description - as a cool and deliberately damning analysis of mainline scientology; an analysis which the judge was under a duty to make. . . . For these reasons and those given by Dunn LJ, I agree that this appeal must fail. I also agree with what Dunn LJ has said in relation to the conduct of the mother immediately after the hearing before the judge in relation to interviews that she had given to the media.

Scientology's distorted characterization of this case

While it was a soundly defeat for the scientologist father and a damning analysis of mainline Scientology, the "Church" does its best to turn it into something more favorable by quoting out of context in the hope that nobody notices.

A letter dated December 10, 2002 from Scientology's Public Affairs Director UK & Ireland, Graeme Wilson, to Mike Garde of Dialogue Ireland, had an interesting attachment. It was an attack on the Latey judgement. I will give you a few sentences and following that the full actual context. Decide for yourself whether the scientologist was aboveboard.

Graeme Wilson for Scientology
This was recognized by the Court of Appeal which reviewed the Latey decision. That Court found that "it was unnecessary for the judge to have gone into the detail which he did . . ."
Full context from the Appeal Court
It seems to me, with respect, that it was unnecessary for the judge to have gone into the detail which he did, but when one is considering a set of beliefs, it is, I should have thought, relevant to know the sort of person who is the original proponent of those beliefs.

Graeme Wilson for Scientology

Lord Justice Purchas commented, "It may not have been strictly necessary for Latey to have made definitive findings on collateral matters in the way that he did and in the terms that he did. . . ."
Full context from the Appeal Court
It may not have been strictly necessary for him to have made definitive findings on collateral matters in the way that he did and in the terms that he did, but this does not, in my judgment, vitiate of itself the subsequent findings and decisions which he made in relation to the dangers to the children of being brought up under the aegis of scientology.

British child visitation case of non-scientologist mother (Respondent) and scientologist former husband (Applicant)
Expert statement by Stephen A. Kent, 10 February 1999

Scientology defines a "suppressive person" or "SP" as one "who seeks to suppress, or squash, any betterment activity or group". By this legal action, the Respondent, [name deleted], would be (according to Scientology) a suppressive person. This designation has important implications for the manner in which Scientologists would view the children. Again according to Scientology's definitions, they would be "potential trouble sources" because of their continued relationship with their mother

I've been asked by parents in similar situations whether a child needs a signature of both parents before they can participate in Scientology. Sadly that is not the case. The Religious Services Enrollment Application/Agreement and General Release that Scientology requires, needs only a single signature of a parent/guardian. However Scientology will not gladly sign up children if they have an antagonistic parent. The cult is very wary of bad public relations. And legal threats or nasty press is not in their best interest. A longtime former member said that he can't think offhand of a time when minors with antagonistic parents were signed up. Here's the pertinent part of the Release:

I am not connected with any person (such as marital or familial ties) of known antagonism to spiritual treatment or Scientology, nor have I or any member of my immediate family ever threatened to sue, embarrass or attack Scientology, nor have I or any of my immediate family ever been a party to such an attack.

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