Alt.religion.scientology Week in Review Volume 2, Issue 48 03/29/98 by Rod Keller [email@example.com] copyright 1998
Alt.religion.scientology Week in Review summarizes the most significant postings from the Usenet group Alt.religion.scientology for the preceding week for the benefit of those who can't follow the group as closely as they'd like. Out of thousands of postings, I attempt to include news of significant events, new affidavits, court rulings, new contributors, whatever. I hope you find it useful. Like many readers of a.r.s, I have a kill file. So please take into consideration that I may not have seen some of the most significant postings. The articles in A.r.s Week in Review are brief summaries of articles posted to the newsgroup. They include message IDs for the original articles, and many have a URL to get more information. You may be able to find the original article, depending on how long your site stores articles in the newsgroup before expiring them. Free A.r.s Week in Review subscriptions are available, just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org It is archived at: http://wpxx02.toxi.uni-wuerzburg.de/~krasel/CoS/ars-summary.html http://www.thur.de/religio/publik/arsfaq.html http://www.xenu.net/archive/WIR/ http://www.i1.net/~mallen/scn/arswr/ars-summary.html #####
Is ATG a Scientologist-owned company? Tradenet, which markets ATG's "IE
Crystals" as a substitute for laundry soap is. Paul Heinz posted a letter
from Grant Miller of ATG, in response to questions about IE Crystals, and
the application of the crystals as part of a gas mileage improvement
"You seem like a conspiracy theorist who has never met a conspiracy that he didn't like. Your humor is truly nothing short of amazing. I have met with more than 10 scientists that are either on ATG's advisory board or on staff at ATG. I have checked their credentials and looked at their credibility witnessed by their accomplishments in life. I attended a symposium on the Ie Crystal technology in Dec.'97. If this was a staged scam, they spent a lot of $$$ to bring these scientists from all over the world together to convince about 15 others in attendance. None of which had any need to be sold on the science. I have met with CEO Larry Brady, and have checked his credentials. He is probably as close to what I term a solid-citizen as one could get. I defy you find one speck of dirt on Mr. Brady.
"I have been using ATG's Force product in my cars for 3 years now and have logged mileage and performance with and without it. I have averaged 20% to 25% better mileage in my mid-sized cars and 4x4's. I also know someone who has MS and has taken 2 tablespoons of the Ie Crystal per day only to see the symptoms subside with use. I'm sure it is just coincidental."
A letter posted by Mark Dallara this week shows some of the nature of the relationship between Tradenet and ATG. The letter describes the blue laundry balls, which were found to be ineffective, and the Force gas mileage device.
"TO: LYNN IRONS FM: JOHN COLLINS
"The Super Globe product and its trademark is owned by TradeNet. The statement was and is, 'The *old* product was unable to perform in the laboratory as promoted. You may, after 24 hours immersion of that product, even with I.E. in it, not see enough crystals in the water to create any significant effect. The new product, when compared to *water*, does work better in the cleaning process than plain water, however, in order for you to have a product that works as well as competing products, you must use the full system. You could, of course, use just the booster in larger quantities of liquid per wash.'
"I have made it clear to Bill and Erwin in writing and during various conversations that *NO EMISSION CLAIMS OF ANY TYPE ARE TO BE MADE FOR THE FORCE*. This has been well understood and agreed to. The responsibility for the promotion belongs to whom? All I see is an effort to shift responsibility. This claim places TradeNet at risk. It can be used to discredit our product, The Force and ATG. I am not happy with this at all and if Brendon did not understand, why not? Didn't Erwin or Bill Cooper also see the material?
"ATG has trust in Lynn Irons. We do not have trust in Erwin, Bill or Alberto at this time. As such, we will not make this statement about confidence in management and will refrain from any public utterance about any of them. We have stated we are hopeful that Lynn can pull it off and we are supportive of his efforts. Brian Andrus is aware of our position. Non-payment on our account with TradeNet has caused significant problems for us, as we have had to pay cash in order to get products to you. Our ability to provide you product at rock bottom prices was made possible by a guarantee of cash flow.
"Lynn, do not make statements that David or any other staff have been permitted to publicly speak in a disparaging manner. I expected more from you. I was not aware of the communications until after they occurred. I also believe David when he says he was applying the ethics gradient with other Church members. David has been instructed to cease such communications and has stated clearly that he is unwilling to continue to flow power to any of the three owners.
