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Former sect publicist feared being 'target'

Title: Former sect publicist feared being 'target'
Date: Sunday, 27 May 1984
Publisher: Clearwater Sun (Florida)
Author: Felix Gutierrez
Main source: link (75 KiB)

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LOS ANGELES—A former Scientology publicist who was working on a biography of church founder L. Ron Hubbard says she left the organization because she had become "a target" by other church members.

Laurel Sullivan, 34, testified Friday in a suit brought by the church and the founder's wife, Mary Sue Hubbard, to recover documents allegedly stolen by former church archivist Gerald Armstrong.

Ms. Sullivan said she feared some church members saw the biography as a downgrading of Hubbard's image and that she would become "a target."

As a result, she testified, she was "busted" from her job supervising Armstrong's gathering of material for the book.

"I was fearful my car might be tampered with," she said.

Ms. Sullivan said church members called her family and friends looking for her address, called a former employer and lied to her father after she left the church.

At one point during her testimony, she burst into tears and walked out of the courtroom when she recalled that her husband, Richard Sullivan, had written reports on her to church officials.

Of the proposed biography, she said, "I felt that revealing all the details of his life was not necessary."

But she added that some revelations "would make him (Hubbard) look less like a god and more like a man, like everyone else."

No one on the biography project meant to denigrate Hubbard and "nobody has it in mind now," she added.

Seeing herself as a "target," she said, she told Armstrong of her plans to leave the church.

"I can't really take it around here anymore," she said she told Armstrong. "The handwriting is on the wall."

She said she then encouraged Armstrong to quit the church also.

Scientologists contend Armstrong had decided to leave the church before he amassed documents on Hubbard. But Armstrong said the five boxes of papers were gathered with Hubbard's permission and that he kept them after he left only to prove was innocent of church allegations that he made false statements to discredit Hubbard.