Scientology Crime Syndicate

Scientology lawsuit moves ahead

Dec. 3 - Despite much bickering between the defendants and plaintiffs, it looks as though a controversial lawsuit filed against the Church of Scientology and involving John Travolta is moving ahead.

LAST WEEK, Scoop reported that in a suit filed earlier this year in a California federal court, former Scientologist Michael Pattinson is claiming that he paid the church $500,000 to "cure" him of his homosexuality. It didn't work, he says. Among the eye-popping allegations in the suit: that Travolta's plane was used to "kidnap" a member of Scientology, that Pattinson and others were forced to work in "a robotic slave-like work force" to service Scientology celebrities like Travolta, Tom Cruise and Kirstie Alley, and that Pattinson "reasonably relied upon" Travolta's marriage to fellow Scientologist Kelly Preston as proof that "Scientology processing and courses would `handle' my own homosexuality."

Some readers of Scoop were perplexed and angry -- and let us know that in their e-mails -- as to why our item about the suit disappeared from the site before noon. "Where's the beef?" one irate reader demanded.

Here's the story: Not long after the item was posted, Scoop heard from Scientology officials who insisted that the lawsuit had been dismissed. Well, it turns out that's not quite true. Actually, the church asked the court to dismiss the case and bring sanctions against the plaintiffs. The judge, Christina A. Snyder, denied that request but called the 277-page suit a "rambling tale of irrelevancy" and told Pattinson and his attorney, Graham Berry, to file an amended complaint. They did.

Scientology spokesman Kurt Weiland says the suit is "the sort of legal monstrosity that gives lawyers a bad name" and still insists that the case will be thrown out. "Anyone who names top-level movie stars and the Cabinet of the U.S. government in a frivolous lawsuit like this is either a pathological case or is attempting a criminal shakedown of the defendants," Weiland says. "Mr. Pattinson has no personal knowledge about most of what is alleged in the complaint."

"Mr. Pattinson doesn't have to be an eyewitness to all the facts alleged in order to recover for the wrongs that were done him," counters Berry. The lawyer is working on a third amended complaint while Weiland and his colleagues are still hoping to get the case dismissed. Both sides will be heard Dec. 14 at the U.S. District Court, Central District of California. "It's far from being thrown out and it's highly unlikely that it will be thrown out," Berry says. "Mr. Pattinson has a very strong case."


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