"We have to ensure that our company survives, thrives, flourishes and prospers. We have to ensure that our vision and mission is achieved. We are and will succeed. If the association with TradeNet is any way threatens that reality, I will terminate all association. The chaos and confusion, out-ethics and dangerous situations belong with TradeNet."
Following the recent Boston Herald series on Scientology, the Bay State
Banner carried an article in which Scientology accuses the Herald of
racism. The NAACP has declined to join in the attack on the Herald.
"Reacting to a stinging five-part series in the Boston Herald on the Church of Scientology, parents at Delphi Academy, a school run by scientologists, are charging the newspaper with racism. The parents apparently object to Herald reporter Joseph Mallia's assertion that the school is run by Scientologists and is used by the church to recruit new members. In the series, Mallia suggests the group has been aggressively courting minorities in an effort to secure new revenue.
"Ellen Garrison, the school's headmistress said she and a group of parents attempted to meet with representatives from the newspaper but were rebuffed. Herald Managing Editor Andrew Gully acknowledged that he refused to meet with the parents on March 3, when they demanded a meeting, but said he told a parent he would be willing to meet with the group at a later date. But the parents never called him back. 'That was the last I heard from them,' he said. The next day, a group of parents were in front of the Herald's building holding signs charging the newspaper with racism.
"While the school uses Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard's trademarked Study Technology methodology and displays Scientology publications, Garrison maintains that the school is not affiliated with the church. 'I started this school 18 years ago and have been headmistress since then,' she said. 'The Church of Scientology doesn't run this school or finance this school. I don't have time to talk to the children about Scientology at this school. I'm too busy trying to educate children.' Of 21 teachers at the school, four are not scientologists, Garrison noted.
"Boston NAACP Branch Leader Leonard Alkins said he was approached by Scientology supporters and asked to join a media watchdog group mobilized in reaction to the Herald series. But Alkins said he was instructed by the NAACP's national leadership not to join forces with any groups linked to Scientology."
The St. Petersburg Times carried an article on Scientology's investigation of the writer of the Herald series, Joseph Mallia.
"Church officials say their lawyers have hired a firm to investigate Joseph Mallia, a Boston Herald reporter who recently wrote a five-part series that raised questions about church practices. The investigation conflicts with statements made in 1994 by a top church official Kurt Weiland, who handles international legal affairs for Scientology. During an interview at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., the St. Petersburg Times asked Weiland and church president Heber C. Jentzsch about the practice of investigating reporters. Weiland responded, 'First of all, we don't do that.' He added: 'There's no institutional or organized campaign or effort or action ongoing to go after a reporter.'
"Asked this week to explain the contradiction, Weiland said the church deals with adverse news reports on a case-by-case basis. He said Mallia's articles were inaccurate and the church was trying to uncover what 'sinister motive' he had and what 'vested interest' he was working for. 'It's not a personal thing,' Weiland said. 'Every time a reporter steps out of his way to create damage to the church...then, of course, it's gloves off.'
"'No one I know goes so far as to hire outsiders to harass or try to get intimidating data on critics,' said the Rev. Robert W. Thornburg, dean of March Chapel at Boston University and an expert on destructive religious practices. 'Scientology is the only crowd that does that.'"
Scientology released a special brochure to counter the claims made in the Herald series, which is being distributed in the Boston area. Chris Owen described the issue's contents.
"The Herald's article, claims 'Merchants of Sensationalism', fell flat in Boston, causing 'an outcry of protest'. '[The Herald] found prominent and influential members of the community lining up to join in the debate - among the attorney Earle Cooley'. The sources used by the Herald are described as being 'subject to court-imposed injunctions for violating the Church's copyrights.
"Pages 4 and 5 carry a box entitled 'Herald Racism Condemned', showing a photograph of a group of demonstrators holding placards outside the Boston Herald's building. At the demonstration, reports the text, 'the formation of a media watchdog group, the Ad Hoc Committee on Media Racism and Bigotry, was announced.' Jeanetta Williams, 'NAACP national board member', is quoted as saying: 'It is paramount that racism in the media, whether blatant or covertly presented, is exposed for what it is. There are many people out there - the silent voices - who are bombarded by media messages every day which stigmatize and demean them solely because of the color of their skin or their beliefs.'
