Scientology Critics Assail Aggressiveness of Church

Los Angeles Times, August 28, 1978

[SNIP of non-Nan related part of the article.]

Forty miles north of Toronto, in the small community of Sutton, Ontario, a 55-year-old housewife named Nan McLean has been an equally vocal critic of Scientology, and her conflicts with the church have been intense.

Mrs. McLean joined Scientology in 1969 and for several years worked full time at one of the church's counseling "franchises" -- now called missions -- in Toronto. Before she left in the fall of 1972 she had brought her husband, two sons, and daughter-in-law into the church.

One son, John, now 26, dropped out of high school in his senior year to join Scientology and spent nearly two years aboard the church's flagship, the 3,280-ton yacht Apollo.

But when the McLeans became disenchanted with Scientology and sought refunds for some of the counseling courses they had taken, conflict erupted with the church -- and escalated as the McLeans began publicly criticizing the church in new articles and on radio and television.

In a little more than five years, the Church of Scientology has filed nearly a dozen lawsuits -- most of them for libel -- against various members of the family in the United States and Canada, instigated criminal charges alleging harassing phone calls from the McLeans, and conducted a mock funeral for the family down the main street of Sutton.

A judge dismissed the criminal charges after testimony that three of the calls actually were placed by Scientologists to the McLeans.

On April 25, 1974, a Canadian court ordered the church "not to carry on public demonstrations against" Mrs. McLean, distribute literature describing her as a "lost soul," or otherwise refer to her previous association with Scientology.

Mrs. McLean in turn was ordered to cease impugning Scientology on radio and television until a church suit against her (to reclaim a $1,300 refund it paid her) is resolved.

Amid these legal battles, two Toronto men were arrested on April 17, 1974, in what police said was an aborted attempt to break into an attorney's office. The office was that of Nan McLean's attorney. The following day a court hearing was scheduled in one of the suits the Church of Scientology had brought against her.

The two men later pleaded guilty to possession of burglary tools and were sentenced to two years probation.

Although a police search of their apartment found material on Scientology, neither man acknowledged affiliation with the church during interviews with police or with probation officials.

Asst. Crown Atty. Brian McIntyre, in a letter to Mrs. McLean dated Nov. 3, 1975, said a police investigation revealed that both men were members of the Church of Scientology.

There is no evidence the men were acting at the direction of the church.