French Court Finds Church of Scientology Guilty of Fraud

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On October 26, a French court held that the Church of Scientology and six of its members were guilty of fraud, sentenced the members to as much as two years in jail (suspended) and fined them up to $600,000 each.  It did not ban the church, but did order it to publish the verdict in national and international magazines.

Some people are skeptical of Scientology, just because it was founded by a science-fiction writer and teaches that humanity was brought to Earth 75 million years ago in spaceships that looked just like DC-8 airliners at the command of an alien space lord named Xenu, who stacked billions of people around volcanoes and then set off H-bombs inside the volcanoes in order to release the humans' souls (or "thetans") which then restuck to human bodies.  Scientologists are supposedly striving to recover a full understanding of their thetan selves, which in addition to being a long and difficult process also turns out to be fairly expensive.

The French case focused on the use of "electropsychometers," devices that are used to "audit" people and determine what "engrams" might be jacking up any individual Scientologist's mental state.  The "E-meter" itself is said to cost anywhere from $900 for the Mark V up to $4,650 for the "Mark VII Super Quantum E-meter," which is apparently similar to the Mark V but with super quantum abilities.  The plaintiffs said that after being audited they were led to believe they needed to buy a bunch of stuff, and the court agreed they had been defrauded.

"It's an empty case," said Eric Roux, described as a spokesman for the group and "an official representative of the organization's Celebrity Center."  He compared the case to the Inquisition, "[as] if some people did not wake up from the Inquisition time."  I don't think people were allowed to appeal during the Inquisition time, but Roux said that the defendants in this case definitely would.

Link: CNN
Link: Globe and Mail
Link: Scientology (Wikipedia)
Link: Operation Clambake