"Steve Hassan, an expert on cults, is described as 'a hired faith-breaker who has conducted brutal, violent and coercive efforts, called 'deprogrammings,' to force people away from their chosen faiths.' Similarly, Robert Vaughn Young - former Scientology PR - is described by his former colleagues as 'a failed taxi-driver and editor of hard- core pornography whose sworn testimony reveals that, financially, he lives off what vested interests pay him for making derogatory statements about Scientology', and Dennis Erlich is described as 'a deadbeat dad who has refused to pay child support to his ex-wife and defied court orders.'"
"Wynot" reported that following the Atlanta picket last week, he received
a disconnection letter from a Scientologist friend of 20 years.
The morning after the March 13th picket in Atlanta, I received the following in the mail. It was dated the 11th, postmarked the 13th. I do not know if it was mailed before or after the picket.
"I am writing to you to make it clear and certain that I don't wish to have anything more to do with you. I don't wish to talk with you, see you or hear from you. I am doing this because you have decided to denigrate my church in public and with it myself and the people I work with and for whom I have the greatest respect. You do this based on information from a one sided attack without apparently even questioning the motives and intents of the people forwarding the attack. You do this without questioning me, supposedly your friend, for opposing information. And out of a city of millions, my supposed friend is one of three people publicly attacking my church. This is outrageous to me. I won't have it and I don't need it."
Pickets were held in San Jose, San Francisco and Poole, England this week. Keith Henson reports from San Jose.
"Brent was walking on the sidewalk near the middle between where the driveways cross when the sprinklers turned on. Some of the heads were turned sideways so they sprinkled the street and the sidewalk more than the vegetation and right where he was one of the heads had been replaced with a completely inappropriate spinning sprinkler which wet the street half way across. I called the cops to see if this falls within what can be done to keep people from picketing, and they called the cops on us insisting (after Robin spent 20 minutes talking to me over the low hedge) that they are upset by our talking to the members who go in and out about the Xenu story or the $180k scientology gets before you get to the Xenu business.
"We stuck at it till about 2pm. I stopped on the way home at the Mt. View org for a few minutes picket. They saw me picketing, but are so downstat they don't even bother to take pictures any more."
"Taniwha" reported on San Francisco.
"Today 3 SPs - Peaches, myself and a mystery guest (who you all know) from out of town went and picketed the SF Org over lunch time. We gave out all the copies of Roland's Xenu and Lisa leaflets that we'd brought - next time we have to bring a lot more. Unlike last week's picket, the scientologists did react to our presence, this time they pulled out a tattered sign that said 'free stress test' and stacked up a bunch of copies of Dianetics in a house-o-cards display, then they pulled out an e-meter and waited. They sat there while we walked back and forwards in front of them - somehow I don't think it was the public who's stress level was being measured.
"Those two chairs in front of the table remained empty the whole time we were there - all they could do was sit and sketch our mystery picketer - who had been avoiding the guy trying to take our photos. At one point we managed to get one of the scientologists out there to take a Xenu flier - he read it partly, quite intently, then started to read it out loud to a friend - they were quite engrossed - I think they must have thought we were making this stuff up about them, about when the got to the end of the second side someone from inside the org must have noticed them - he came out and brought them inside - maybe we saved them a bunch of money (or cost them a bunch of auditing).
Hartley Patterson reported on the Poole picket.
"The afternoon was spent on the High Street, where Xemu handed out balloons and plenty of leaflets were distributed. The populace were generally receptive. I was approached by one lady who said her grandchildren used to be scared of coming down the street because of being accosted by clipboard carriers. She had never been bothered until recently, and advanced the opinion that they must be getting desperate if they were trying to recruit grandmothers!"
Fort Harrison Fire
The Tampa Tribune reported on a fire at Scientology's Fort Harrison hotel
"A fire early Saturday at Scientology's Clearwater headquarters caused $500 damage and left one person with a minor injury, said Paul Revelia, acting district fire chief. A woman leaving the 210 S. Fort Harrison building because of the fire alarm tripped and sustained a laceration over her left eyebrow, Revelia said. She declined transportation to a hospital. The fire, reported at 4:58 a.m., was caused when a fourth floor air conditioning unit overheated, igniting air filters at the church building, Revelia said. It was out when firefighters arrived."
AFP reported that Interior Secretary Gunther Beckstein spoke out against
Scientology this week.
"According to the interpretation of the Bavarian Provincial government, the Scientology organization pursues the goal of bringing the German Republic and other nations worldwide 'under their influence.' Scientology wants to establish a system of rights in which all of its own members are to be recognized as citizens, explained Secretary of the Interior Gunther Beckstein (CSU) on Friday in Munich at the presentation of the Bavarian Constitutional Protection report.
