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Scientology case testimony ends

Title: Scientology case testimony ends
Date: Friday, 10 May 1985
Publisher: The Oregonian (Portland)
Main source: link (126 KiB)

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Testimony in a civil fraud trial against the Church of Scientology and its founder, L. Ron Hubbard, ended Thursday in Multnomah County Circuit Court near the end of the ninth week of trial.

Circuit Judge Donald H. Londer scheduled closing arguments to begin Monday and indicated that they would last at least two days.

Loader and attorneys in the case plan to spend most of Friday discussing legal instructions to be delivered to the jury at the close of arguments. The jury also is expected to receive Friday the last of several hundred exhibits received into evidence during the trial.

Julie Christofferson Titchbourne, a Portlander who was involved in Scientology for nine months during 1975 and 1976, seeks the return of $3,000 she paid to the church plus up to $42 million in punitive damages.

She contends that the church defrauded her in many representations that were made when she joined the organization. She also has testified that she was a subject of retaliation by the church after she requested a refund of her money in 1976.

The defense contends that Scientology is a religion and that its members have a constitutional right to practice it.

In rebuttal testimony Thursday, Titchbourne's attorney, Garry P. McMurry questioned June Conway, a Portland nurse, who said her eldest son, Leonard Conway, suffered serious mental problems after becoming involved in Scientology in 1978.

She said her son "lost touch with reality" and had been treated for psychiatric problems in hospitals and treatment centers for several years since. Conway described her son as a "talented young man" who graduated from high school with honors in 1977 but who now has difficulty functioning in society.

McMurry presented her testimony in response to Scientologists who testified that they benefited greatly from their involvement with Scientology training and materials.

Titchbourne won a $2 million judgment against the church in 1979, but that verdict was reversed by the Oregon Court of Appeals, which sent the case back for retrial.