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Crimes outraged church trial told

Title: Crimes outraged church trial told
Date: Friday, 29 May 1992
Publisher: Toronto Star (Canada)
Author: Peter Small
Main source:

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The worldwide head of the Church of Scientology says he and other top officials were "absolutely outraged" when they concluded that fellow members were committing crimes.

"We don't do illegal things," David Miscavige, the 32-year-old church leader from Los Angeles, testified yesterday.

When a document outlining a dirty tricks and harassment project called "Operation Freakout" was first seen by his associates in 1981, "I was shocked" and thought it was a fake, Miscavige said. He was not head of the church at the time.

Miscavige is a defence witness at the jury trial of the church and five members.

They are charged with five counts of breach of trust in connection with agents infiltrating the RCMP, the OPP, Metro police and the provincial attorney-general's office between April, 1974, and November, 1976.

In July, 1981, when Miscavige and other top officials investigated the dirty tricks, they discovered that Scientologists in a separate office, the Guardian's Office, were committing crimes, he told the Ontario Court, general division, trial presided over by Mr. Justice James Southey.

The Guardian's Office was set up by the late L. Ron Hubbard, Scientology's founder, in 1966 to gather information and deal with external matters, he said.

Hubbard, a former science fiction writer, appointed his wife Mary Sue Hubbard, as Guardian's Office head, court heard.

Guardian's Office staff members were not like other Scientologists, Miscavige said. They "appeared extremely secretive" and kept their office doors locked, he said.

Although he lived for a time in the same complex as Mary Sue Hubbard and her staff, he knew nothing about their covert activities, he told prosecutor James Stewart.

After learning about the crimes committed by the Guardian's Office, Miscavige and colleagues decided they would have to bring it under the direct control of the main church, he told defence lawyer Clayton Ruby.

They hatched a plan in which trusted teams of Scientologists would fan out to various Guardian's offices worldwide, poised to await word that Mary Sue Hubbard had resigned as head of that branch.

Miscavige told the court his mission was to get Hubbard's wife, who was no longer living with her husband, to quit.

When they confronted each other in a Los Angeles hotel room Mary Sue Hubbard called him "some pretty nasty names" and held a large ashtray close to his face. But he persuaded her it was futile to hang on to power.

The church tried unsuccessfully to reform the Guardian's Office and finally disbanded it in 1983, he said.

The trial continues.

Copyright 1992 Toronto Star, All Rights Reserved.