"According to Beckstein's statement, Germany has about 10,000 members.
The command center for the German Scientologists is in England or Denmark.
The Office of Constitutional Protection will continue to 'remain an
important means in the discussion of this organization', announced
Beckstein. The measures in Germany against Scientology are, according to
the interpretation of the UNO, not a transgression against rights nor
against the order of tolerance."
The Nando Times reported that Jairus Godeka, the Scientologist who
attacked the Portland org in 1996, has been found guilty.
"A man who shot four people at a Church of Scientology office and then set the building on fire could spend the rest of his life in a mental institution. A judge on Friday found Jairus Chegero Godeka, 39, guilty except for insanity for the rampage on Sept. 25, 1996. The judge sentenced him to 120 years in custody, and state psychiatrists will have to determine whether Godeka is ever sane enough to be released.
"State and defense psychiatrists agree that Godeka suffers from schizophrenia. For years, Godeka has heard voices and thought he is controlled by other people. He blamed his business problems on Scientology and was under a court order to stay away from the church."
A hearing was held in Grady Ward's copyright infringement case this week.
"The hearing was over quickly. Hon. Ronald M. Whyte spoke first and said that he was leaning toward a jury trial because the fact issues went well beyond 'willfulness' as in Henson's case. Because of schedule conflicts the trial was moved out to April 13, 1998. Rosen begged for a chance to brief the judge to try to get a bench trial. The judge finally agreed to be briefed by the cult on why I should be denied a jury trial for the infringement allegation.
"Then as if knowing that their plea to prevent Wevers and Randolph from testifying for Ward was in vain, the cult asked for time to depose them before trial. The judge and I agreed. I also asked and the judge granted my request that I get to depose the Rhea Smith who supposedly has been 'monitoring' the Internet in 'the ordinary course of business' for the last three years.
"He said that the cult had to prove at trial three things: that the proffered evidence were authentic Usenet posts or IRC chat logs; that Grady Ward somehow was associated with any authenticated posts that had been adjudged to be infringing; if (1) and (2) were met, that Grady Ward's acts were 'willful' for purposes of copyright law. Rosen started whining that he had though that the court and I had already conceded the authenticity of all the cult's supposed IRC logs, Usenet postings, and web page screen shots. The judge asked me if that were true and I asserted firmly that it of course was not. As many of you may know, the cult's whole case rests upon their so-called evidence in the form of alleged Usenet postings supposedly made by me and others which purportedly show that I was engaged in copyright infringement. However, the only two posts they say were made by me under my own name are dated on days in which Netcom's subpoenaed logs showed that I was not logged in."
The Mirror carried a denial from Scientology this week that they are
recruiting members from Ireland's prisons through Criminon.
"Church of Scientology leaders have rejected claims that they are 'canvassing' for new members in Irish prisons. The controversial church is contacting violent criminals offering them a place on their 'Criminon' rehabilitation programme. But spokesman Graham Wilson dismissed reports that this was a strategy to recruit new members. 'This programme is running in America and judges are even placing prisoners on it because it has proved such an overwhelming success,' said Wilson. 'This is a service with a proven track record which is helping reintegrate prisoners into society. It is misleading to say we are recruiting rapists and murderers to join our Church.'"
The Evening News of Edinburgh published an article this week on
Scientology's efforts to expand in Scotland.
"A religious group once branded 'corrupt, sinister and dangerous' is taking on 15 new workers in the city - to cope with a soaring Scottish membership. The Church of Scientology claims it now has between 600 and 700 members in Edinburgh, with more than 7000 across Scotland. And leaders say there are 21,000 Scots now on the mailing list of the Church, whose high-profile members include movie stars John Travolta, Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman.
"Edinburgh-based member Ken Littlewood, a 47-year-old father-of-three, said: 'I like the fact that the church is non-materialistic and teaches people how to cope with real life, relationships and dealing with people. 'Most criticisms are based on ignorance or a lack of information.' Executive Director of the Hubbard Academy in South Bridge, Brian Wardie, said the Church wants to employ more counselors to deal with depressed people who have turned to Scientology. He said: 'We have just launched a new advertising project which has attracted interest. We want around 15 new voluntary staff with different skills.'"
Victory in Los Angeles this week as charges were dropped against Keith
Henson for allegedly violating his restraining order.
