Count 8: The illegal electronic storage of personal and intimate information on current Scientology-members by the "Office of Special Affairs" in France, Belgium and by its headquarters in Europe and United States.
On September 30th, 1999, acting on a complaint by a former Scientologist for financial fraud and after a two-year investigation, Belgian and French police raided 25 locations connected to its headquarters in Brussels [Exh. No. 212]. To uncover potential financial fraud committed by the Scientology organization was not the only issue the police investigators were looking into. Soon after the raid the investigating judge confirmed that several individual cardboard files were found at the organization's "Office of Special Affairs" (OSA) The contents had been later transcripted onto computer discs. These computer files contained psychological and medical profiles of current Scientology members, a violation of Belgian law on privacy and computer data [Exh. No. 213].
In a response to the judge's statement, the spokesperson for the Office of Special Affairs in Brussels, Martin Weightman, confirmed the existence of those files but referred to their use as solely "pastoral."
About seven months later the French police from "Sefti" (Office for Investigation of Computer Fraud) conducted a raid in Scientology's headquarters in Paris. It acted on two complaints of former Scientologists who were still receiving diverse newsletters from the "Office of Special Affairs," after they had demanded to be removed from the mailing lists of Scientology [Exh. No. 214].
While conducting the raid, the police found two intranet servers, hidden in a closet and connected with the OSA-headquarters in Europe. The PR-official of the French Office of Special Affairs, Danielle Gounord, later denied any knowledge about the existence of the two servers.
Obviously the Scientology organization in France had not learned much from a earlier condemnation by a court four years earlier. On December 18th, 1996 the Criminal Court of Lille found the Scientology staff member Rose-Marie Puteaux guilty of having electronically stored personal information from people that had filled out the "Oxford Capacity Analysis Test," or "Personality Test." This was done unbeknownst to these persons and in violation of existing law in France [Exh. No. 215].
The investigation into the French illegalities mounted into a fraud trial, which was held at the Correctional Court of Paris on February 21st and 22nd, 2002. In its statement before the court the prosecution demanded the dissolution of Scientology's official "mother church" in France ("L'Association spirituelle de l'Église de Scientologie d'Île de France"). A judgement is expected for May 17th, 2002.
Internal documents from other countries show that the storage of private and intimate details of Scientologists and the transmission of such information to the continental and international headquarters of the Office of Special Affairs is common practice within Scientology and ordered by the senior management, despite the knowledge that such conduct is illegal in various countries.
On August 25th, 1998 the "Security Chief International" Jeff Porter, a senior executive of "Church of Scientology International" (CSI), issued a security checklist that was distributed to all existing "Directors of Special Affairs" (DSAs) [Exh. No. 216]. The document states:
"68. HCO ("Hubbard Communications Office") has a list of all public, who are, or could possibly be, a security risk and a program to handle each one. A copy of this list is to be forwarded to the DSA, Cont HCO and Snr I & R Int each week."
The document confirms the findings of the police during the above mentioned raids: certain intimate information on a number of public Scientology-members is circulated within the organization to the Office of Special Affairs, to "Continental Liaison Office" and to the Scientology management in Los Angeles.
Two examples from England and Greece show how freely intimate and medical information of such "risky" public members or staff "flows" between the lower organizations and the various management entities.
On September 28th, 1993 a so-called "Board of Investigation" was held at the "Advanced Organization Saint Hill United Kingdom" (AOSH UK), which is part of the corporation "Church of Scientology Religious Education College, Inc." in Saint Hill, England [Exh. No. 217]. The subject of this investigation was a public member, Heidi Degro, who had experienced a psychotic breakdown while being at the AOSH UK for some auditing service. Instead of looking for proper medical or psychiatric help the Scientologists held her isolated and tried a Scientology process on her ("Introspection Rundown") which apparently did not work out.
In the aftermath of the affair, her so-called "pre-clear-folders," the records of her auditing sessions were inspected and sent to the "Religious Technology Center" (RTC) [Exh. No. 218], as indicated in a telex by the "Commanding Officer AOSH UK." The information that she had had a psychoanalysis and had been on psychiatric medication prior to her affiliation of Scientology was declared the reason for her psychotic episode and circulated between the individual organizations. Among the entities which were informed were the Office of Special Affairs UK and the "Flag Data Files" (FDF), a central archive within CSI where internal information on the various lower Scientology organizations is stored.
In the second case that happened in 1995, information about an intimate relationship of a Greek OSA-employee and a public member of Scientology was the subject of an internal correspondence between OSA-officials of the European headquarters of Scientology in Copenhagen [Exh. No. 219]:
" … Last summer she took a vacation to Crete and had an affair with a married man. She reported this at the time and was handled briefly in Ethics and then reported back to Ethics that this was fully handled. This turned out to be a lie. In fact the man has been coming to Athens frequently and has done several courses and is currently on Purif. He has this out ethics severely justified and his wife has also had out-2D [Out 2D = extramarital relationship] and they plan to split up. The wife also had a direct connection to a Greek Orthodox priest and she gave confession to him revealing the Out-2D's. This creates quite a dangerous condition considering the current attacks in Greece are coming from another branch of the Greek Orthodox Church.
"… She was ordered to have the public move out of her apartment and to disconnect. When confronted in Ethics he was quite nattery and irresponsible for this. …"
As in the case of Heidi Degro, management entities in Los Angeles ("Flag Bureaux" and OSA International) were notified about the affair of the staff member and the public.
Quite in contrast to such conduct and treatment of private data stands a statement of CSI from 1994 about the confidentiality of private information within the Scientology organization [Exh. No. 220]:
"Is information divulged during auditing sessions always kept confidential?
"Absolutely and without exception.
"Traditionally all communications between a minister and his parishioners have been privileged and confidential. That is certainly the case in the Scientology religion, and this trust is never violated. The confidences given in trust during an auditing session are considered sacrosanct by the Church, and are never divulged. …"
Might the act of keeping intimate information received during a confessional be a tradition of other religions, it was never one within the Church of Scientology. During the 1970s the "Guardian's Office" (GO), the predecessor of OSA, repeatedly inspected "pc folders" of ex-Scientologists and used the information for intelligence operations against them. In the case of Ira Hirsch, an ex-member who started to inform the IRS during the mid-seventies, the GO compiled the sexual life history of Ira and his wife, using his "earlier confidences" that are allegedly kept so sacrosanct by the Church of Scientology [Exh. No. 221]:
"Exertion of Ira Hirsch PC files
"…23 Mar 1970 MWH Ira gets off that he and friend gave each other blow jobs when he was 11 or 12. Ira gets off that he, his wife Holly and Mike Lyles had a 3 way thing going in Chicago with all of them in bed at the same time. …"