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Scientology Crime Syndicate

River Oaks resident wages monthly war with Scientologists
By Maria Kiervin

Two police cruisers parked on Munn's Avenue near Sixth Line on Saturday, May 13, to investigate a complaint by a homeowner. Fifteen-year River Oaks resident Gregg Hagglund called about two picketers in front of his home around 2 p.m. The two women held placards reading "Do you know your neighbor spreads hate propaganda?"

Hagglund, married 25 years with two grown children, says the picketers visit his home on a regular basis and that they are from the Church of Scientology (CSI).

One of the women with a placard, who has been with the church for 20 years but prefers to remain anonymous, claims Hagglund has posted pictures of the children of Scientology parishioners on the internet and that this is a "low blow." The Church of Scientology office is in Toronto, and responded to a phone call by having the picketer herself call back.

The internet site which the woman believes is hate propaganda was posted by Hagglund in 1997 and was critical of CSI. The pictures are head shots of the children of CSI parishioners and a picture of a two youths, eight to 10 years old sitting at a table with material for sale.

She admits she is "Not a spokesperson for the church. It took me an enormous amount of courage to do what I did Saturday afternoon." The woman, who lives in Mississauga with her two children, says, "I've never picketed in a neighborhood on a suburban street in my life."

For Hagglund, an actor, writer and self proclaimed priest of a New Age faith called Temple At'L'an, says the picketing by the two CSI parishioners is just part of a "protracted campaign of harassment by CSI" because he and several others have been picketing the church once a month since May of 1997.

He says he shut down the offending web site in June of 1998 because he could no longer maintain it. He objects to CSI "getting kids involved and proselytizing using kids" so he posted the pictures of children of parishioners helping to sell Scientology wares like books and courses.

Acting detective Scott Mason of the Intelligence unit of the Halton Regional Police does not believe Hagglund's activities fall within the Criminal Code's definition of "Hate Propaganda."

"I'd say there is a huge line between hate propaganda and criticizing. This is a free country. You can criticize anyone you want."

When Timothy Appleby of "The Globe and Mail" spoke to Detective Richard Kijewski of the Toronto Police Services hate crimes unit about Hagglund in February 1999, Kijewski agreed Hagglund's activities involve criticism rather than hatred and that "both groups have a right to demonstrate."

Hagglund wants to warn and educate others that "some of the practices of Scientology are potentially harmful, even deadly. "If there is a sheet of ice and I'm the only one who can see a small hole, am I not morally responsible to tell people about it and keep someone from falling in?"

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