"The prosecutor got to read a statement that he thought I was guilty, but that there was no chance of a jury finding me guilty (??) and that the cost travel and legal cost they had imposed on me was punishment enough to prevent a reoccurrence. I *never* would have thought a prosecutor would admit in public that they intentionally punish people by filing charges against them even when they don't have a prayer of winning on the charges, and know it.
"Elliot was asked to come forward and request the order for a HIV test for me be withdrawn. He did, as Graham states, looking like he was about to cry.
"After the case was dismissed, Graham took a little time to walk the block and a half to the Celebrity Center. We picketed, but there were not many more out this time than last. I.e., nobody came out to counter picket.
Graham Berry, Keith's lawyer, described the hearing.
"I arrived at court this morning with a bunch of new motions to file, and a supplemental brief to our motion dismiss on constitutional grounds. The People moved to dismiss arguing that, in essence, they did not think they could convince a jury of 12 to convict. The judge: 'Are you sure it is not that you cannot oppose Mr. Berry's Motion to Dismiss on constitutional grounds?' Oh, no', said the Deputy City Attorney. The judge smiled knowingly, while Elliot Abelson, Esq., looking as though he would burst into tears at any moment ,agreed to take Barton's motion that Henson have an H.I.V. test 'off calendar'.
"Next, we consider; false arrest and false imprisonment against Barton, Richardson, Abelson and the cult; The same against the LAPD, including a cause of action based upon the LAPD's liability arising out of Barton's conduct then, and later on LRH Way. We appeal Barton III, we move to do the right and proper thing with NOTs 34, and we go back to show both Judge Whyte and Judge Bascue that they 'misunderstood certain issues'."
Buzz Magazine published an article on Milton Katselas, a Scientologist and
acting teacher in Los Angeles.
"For many actors in L.A., being critiqued by Katselas has become a rite of passage. Since he founded his studio at the Beverly Hills Playhouse in 1978, thousands have passed through its doors to study with the teacher that many consider a master, including Michelle Pfeiffer, George Clooney, Ted Danson, Tony Danza, Tyne Daly, and Mel Harris. Not surprisingly, given that roster of talent, scores of actors are vying to get into Katselas's invitation-only Saturday class.
"Katselas loves quoting Stanislavsky. And Spinoza. And Schopenhauer. And Emerson. And Capra. And Chopra. But he doesn't hesitate to say that the person who has contributed the most to his understanding of human nature is the founder of the Church of Scientology, L. Ron Hubbard. In his class, Katselas is careful not to label anything as a tenet of Scientology, but there is no question that the church's influence seeps into the playhouse.
"Katselas's penchant for looking up words in the dictionary comes straight from the mores of the church. Having ethics officers in class is an idea borrowed from the church. The importance Katselas places on communication--'Practice getting across what you mean and what you want'--stems from the church's bedrock beliefs.
"And the advice that Katselas dispenses to his actors is loaded with the language of the church: There are 'roller coasters' (people whose lives take alternating turns for the better and the worse), 'suppressive people' (those who, consciously or unconsciously, make things go wrong and hurt others), and 'potential trouble sources' (those who make trouble for themselves and others around them).
"And for some actors who have been in Katselas's class, any hint of Scientology is too much to bear. One 25-year-old actress, who moved to Los Angeles from Chicago to pursue an acting career, loved the Beverly Hills Playhouse when she first arrived. But after eight months of study there, she says, 'I began to feel weighted down, like my life was being consumed by this place. There was never an overt feeling that Scientology was being taught, but by the time I left, I started to feel as if there was a cult atmosphere."
Scientology sent PR director Leisa Goodman to St. Bartholemew's to harass
Bob Minton this week. They distributed a flyer in the area, which was also
distributed in Boston.
"Mr Minton vacations in luxury while charging his mother who lives on social security interest on a loan when he has millions of dollars at his disposal Mr Minton exploited the people of third world countries, manipulating their debt to make millions for himself and the rulers in power
"Mr Minton refuses to help his own son with a loan to purchase a house but forked over 1.5 million to fund the members of a known hate group in a campaign to create intolerance and hatred. Mr Minton acts like a bully to anyone he can manipulate with his money, his second wife left him rather than put up with his brutal beatings. Mr Minton buys people with his money and is financially supporting a ring which includes wife beaters, child molesters and a pornography editor."
Grady Ward reported the activities, relayed from Bob by phone.
"Leisa Goodman was there mooning for the TV cameras. She professed not to know that Bob Martin (she feigned not to know even how his name is pronounced) was there. If anything, Bob is re-energized to do what he can to stop the cult of lies and death."
