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Group not part of church trial told

Title: Group not part of church trial told
Date: Wednesday, 3 June 1992
Publisher: Toronto Star (Canada)
Main source:

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An organization of Scientologists allegedly responsible for illegal spying and dirty tricks was not a part of the church when those crimes were committed, a top church executive says.

"I feel that by their actions they had removed themselves from the church," Michael Rinder of Los Angeles said yesterday.

The Guardian's Office violated the teachings of Scientology's founder, L. Ron Hubbard, and thereby became "something different and distinct," Rinder told Mr. Justice James Southey, of Ontario Court, general division.

Rinder, 37, who handles international public relations for the Church of Scientology, was testifying for the defence in the jury trial of the church's Toronto branch and five members.

They are charged with breach of trust in connection with "agents" infiltrating the Ontario Provincial Police, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Metro police and the provincial attorney-general's office between April, 1974, and November, 1976.

The Guardian's Office was founded by Hubbard in 1966, who put his wife Mary Sue Hubbard at its helm, court heard.

By 1973, when Rinder joined the Sea Organization — the elite group that runs the church — the Guardian's Office did not answer to any part of the church, he said.

Rinder was a member of a team sent in 1981 to the world headquarters of the Guardian's Office in East Grinstead, England, he said. The team was to clean up the office's management practices and ethics, Rinder testified.

That was his first visit to any Guardian's Office bureau, he said.

"The most striking thing was that it wasn't a Scientology organization," he told defence lawyer Marlys Edwardh.

Most staff members didn't study church scriptures, Rinder testified.

They didn't follow policies laid out by L. Ron Hubbard, and in some cases did not even have copies of key directives, he said.

But Rinder did not find any evidence of crimes committed by Guardian's Office staff even after he spent a month trying to reform them, he said.

Staff resented the Sea Organization and referred to its members as "pigs," Rinder testified.

The office "was just a strange place" where staff in the legal department were not allowed to use typewriters because it would upset their boss, deputy guardian Charles Parselle, Rinder said.

Rinder was under orders to fire Parselle, which he did.

Copyright 1992 Toronto Star, All Rights Reserved.