Calif. couple sues over donations to Scientology

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 23, 2013 at 8:32 pm •  Published: January 23, 2013
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Among the accusations made in the lawsuit is that the Garcias and others were repeatedly approached with urgent requests for funding of Scientology work around the globe, such as disaster relief or campaigns for causes such as ending child pornography. Babbitt said high-ranking former Scientologists would testify that the church knowingly rerouted such collections for other spending, including financing a "lavish lifestyle" for Miscavige, stifling inquiries into church activities and finances, and intimidating members and ex-members.

A common tactic, Babbitt said, when a disaster unfolded somewhere in the world, would be to send a small group of Scientologists with a camera crew that would pay locals in the affected area to appear on camera. A scene would essentially be staged, he claims, in which people would be begging or appear to be starving, even if it weren't the case.

A cornerstone of church practice is personal counseling sessions, known as auditing, in which members disclose many facets of their personal lives. Babbitt says members' own financial status and the accounts they hold would be known from those sessions and then be used in tandem with footage from disaster sites in desperate and urgent pleas for money.

"There's an emergency, we need your money right now, we know that you have X dollars in the bank in Los Angeles," Babbitt said, offering a paraphrase of how a member might be approached.

In the end, little if any of the money collected for such causes reached its intended place, he said. Those contributions, the lawsuit claims, were collected by a Scientology-linked group called IAS Administrations, which Babbitt says former church members will testify accumulated more than $1 billion in contributions.

The Garcias also claim to have prepaid for auditing and training services that were never provided and for which a refund has never been received, and to have given about $340,000 for the church's planned Super Power building for high-level coursework.

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