Ray Randolph received an anonymous threat this week in email. Ray is
maintainer of the web site www.scientology-kills.net.
"From: Anonymous <email@example.com>
Subject: wise up! To: firstname.lastname@example.org
"wise up randolph! your job is next."
Anonymously posted documents from the Public Research Foundation this week
claim to be the Tax Compliance Manual from Scientology, and details
implementation of the secret agreement with the IRS.
"All individuals in the Sea Organization are employees of the local organization (corporation) in which they work. The Sea Org is a religious order within the ecclesiastical structure of Scientology but is not an incorporated organization itself and has no staff or employees. The Sea Org contract is binding ecclesiastically but is not an employment contract. All Sea Org members sign standard employment contracts with the corporation at which they are currently working. If they are transferred to another organization, they will sign a new employment contract with that corporation for their period of employment.
"Section 3. Religious Orders. The Church may establish and maintain religious orders, the purposes of which shall be the carrying out of the religious and administrative activities of this Church AND CORPORATION.' (Emphasis added.)
"The Tax Compliance Section has been formed in the Corporate and Legal Rudiments Branch of Office of Special Affairs International. It is staffed with veteran OSA INT crew who are extremely knowledgeable and experienced in tax and finance matters. There will also be a Tax Compliance Officer in each Continental OSA Office. A primary function of the Tax Compliance Section is to ensure that all churches and missions comply with all requirements of tax exemption.
"The Tax Compliance Section is concerned with the activities of church organizations throughout the world-- not just those located in the United States. Recognition of tax exemption by the IRS opens the door for similar recognition of local orgs and missions by tax authorities in many other countries."
The Guide published an article on Paul Barresi, a gay porn star who claims
to have had an affair with Scientologist John Travolta.
"When Perfect was shot, Barresi's relationship with Travolta was about a year old. As Barresi tells it, they met in 1982, when the star of Saturday Night Fever sought him out at the Beverly Hills Gym. 'I was in the shower, butt-naked and soaped up from head to toe,' Barresi says, when Travolta walked in and introduced himself. 'I asked if he was looking for the manager. 'No,' he said, `I'm looking for you.'
"Barresi says Travolta was well acquainted with his status as a porn icon. 'Out at his ranch,' Barresi recalls, 'he had a whole collection of my videos and magazines, just the straight stuff.' He adds that the deeply closeted Travolta preferred sex with straight or bisexual men who fit a certain rugged heterosexual stereotype, avoiding contact with men who were openly gay. The relationship kept a low profile. 'We went to dinner together publicly once in a while,' Barresi says, 'but mostly we stayed at his ranch or at my place. It was understood that the whole basis of our relationship was strictly the sex.' Nevertheless, according to Barresi, Travolta 'kept acting like I was his best friend.'
"As time went by, Barresi says he felt increasingly strung along and used. The last straw came when Travolta, in the market for a new personal trainer, promised Baressi the job. One day early in 1990, however, when Barresi went to visit Travolta at the Bel Air Hotel, he found him with another man whose clothes were strewn all over the room. 'John said, 'Oh, by the way, Paul,' Barresi recalls, 'this is so-and-so, my new trainer.'
"He asked the Enquirer for $100,000 in exchange for the details of his relationship with Travolta. They agreed to his price without blinking. 'I did it to get even,' Barresi says, 'and I did it for the money. If I'd known what it would bring down on me, and especially what it would do to my family, I wouldn't have done it.' The story appeared in an April, 1990 issue of the Enquirer. Reaction was swift and intense. Photocopies of the Enquirer article were sent anonymously to the owners of Barresi's building, every one of his neighbors, every one of his fitness clients, his parents, and his brothers. Savage anonymous notes were pasted to his door. He received telephoned death threats, including one particularly strange assaultive call at a clothing store where he was browsing.
"Questions linger about the extent to which the Church of Scientology may have mobilized against Barresi. Barresi refuses to comment on whether or not he believes an organized hate campaign perpetrated by members of the church occurred. But many of the forms of harassment he encountered are consistent with Scientologists' well-documented attacks on their enemies. In the end, Barresi accepted assurances from Travolta's attorney that the affair could be brought 'to a soft landing' if he issued a retraction and an apology. 'I was having a nervous breakdown,' Barresi says. 'I just wanted it to be over. But when the dust settled, I regretted the retraction a lot more than I regretted that initial call to the Enquirer.'"